Pack Topics: Puppy mills and the animal-cruelty link and a Sea Shepherd invitation

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Alleged puppy mill busted in New York State: Police were on the scene Wednesday for a raid on a possible puppy mill in Fort Plain, NY.

Letter to the editor links animal abuse and violent in society: The writer of a letter to the editor in Michigan links acts of animal cruelty to violence in society – and he’s right.

And he rightfully uses dog fighting as an example of a direct link.

Sea Shepherd invites concerned nations to witness what is happening to whales in the Southern Ocean:

I received the following e-mail recently concerning Sea Shepherd’s on-going efforts to stop whaling:

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December 26, 2012 — In response to recent reports stating concern by Australia, New Zealand, the Netherlands and the United States over potential conflicts in the Southern Ocean between global marine conservation organization Sea Shepherd Conservation Society and Japan’s whaling fleet, Sea Shepherd would like to invite Australia, New Zealand, the Netherlands and the United States to send a representative to join the Sea Shepherd ships at sea to witness first-hand the “incidents” about which they have concern.

This invitation echoes the call on Monday documented in news reports by Australia’s Environment spokesman Greg Hunt stating he wrote to Prime Minister Julia Gillard proposing that Australia send a Customs vessel to monitor the impending face-off in the Southern Ocean. Citing a resolution passed by the International Maritime Organization in 2010 compelling whaling vessels to ensure the safety of protesters during demonstrations, rallies or confrontations on the high seas, reports state that Australia has “warned Japanese whaling vessels it won’t tolerate protesters being threatened.”

Australia states it remains “resolutely opposed” to commercial whaling, including so-called “scientific” whaling, and has expressed concern about hunting activities in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary.

Sea Shepherd wishes to thank Australia for its support. Until now warnings by the nations noted herein have been directed primarily at Sea Shepherd, while simple facts in the case have being ignored, specifically:

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Florida judge accused of being soft on animal abusers

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A judge in Lee County, Fla. is being monitored by animal lovers for a trend where he consistently waves off animal-cruelty charges.

Fox 4 out of Fort Myers/Naples, Fla. reports that among many cases, Judge Frank Mann was reported to have recently cut off an animal services representative as she was presenting evidence. The article clearly shows this judge is one who believes animal welfare isn’t worth his time.

He should be immediately removed from hearing cases involving animal cruelty. And hopefully, no one will vote for him the next time he’s up for re-election. We certainly don’t need judges who are soft on violent crime, in cases of violence or neglect to humans or animals.

And we must have people in positions of authority who understand the connection between acts of animal cruelty and domestic abuse.

Pack Topic: Animal Cruelty, the Law and the Link to Domestic Violence

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Maybe it’s because I’m so laser-focused on the subject, but it seems to me that we’re seeing more and more cases of animal cruelty – and with the trend, more cases relating animal cruelty to domestic violence.

No recent story makes the connection more than the Associated Press article from Thursday, where a Georgia man reportedly stomped the family dog to death and then used it’s dead body to beat his wife.

Up in Connecticut, a man has been charged with animal cruelty after witnesses saw him beating a Jack Russell terrier before a failed attempt to throw the dog off a highway overpass. Fortunately for the dog, his collar hooked on a spike on the fence, preventing a fall into the traffic below.

The Valley Independent Sentinel reports police had “responded to a domestic dispute involving Rosario within the last 24 hours.”

I can’t help but think one primary reason for the level of both domestic violence and acts of animal cruelty in this country is the slap-on-the-wrist punishment abusers routinely receive. The message I’m getting says our federal government, state governments and the criminal justice system across the board considers acts of abuse to women, children and animals to be a lesser offense.

If advocates for victims of domestic violence and animal-welfare advocates see current laws as being very weak, it doesn’t take a social scientist to understand what criminals must think of system. Even repeat offenders know they’ll get nothing more than a short stay in the slammer before heading back home to wreck more abuse on the family or other innocent beings.

