This fall, a bipartisan endeavor brought forth a bill making animal cruelty/abuse a felony. The U.S. Senate passed the measure unanimously, as did the House earlier, and President Donald Trump signed the bill into law. Known as the PACT (Preventing Animal Cruelty and Torture) Act, the measure closes loopholes in a 2010 law incorporates torture and other forms of cruelty. Violators now face penalties of fines, prison terms of up to seven years, or both.
This week, I’m pleased to welcome a guest blogger to my site. Karen Ingalls is an award-winning author, blogger, and a retired RN with a Master’s Degree in Human Development/ Psychology. She recently released a new book which deals with a tough subject: abuse. She’s graciously provided this post to talk about one such form: animal abuse/cruelty. It’s a tough subject but one that needs to be addressed
, for sadly, animal abuse, just like child, elder, and spousal abuse, happens all too frequently. Welcome, Karen!
by Karen Ingalls
Unfortunately, animal abuse has been around for thousands of years. Throughout history there have been animal sacrifices and animal cruelty. The ritual of killing and offering an animal was a religious ritual in Europe and the Near East until Christianity spread during the Middle Ages. (source: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cruelty_to_animals)
The cruel and abusive acts by humans fall into the categories of dogfighting, the puppy industry, animal hoarding, farm animal welfare, horse slaughter, and such “sports” as Greyhound racing and cockfighting. Animal neglect includes lack of shelter, food/water, mange, and cages if too small. (source: https://www.humanesociety.org/resources/animal-cruelty-facts-and-stats)
My experience with animal cruelty occurred when I was a young teenager. I had always loved horses, and my favorite book was titled Drinkers of the Wind. My stepfather bought three horses: a stallion for him, a Shetland for my seven-year-old sister, and an American Paint for me. This was very kind and generous of him; however, his kindness soon proved to be false. My horse was namedBabe and his previous owner had abused him by frequently poking him with a pitchfork and keeping him locked up in a stall for several days at a time.
My parents were concerned if I would be safe riding or caring for Babe, but I never had an issue with him. He let me brush him, ride him, and he always obeyed my commands.
When any male was round, Babe snorted, flared his nostrils and pawed the ground.
One Sunday, my stepfather wanted to ride my horse. I cautioned him that Babe did not like men and it would not be a good idea to try and ride him. His response was a glare and said that I had spoiled Babe long enough. My stepfather barely managed to get in the saddle. Then he started whipping and kicking my beloved horse who suddenly took off on a dead run. After some distance, Babe came to a sudden halt, and I watched my stepfather fly over the horse’s head and land hard on the ground. My stepfather’s dark glare, swearing and “I’ll show your horse who is boss,” scared me.
The following Sunday, I eagerly looked for Babe in the stall, corral, and pasture. With an evil smile my stepfather told me, “You will not find your stupid horse here. I sold him to a dog food factory.” I was devastated, hated my stepfather, and never rode a horse again.
My stepfather physically, emotionally and sexually abused my mother, sisters, and me. He was 32 when he married my mother, and he was in his early 40’s when he had my horse killed. He tolerated the parakeet and dog we had but never participated in their care. I often wonder what he did to our pets when we were not home.
Writer’s and Editor’s Notes: Oftentimes there’s a relationship between animal and human abuse. Women who have been abused report their husbands or significant others did the same to their pets. Men under 30 are more likely to abuse animals, but animal hoarding occurs more commonly with women over 60.
(source: https://www.humanesociety.org/resources/animal-cruelty-facts-and-stats). Report abuse of any type, to another person or to an animal, to the proper authorities. There is help for both!
Karen Ingalls writes about abuse of all types in her newest book, When I Rise: Tales, Truths, and Symbolic Trees, a series of short stories that center on social and family issues. The book is available on Amazon in print and Kindle formats: https://www.amazon.com/When-Rise-Tales-Truths-Symbolic/dp/1706761953. She is the author of award-winning books, a blogger, an active member of Rave Reviews Book Club, Rave Writers International Society of Authors, and Independent Authors Network. She likes to write about family and social issues, many of which she has personally witnessed in her family. Ovarian cancer has been a part of her life for the past several years, but “it does not have my life.” She advocates for ovarian cancer awareness, is a public speaker, and fundraiser. By birth she is a Californian, her heart is in Minnesota, and she is a happy retiree playing golf, gardening, and writing in Florida. She loves to read and challenges herself to read 100 books each year, but writing is her true passion.
