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March 10, 2012

Maleah Stringer: Demand stricter laws against animal abuse

ANDERSON, Ind. — Once again Anderson made top headlines for animal abuse: the brutal killing of a the momma dog and all her puppies.

Studies have shown the connection of animal abuse to human violence, particularly in domestic violence situations. It was ironic that in this particular situation a woman was abused and the perpetrator had a long history of violent crimes toward women.

If you think animal abuse affects only animals, think again.

It’s not just in Anderson; just last week we read about the woman in Indianapolis who was mad at her boyfriend and threw his dog off the balcony, killing his pet. It doesn’t seem that much happens to people who commit animal abuse. Our state laws simply give them a slap on the wrist if they give them anything at all.

Perhaps in these two situations we will see a different scenario. Or perhaps because of these two situations legislators will wake up and strengthen our animal abuse laws.

Animal abuse is rampant not only in our community but across the country. Animal shelters and humane societies see some of the worst things humans do to animals. At the Animal Protection League right now we have numerous abuse cases.

Leroy, a little Chihuahua mix, was thrown from a car at one of our staff as they were opening the shelter door. The poor little guy is extremely thin. He didn’t allow anyone to touch him for the first few days. He sat in his cage shaking. Staff and volunteers have spent much time working with him; now he lets us hold and pet him. He is a lovely, frightened little dog who has been horribly abused.

 Roosevelt, a senior dalmatian, was left in our fence in the middle of the night. He’s terribly thin and has significant hair loss, open sores and tumors. His nails were so long that he had trouble walking and yet still he is a sweet affectionate boy.

Haley is covered in mange with open sores. A kind-hearted soul took her to the veterinarian to have her medical issues treated only to find that she has cancer. It has broken his heart.

Zoey was brought in by her owners. She was so afraid she huddled in the back of her cage. She was so hand shy that anytime anyone moved quickly or raised their arms she cowered. Yet again, staff and volunteers have worked with her and she has learned to love giving and getting affection.

Weekly we have cats brought in malnourished, covered in mucus, unable to breath through their noses and covered in fleas.

Dogs are chained with no shelter, food or water, or kept in kennels lying in their own filth with no food or water. Horses, bone thin, are left in fields with no food or water. Pets are left in homes to starve to death when their owners move out. This is not who we want to be. This is not how we want others to see us or to see our community.

Call or write your state legislators and demand stricter laws concerning animal abuse. This is not just about animals. Contact state legislators at (317) 232-9856 or www.in.gov/legislative.

Maleah Stringer is executive director of the Animal Protection League, 613 Dewey St., Anderson. She can be reached at 356-0900 or at maleahstringer@aol.com.

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