Animal Abuse: not just limited to animals

May 9, 2013, a man in Portland, Ore. was accused of beating his dog in front of a veterinary clinic and was not sentenced because no lasting injuries were found on the dog. Animal abuse is not just deliberate abuse, but also the failure to take care of an animal. Animal cruelty is considered a crime and should be treated as such.

Domestic animals  are the most common abuse victims, but they aren’t the only victims of abuse. Livestock and horses are also victims of neglect and abuse. Many horse owners do not make enough money to take care of the horses properly and it results in neglect and mistreatment. Livestock are not treated as animals under cruelty laws. According to the Humane Society, many states specifically exclude livestock or common agricultural practices from their cruelty laws. It can sometimes be difficult to convince law enforcement to make an arrest and rescue livestock who are being neglected or abused.

Domestic animals get hit hardest when it comes to abuse.  According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), approximately 7.6 million companion animals enter animal shelters nationwide every year and they are unable to return to their homes because of their unsafe living arrangements.  Study done in 11 U.S cities revealed that a history of pet abuse is one of the four most significant indicators of domestic violence.

Abusers have also used the abuse of animals in the past to hurt or control their victims. According to the American Humane Association (AHA), 71 percent of pet-owning women entering women’s shelters reported that their abuser had injured, maimed, killed or threatened family pets for revenge or to psychologically control the victims. Bret Vincent Barton, 23 year-old resident of Bend, Ore., was arrested after killing a pit bull puppy his wife was holding and then punching her in the face. The six week-old puppy died right after Barton threw it at an electrical box from a fractured skull.

Abusers kill, harm or threaten children’s pets to also sexually abuse them or keep them quiet about abuse. According to the National Coalition of Domestic Violence, 25-40 percent of women refused to leave domestic abuse situations out of fear as to what would happen to their pets if they left.

Animal abuse not only affects the animals, but also affects humans who are being abused by the harm or prevention of harm of the animals. Animal abuse needs to stop the unnecessary deaths of thousands of animals. People need to stop ignoring what is happening and start doing something about the abuse. To report any signs of neglect or abuse call the ASPCA or your local humane society because they can contact the authorities. States need to have harsher laws against people who abuse animals to prevent the animal’s abuse and domestic abuse. The abuse needs to be more prevalent in the media to raise awareness of what is happening and so the revolting abusers do not get away with the harm they are causing to innocent men, women, children and animals.