When I Rise: Tales, Truths and Symbolic Trees
Outshine: An Ovarian Cancer Memoir
Davida: Model & Mistress of Augustus Saint-Gaudens
Novy’s Son: The Selfish Genius https://www.amazon.com/Novys-Son-Selfish-Karen-Ingalls-ebook/dp/B01B1O2VQY/ref
All book sale proceeds go to ovarian cancer research!
Karen Ingalls on the web:
Book video for Davida: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FNLHvrnlqRY&feature=youtu
Book video for Novy’s Son: http://bit.ly/2jJmMwl
The 5-month-old puppy came into the care of Black Dog Animal Rescue, located in Cheyenne, Wyoming, in March 2017. The signs of abuse were apparent: more than 20 broken bones, a large, fluid-filled mass on the dog’s neck and shoulders, and her timidity around people. Months of medical and emotional care transpired, and her story took flight thanks to local media and animal advocates on social media. The pit-mix was named Angel; she became the “spokesdog” for advancing stiffer cruelty laws in Wyoming. Angel recovered from all her physical injuries and eventually the happy, friendly puppy-self emerged. She was adopted by one of BDAR’s board members and renamed Stitch. Read her entire journey and see photos and X-rays of her injuries here: http://www.bdar.org/angel/
Although no strong statistics are available on the number of animal abuse cases, which can and often does include the international trade of dog meat and the national issue of horse slaughter, hoarding, dog and cock fighting, and puppy and kitten mills, the issue of animal cruelty exists everywhere. The ASPCA (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) documented 29 incidences last year in which they were called in to assist. More than 47,000 animals were rescued or helped in some way last year, and more than 300 criminal charges were filed, according to the organization. Just last week, the organization announced it was helping New Mexico law enforcement with a critical case involving more than 100 animals, many living without shelter and in need of medical care at a supposed animal sanctuary.
Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Month
April is Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Month. What can you do to help? Here are five suggestions:
Forms of Abuse
Animal cruelty takes on many forms, from lack of food, water and shelter and violence against an animal (as in Angel’s case) to dog fighting and puppy mills. The dog my husband and I adopted last fall, Jeremiah, is a puppy mill survivor. He and many other dogs were rescued by Hearts United for Animals (HUA), a sanctuary in southeastern Nebraska which, for the past 30+ years, has rescued animals throughout the Midwest. That portion of the country seems plagued with puppy mills, with Kansas, Missouri, and Iowa involved in this industry in high numbers. But, according to the Humane Society of the United States’ 2017 report on puppy mills, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Texas also have a big issue. That’s why organizations like HUA, which recently helped rescue several German shepherd dogs, and National Mill Dog Rescue (NMDR), exist – to provide a sanctuary where these animals can heal physically and emotionally and hopefully find these creatures new, loving homes. Which we’ve provided for our Jeremiah.
Cruelty to animals is not something to be taken lightly. These animals suffer, physically and emotionally, such as children and other people do. Let’s hold abusers accountable and not tolerate the harm they inflict.
Resources on animal cruelty:
For centuries humans and dogs have been companions and for more than 100 years people have shown off their pedigreed pooches in a special show in New York City. The 131st Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show began this week. During this annual event, the best in breeds compete for the best in their category, and then those seven dogs compete for Best in Show. The pups are pampered, groomed for local, regional, and (owners hope) national competitions. One can learn a lot about dog breeds watching the televised Kennel Club Dog Show, including any new breeds recognized by the AKC (American Kennel Club).
The AKC recognized two new breeds earlier this year: the Nederlandse Kooikerhondje, a spaniel-like canine, and the Grand Basset Griffon Vendéen (GBGV), classified in the Hound Group. The total number of AKC-recognized breeds is now 192. Read more about the newest types here: http://www.akc.org/content/news/articles/newest-akc-recognized-breeds-nederlandse-kooikerhondje-grand-basset-griffon/
The top dog in the country will be chosen tonight at Westminster, from all the pampered, primped, and perfect pets that have competed the past few days. But, for those of us who don’t show our dogs or maybe don’t even care to watch Westminster, is there a program to which we (and our canine companions) can better relate? YES!
