Animals over the historical years have been abused. However animals like human beings have the right to be protected and deserve fair treatment. Animal control officers who are in charge of animals’ welfare should be aware of law concerning animal protection. There must be proper planning and strategy of putting these rules in place. Animal cruelty can be viewed from different perspectives, depending on issue to be addressed. In this paper we will focus on the following elements;
- Classification and types of cruelty – Animal cruelty can be categorized into two types;
- Dealing with violators – There are several ways of dealing with those who violate rules protecting animals. They include but not limited to;
- Surrendering an Animal
- Confiscation of an animal
- Basic investigation Techniques – Investigation to prosecute violators should involve several interested parties in order to be effective.
- Evidence and documentation – During investigation evidence and documentations are very essential to draw any documentation.
Violent Criminals Associated to Animal Cruelty
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Animals have been subjected to torture over a long period in historical years. This is because for many years the rights of animals have been ignored and people taken advantage of the fact that animals cannot speak for themselves. According to Sunstein and Nussbaum (2005) it is suspected that animal cruelty has been committed, but exemption applies only to cruelty against companion animals (p. 211). This is a clear indication that this matter of protecting animals against this unethical act of cruelty has not been given the full attention it deserves. In fact Sunstein and Nussbaum (2005) continues to states that veterinarians have a good faith in belief that animal cruelty has been committed against a farmed animal are putting themselves at risk of liability should their complaint not ultimately result in a conviction (p. 211).
According to an article written about animal cruelty investigations it is important that animal control officers continually review their local ordinances, suggesting appropriate updates when possible. This is done to ensure that there are rules in place to protect animals against cruelty. Animal cruelty can be classified into two categories which includes; passive cruelty and active cruelty. Merz-Perez and Heide (2004) explains that the potential covert nature of act of cruelty to animals, as compared to fire setting and enuresis, combined with historical tendency to disregard cruelty to animals committed by children, as “things Kid do” might well have inhibited appropriate documentation (p. 39).
Passive cruelty is where by animals are neglected and thus they end up suffering. In this kind of cruelty lack of taking action in appropriate time results to the crime. When these neglects are severe they result into the pain and suffering of the animal. A good example of neglect is failure of provide feed and water to animals which causes starvation and dehydration respectively. Exposing animals into harsh conditions like inadequate shelter is also a cruelty act because it consequently leads to animal infections.
Active cruelty on the other hand refers to those crime acts done against animals. Mostly these actions are intentional; they torture and inflict pain to animals. Jackson (2007) explains that animal suffers from physical abuse like being hit, kicked, burned, poisoned, whipped, disfigured, dismembered, stabbed, stoned, shot, trapped, strangled, thrown, among many abuses (p. 23). People who commit active cruelty should not be pardoned from prosecution no matter what reason they have of doing such an act. This is because they can even risk harming humans eventually.
There are several reasons which offenders poses to defend themselves. These reasons for intentional animal cruelty vary. However Kellert and Felthous as explained in pet-abuse.com have identified nine topologies which are common, they include;
- i. To control an animal
- ii. To retaliate against an animal
- iii. To retaliate against another person
- iv. To satisfy a prejudice against species or breed
- v. To express an anger through an animal
- vi. To enhance one’s own aggressiveness
- vii. To shock people for amusement
- viii. To displace hostility from a person to an animal
- ix. To perform non-specific sadism
Nevertheless none of these reasons should be used to compromise the rules of protecting animals since criminals can take an advantage and abuse animal rights extremely. Cases of cruelty should be investigated and control measures be put in place to counter this criminal lifestyle.
Violator should be dealt with accordingly to protect this criminal act of animal cruelty. There are several ways of dealing with the violator. People are enlightened to avoid the act of animal cruelty and encouraged to join the campaign of protecting animal rights. Punishment should also be imposed to individuals who don’t appreciate the rules and right protecting animals. These approaches of dealing with violators includes; education, prosecution, Surrendering an animal, Confiscation of an animal, and other legal alternatives.
Education generally aims at informing the owner importance of taking care and protecting the animal. This approach is normally short, cheap and doesn’t have complicated legal procedures. Commonly people love their animals and especially pets and therefore educating them is essential to improve their care. Ignorance of what is needed as far as animal care is pertained puts animal at a greater risk because they are not given attention they deserve. Education can be facilitated through various means which may include; school programmes, leaflets and other media of communication.
According to Hooper investigators should interview every individual at the scene or, if the crime occurred at a house, every person living at the home. Cruelty to animal is experienced almost in all countries throughout the world. To prosecute criminals countries must put in place standards to be followed in animal cruelty cases. However there are challenges in ensuring that prosecution is carried out fairly. As ASPCApro.org explains some challenges facing effective investigation and prosecution includes;
- i. The police who conduct investigation
- ii. The shelters that care for animals seized in the case
- iii. The veterinarians whose expertise is so often vital to the case
- iv. The prosecutors who must weave the evidence into a compelling courtroom presentation
- v. The court charged with fashioning dispositions that protect the animal victims and appropriately punish the offenders.
There must be a set strategy to for handling all the steps of animal cruelty case in sentencing the offenders. Prosecution approach should not be viewed as the punishment but as a mean of encouraging animal protection.
Surrendering an animal is also another option of preventing cruelty. If an owner mistreats his/her animal or is unable to provide sufficient care animal there should write a signed statement of surrendering the animal without seizure. When the observation of animal mistreats or neglect is made, the owner should be approached. This is done by the Animal control officer who gives the owner a notice to surrender the animal. In case the owner doesn’t agree with the claims made against him/her an investigation is launched to prove. Once the enough evidence is collected legal actions are taken against the owner and most probably the animal tortured is taken.
Animals which have been victims of physical active cruelty should be confiscated. All the evidence should be documented to be used eventually in the case. Animal Control officer presents these documents during the seizure. The law enforcement officer or authorities are required to prove the violation against animals. There are also other legal measures which should be put in place to ensure that animal cruelty is minimized and animal protection rules are put in place.
Thorough investigations of animal cruelty should be conducted. Animal control officers, police officer are responsible for investigating case concerning animal cruelty when complaints are raised. They should posses knowledge and skills required to carry out an effective investigation. This is needed to ensure that enough evidence I collected before passing the judgment to the accused.
Evidence and documentation are essential in animal cruelty cases. They are also used for future references when similar happening are repeated. Also in case the accused want to appeal their case these document are very critical to produce the evidence. The type of evidence collected during investigation varies but it should be considered and protected.
In conclusion Merz-Perez and Heide (2004) argues that protection of animals remains a difficulty affair, complicated by the high diverse views held by humans towards animals and the cultural parameters within which humans establish values and practices that affect animals (p. 10). Therefore it is important change person’s mentality towards animals and their right. People should be persuaded to advocate for animals rights and rules protecting them.
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