What are the judges saying to these people? – ‘You bad, bad person. This is fourth time you’ve severely assaulted your family. This time you’re going to pay. I guess a month in jail with free food and medical care will teach you a lesson?’

And do our elected officials across the board think a few weeks at most away from the abuse is good enough for the victims?

An editorial from Fairfax Times out of Virginia (published Friday) rightfully calls for more bite from animal abuse laws.

The piece includes these important facts –

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A recent study by the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and Northeastern University found 70 percent of animal abusers had committed at least one other crime. Almost 40 percent had committed violent crimes against people.

Equally troubling is more than 80 percent of family members being treated for child abuse also had abused animals. In two-thirds of those cases, an abusive parent had killed or injured a pet. In one-third, a child victim continued the cycle of violence by abusing a pet.

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It is long past time for increased penalties for violent crimes – committed against people and animals.

Pack Lines Headlines: Animal welfare, budget cuts, puppy mill petition

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IFAW – Within the animal welfare movement, reasons for hope: An editorial ran Dec. 23 with this headline on the International Fund for Animal Welfare’s website.

The piece reflects on areas of success such as the European Union ban on seal products and an increase in the survival rate for stranded marine mammals on Cape Cod.

Low income spay-neuter program defunded in Missouri: The Kansas City Star reports a spay-neuter program for low-income families has been defunded in Jackson County.

It’s a bass-akwards way to cut a budget, when the costs for operating shelters will rise with more pets being born into homelessness.

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Saturday Commentary: Human Behavior – The Real Mystery

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I recently began work on a local story about a family that rescued a puppy from a highway median. The little dog was injured, but after surgery is on the way to a full recovery.

I had a discussion with one of the rescuers about how some people can have such a lack of compassion for others. There was this puppy who in all likelihood was tossed out on an Interstate highway. If this was the case (and it does happen of course) then how could someone do something like that? – or worse – like dog fighting or running a puppy mill, etc.

Later in the day, do they think back and feel bad about it? Do puppy mill operators or dog fighters at some point during a day think, ‘I gotta get out of this. This isn’t right.’? Or do these people merely lack a moral compass? Do they not have the capacity for empathy or caring for others?

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Man could get life in prison under three-strikes law for killing puppy

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A California man accused of killing his wife’s 6-week-old Chihuahua could get life in prison under the state’s three-strikes law. He allegedly threw the dog against a wall.

He was also predictably charged with one misdemeanor count of battery on a spouse. The InsideBayArea.com story reports he has a criminal history more than 30-years long.

I happen to agree with these three-strikes laws. We’ve got to start putting violent offenders and others who are threat to innocent people away for long, long prison sentences.

 

Connecticut House passes bill to link animal abuse to child abuse

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Connecticut could become the next state to track cases of animal abuse and link them to domestic abuse cases.

The Capital Watch blog on Courant.com reports as follows –

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The bill requires local animal control officers and employees at the state Department of Children and Families to report cases of animal cruelty to the state agriculture department. The agriculture commissioner would then be required to issue a monthly report, starting in November 2011, to the DCF commissioner, who would determine whether anyone suspected of animal cruelty is also simultaneously on the list of families at DCF.

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Connecticut bill would require record-keeping of animal abuse cases

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A bill in the Connecticut legislature would establish a cross-posting of animal abuse cases between the Department of Children and Families and the Commissioner of Agriculture’s office.

The Waterford Patch cites a 1998 study that found in 21 percent of 1,600 cases of animal abuse, involved family violence as well. But 71 percent of women who had pets and were abused reported their partners had threatened their pets.

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Two more troubling cases of abuse

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Another animal abuser has gotten off easy, this time in the case of an Illinois man who recently pleaded guilty to a felony charge of aggravated animal cruelty. He cut the throat of his brothers cat after finding out about an affair between the brother and his fiancee.

The Herald-News reports the accused received a sentence of 30 months probation and 150 hours of community service – with no jail time. Prosecutors were calling for a tougher sentence – 180 days in jail.

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