The Outrage Over Animal Abuse


Cases of animal abuse have been making national headlines over the past few months. From Michael Vick and his alleged involvement with dogfighting to teenage girls setting an innocent cat on fire, there is much public outrage over all of these incidents of pet and animal abuse.

Both pet owners and non pet owners share the same feelings of anger, frustration, or sadness when they hear a news story about a helpless animal being abused. Many people in our society ban together to help and show their compassion towards an abused animal by giving donations, volunteering, or protesting against these heinous acts of animal abuse.

Some in our community may ask why is there such a public outcry when we hear these incidences of abuse.

There could be numerous explanations of why these abuse cases stir so much passion and emotion in our hearts. One is that we tend to regard animals as pure, blameless, sinless. Gandhi observed “the more helpless a creature, the more entitled to protection by man from the cruelty of man.” We feel that animals cannot be held responsible for what happens to them.

Also, as a society, we highly regard pets and animals and some pet owners view their pets as “children.” 83% of American pet owners consider themselves “mom or dad” to their pets, more than a third display pet pictures in their home, and 16% carry a photo with them. Our bonds with pets is strong, and we give them unconditional love just as we would give to a child.

From SF Gate:

Another factor at work is that individual cases strike a deeper chord and magnify our responses. One needy animal, particularly if it has suffered abuse, will generate a more potent response than the knowledge that more than 12 million dogs are cats are euthanized in shelters every year.

Analysts from the Oregon-based nonprofit Decision Research found that people care more, give more, do more when confronted with a solitary example of need than a plural one. While we find a mass of need overwhelming and desensitizing, we reason that we can make a pivotal difference in a single case.

Finally, animal abuse triggers visceral alarm in most people because we now realize that it typically is a precursor to violence against humans.

Among reported cases of animal abuse, pets are the most common victims and young men are the most typical perpetrators. Often they themselves have been beaten or molested or made to feel powerless in childhood, and take out their frustration and rage on an animal over whom they can wield power. Others are psychopathic sadists. Yet others receive a sexual thrill from the act.

The Chicago Police Department analyzed statistics from July 2001 to July 2004 on criminals charged in Chicago with animal abuses such as dog-fighting and discovered that 13 percent had also been arrested for sexual assault and 65 percent had been arrested for beating humans.

Experts say the red flags of such a disorder can show up as early as in a 2-year-old but more commonly shows up around the age of 7.

13 Responses to “The Outrage Over Animal Abuse”

  1. 3FURS says:

    When an animal is euthanized at a shelter, it’s done humainly to prevent the animal from suffering. When someone inflicts suffering on an animal that’s a vastly different situation. As the saying goes ” Pick on someone your own size “, shows that cowards are the ones to harm an animal. It lessens their feelings of impotence, to be able to cause pain to someone else. Their low self esteem drives them to try to seem important. Society has to enact stiffer punishments on anyone, reguardless of their age, who would hurt an animal. The two year old has to be punished by a day away from home, and educated in the propper way to treat animals. The parents should be forced to take parenting classes. This brutality has got to stop, starting in the crib, teach a child kindness.

  2. Jenny Bark says:

    Itchmo thanks, I learned something.

    We need the law to enforce our laws, our gov. to make even stronger laws. They know this is happening & where it is happening, do your job, we the people pay you. By letting this go on you are hurting our animals and children. I believe some of you read Itchmo.

  3. Amanda says:

    My mom and I had gone to our hairdresser one day and were leaving out the back. The place is located in a neighborhood right next door to a house with a fenced in backyard.

    There were two kids(boy and girl). Girl looked maybe one - two years old and the boy maybe three-four years old. The little girl was nice to the dog(which was tied up to its dog house) and when she picked him up(little dog) the little boy started beating it and the dog yelped. The girl dropped it.

    As my mom and I were getting in the car we saw the little boy grab the dog by its back legs and start dragging it. We got out and my mom yelled at him and we then drove to the front of the residence and let the grandmother know the kid was doing this to the dog. While my mom was talking I saw the boy throwing stuff at the dog.

    The boy KNEW what he was doing was wrong because he stopped and waited until we were out of sight to start up with the throwing stuff at the dog. That boy is going to grow up an abuser if he doesn’t start getting dicipline himself!

  4. Amanda says:

    Oh and I forgot to add, how many times do you read in news about dogs biting children and the dog is euthanized etc but I have always thought “well what did the kid do to provoke the dog to bite him/her???”

    My example above with the boy hurting the little dog, I told my mom if the dog wouldn’t get into trouble for it I hope it turns around and gives that boy something to think about in the future!!!!