On Monday evening, February 19 (next week) Hallmark Channel presents The American Rescue Dog Show. Categories include:
Who might win Best in Rescue? The choice is likely going to be difficult, but I’m rooting for the deaf Dalmatian who lived in several different homes until finding his “true love” (Valentine’s Day is tomorrow after all!) and is being certified as a therapy dog. We can all learn about perseverance, courage and trust from rescue dogs, especially those who have faced more challenging circumstances, like disability and rejection.
Before and during the show, we can tweet and share pictures of our own rescue dogs using the hashtag #BestinRescue and @Hallmark – the company plans to award someone $1,000! That would buy lots of dog biscuits!!
I love Hallmark Channel – many shows and movies are uplifting, funny, and family-friendly. And, I’m delighted at how they often incorporate animals into the programs, including upcoming movies. The company has also chosen to promote pet rescue and adoption, partnering with Adopt-a-Pet to help people look for the proper pet for their household: http://www.hallmarkchannel.com/2018-american-rescue-dog-show/adopt-a-pet-search.
They also provide a listing of the rescues from where the Rescue Dog Show contenders were adopted: http://www.hallmarkchannel.com/2018-american-rescue-dog-show/rescue-organizations.
Wyoming, the state in which I live, stepped into the rescue spotlight earlier this month. Governor Matt Mead signed a proclamation declaring February as Adopt a Rescue Pet Month. My state hasn’t been the best at protecting companion animals until recently. Because of many rescue organizations which have cropped up in the state, including Cheyenne-based Black Dog Animal Rescue, which celebrates its 10-year anniversary this year, more attention and compassion has been given toward pets by legislative measures and other means. We still have a long way to go in this state, but thanks to the governor’s recent action and the increasing number of people involved with and supporting rescue endeavors, I believe Wyoming may continue making positive strides.
Rescue Dogs Rock! I’m the guardian to two in my household, and we’re going to sit back and enjoy Hallmark Channel’s American Dog Rescue Show next Monday evening as well as many upcoming movies with pets as co-stars – I hope you and furry friends will do the same.
The pictures we saw appalled and enraged many. Photos of a dog’s mouth wrapped in electrical tape circulated the internet in 2015. A dog named Diamond was found by her previous owner with physical and emotional injuries, and the abuse led authorities to the dog’s then-owner. Charges were filed and the case was soon to come to court. However, according to a recent article by The Doggington Post, the man, 43-year-old William Leonard Dodson was sentence to 15 years in prison on unrelated charges. He may still receive additional time for the abuse afflicted on Caitlyn, who continues to recover in a foster home. Read the full article here: http://www.dogingtonpost.com/caitlyn-the-dogs-abuser-sentenced-to-15-years-prison-on-unrelated-charges/
April is just around the corner, and with it, in addition to the rain showers that can bring May flowers, is the month to bring greater awareness to animal abuse. Known as Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Month, many animal shelters and humane organizations use this month to educate and inform people that animal abuse is, sadly, still alive and well. Many such cases remind us of that sad fact.
For example, the dog fighting operations led by football great Michael Vick made significant headlines and shown a light on this dark, disgusting trade; a small terrier mix, later named Hazel Grace by her rescuers, was burned with a blow torch – the miracle survivor often acts as a poster child for abuse cases in the Midwest; in Utah, family’s beloved pet cat was tortured to death; and in my state of Wyoming, a dog with broken toes and other injuries was rescued by and received veterinary care by a Cheyenne animal welfare organization.
Experts contend that animal abuse often escalates to violence against people, including domestic violence, homicide, and mass murder.
According to the ASPCA, every 60 seconds an animal is abused. What can you do to help fight animal cruelty? Here are a few ways:
Read more about helping prevent cruelty to animals by visiting this website: https://www.americanhumane.org/fact-sheet/animal-abuse/
Many people stood up for and continue to stand up for Caitlyn. See the inspiring video at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JTvC1ntqCpI
Be a voice for the voiceless and be a hero to animals like Caitlyn. The more heroes and concerned citizens there are, the more we’ll stop such torture.