Animal abuse escalates to even worse behavior

The recent spate of animal abuse cases in Western New York leads to thought and reflection in the hearts and minds of most balanced individuals, not just “animal lovers.” It is disturbing to contemplate the horrific stories that have emerged. People are being held to face charges of felony animal cruelty, and justifiably so.

Not just limited to teenagers, adults and children who commit these acts need serious help. Parents, guardians, law enforcement and the community at large cannot take these behaviors too lightly. It has been studied and proven that there is an interconnectedness of different kinds of abuse: child abuse, neglect, domestic violence and animal abuse. Too often cruelty to animals is part of the type of violence children are exposed to. There are statistics proving that animal abuse is one of the warning signs that help identify youth at risk for interpersonal violence or other conduct disorders. Too often these signs are ignored.

Animals have no voice. People must stand up for their well-being. Abuse takes many forms, from neglect to unacceptable behavior that causes unnecessary pain, suffering, distress or even death to an animal. The laws must be upheld; felony charges must be pursued. This is criminal behavior that continues to escalate if it is not stopped and addressed legally with follow-through in the form of psychological help. I am passionate about this for the sake of innocent animals, society at large and the future of human beings, juvenile and adult, who are on this terrible path of violence.

Carolyn C. Koelmel