  5. catmom5 says:

    Anyone who has done work with animals has seen the results of abuse and neglect. In my book, critters and kids are innocents who need to be protected, pure and simple. I have worked with children who tortured and killed animals when I was teaching. They are scary kids, and the parents have to be willing to admit there’s a problem and to get help! (One of the mothers decided to buy her son a dog instead . . . AARGHHHH and I suspect that little boy will end up hurting more animals and people one day. At least the “powers that be” are aware of him and his behavior.)
    The other piece for me is the unconditional love animals are willing to give. Even those animals who have often survived the most horrific situations often give that love and devotion to their people. Isn’t that one reason fighting dogs fight? to please their people. To me, that makes it even worse ~ truly a betrayal by humans.

  6. wescott20 says:

    Whatever the reason is that they do it, kids and adults who abuse and torture animals should be “euthanized” themselves and the law should provide for this, just as it provides the death penalty for other crimes. The people (usually young men) who do this for sexual thrills should be surgically castrated (publically…what a great deterrent!) before the capital punishment is carried out. That would be true justice. And when I hear of some poor tormented dog finally striking back and biting his tormentor (some snot nosed brat) and immediately being euthanized by our incompetent friends down at animal control, I see red. They never hesitate to carry out that action, but when it comes to protecting an animal from an abuser, they almost always give the abuser the benefit of the doubt and return the animal to him (like the situation with Vick’s teammate). It infuriates me that my taxes go towards keeping such policies on the books. Do I sound pissed off? I sure am! I’m sick of official policies constantly allowing such evil to go unchecked and unpunished, while truly innocent victims (the animals) suffer. It’s the triumph of evil over good, and it makes me sick.

  7. Lynne says:

    Amanda, do you know anyone willing to go steal the dog? It would save the animal a lifetime of abuse.

  8. Lynne says:

    “When an animal is euthanized at a shelter, it’s done humainly to prevent the animal from suffering.”

    Not always. I heard a talk given by a shelter worker in Kansas some years back. They “disposed” of animals by crowding them into cages, setting the cages in a special room and pumping carbon monoxide into the room. The animals slowly suffocated. Hardly humane.
    I’ve grown so cynical I no longer assume anything.

  9. catmom5 says:

    Unfortunately, Lynne is right. Too many shelters still use gas chambers to kill animals. This is an area where locals might be able to make a huge impact.

    I read a story of a young man who worked for an animal control agency in a southeastern state and it was his job to pull the animals and gas them every Friday morning. It was one of the most heart wrenching stories I’ve ever read. The man needed the work and was forced to do this by his boss. Said he went to McDonalds on Thursdays and bought burgers for the animals who would die the next morning, spent time playing with them, even took the really nice cats and let them go in nice neighborhoods in the hopes that they would be found by someone and taken in. It was a horrific story.

    This is one atrocity that does not need to happen. In fact, I believe that euthanasia by injection is more cost efficient (not to mention more kind). Check out your local animal control agencies and shelters and ask the hard questions. Maybe you can make a difference in the end of an animals life, at least.

  10. wescott20 says:

    Exactly, Lynne. Kill shelters circulate the propaganda that the death is humane to assuage the guilt of the general population, but the mass killing they perpetuate is never humane….the animals are bunched together and given no individual attention to ensure that the passing is painless. The kill shelters also circulate the lies that the killing (that’s what it is…not “euthanasia”) is a necessary evil. The policy of adopting out a few animals and killing the rest (the majority) is totally unnecessary and until we curb this, we cannot call ourselves a civilized society. There is a wonderful organization called No Kill Solutions which is aiming to reduce kill rates at shelters as much as possible, to create what they call a No Kill Nation. They have already had great success in the localities that have adopted their plan. The greatest enemies of the animals and the biggest obstacle to the No-Kill Program are the indifferent shelter directors who are happy with the killing and prefer this status quo because it means less work for them and less effort on their part. They couldn’t care less about animals, and are a perversion of the humane movement which began in the 1800’s, a movement that began with good intentions but was twisted along the way by such shelter directors. These people are, in my opinion, criminals who should be thrown in prison for animal cruelty. When such shelter directors are replaced by a compassionate, no -kill minded director, the kill rate goes down, sometimes 90% or better. It’s really remarkable. Don’t believe the lies of the kill shelters anymore.

  11. Lynne says:

    wescott, thanks for the information. The link to the group you mention is here

    in case anyone is interested

  12. 2CatMom says:

    Good news. Adam, the burned kitty is doing really well - he only has one more surgury to go. You can get updates on his condation at:

  13. 3FURS says:

    Well I stand corrected. I was under the impression that the animals were treated kindly and their end of life was painless. I held my dogs when they had to be euthanized to end their suffering. They experienced no pain, but I did. I cry now at that memory.

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