COLUMN: Man’s moral responsibility

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Action, not outrage will protect animals from abuse

By David Hurtado

If you spent a day with me, I feel like I could convince you humans are the same now as they were 2000 years ago.

On Feb. 19 a Kansas man fed an 8-month-old puppy bleach and metal shavings, causing it to suffer severe chemical burns. A few days later on Feb. 23, a cat was shot full of BB pellets in Northern Virginia—mostly in his head. Unfortunately, the individuals responsible for these acts will more than likely not receive the retribution they deserve.

According to the Humane Society, animal cruelty charges in Kansas are prosecuted as a misdemeanor with a maximum fine of $1000 and up to six months in prison. More often than not, prosecutors don’t seem to regard animal abuse as an important enough crime to bother with. And when they do, even if it’s prosecuted and a conviction gained, the punishment amounts to little more than a slap on the wrist.

If these people are willing to maliciously harm defenseless animals, you can be certain they would have no problem doing the same or worse to humans. This is how these sociopaths start out. First it’s dog and cats, then they move on to larger game like people. Imagine what kind of atrocities someone like this might hold in store for a small child who can’t even begin to defend themselves.

It’s sick behavior. A human, at the very least, is able to reason and come to the conclusion that they are being abused because the person is sadistic. Animals are, essentially, not capable of that level of understanding. Dogs will trust humans with absolutely no reason to do so. They can’t conceive of ever being harmed for no justifiable reason. To have that trust blatantly ruined by some barbaric neanderthal, which often leaves a dog permanently broken, is beyond cruel.

Laws punishing and preventing animal abuse and neglect need to be much stronger than they currently are. As they are, the consequences are tantamount to threatening a hardened gang of Bloods and Crips thugs with harsh consequences administered by the hand of Barney the Dinosaur. Changes must be made.

Similar to sex offenders, animal abusers should be required to register in a national database so they can never own another animal. Additionally, animal abuse needs to become a felony level crime with considerable more time spent behind bars, a much higher fine and required psychiatric evaluation for the persons involved. Humans are only capable of behaving in a civilized manner when they know their actions will hold consequences.

It’s easy to turn a blind eye when taking action isn’t convenient. They’re smaller than us, they don’t speak our language and they defecate all over the place; essentially, they aren’t human. These excuses do not suffice. As sentient beings, we have a moral responsibility to protect those who cannot stand up for themselves, whether they are human or not.

You don’t have to love animals to know the difference between right and wrong.

Contact David Hurtado, features editor, at dhurtado@jccc.edu.

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