There are over seventy million cats and fifty-five million dogs in the United States, yet the number of reported cases of neglect, or abuse is severely lacking (Davidson 1).
Animal abuse is an ongoing dilemma in this country; recent studies have indicated child animal cruelty offenders often go on to pursue disturbing acts of criminal behavior. This nation simply does not have standardized legislation across the nation as a preventative method of dealing with this predicament. Many states treat animal abuse too leniently, and this is bad because youthful offenders often times will go on to perform criminal acts later in life, therefore anti-youth violence organizations and animal abuse prevention organizations need to join forces in order to enhance existing laws and to better educate America’s youth. It was not until recently people were first beginning to discover that animals do indeed have rights.
It was not until 1966 that the nation finally realized these kind creatures could in fact feel pain and neglect, when the Animal Welfare Act was finally passed. According to Congress’s Public Law 89-544 Act of August 24, 1966, the use of animals in lab tests, the transportation, sale, and handling of dogs, cats and certain other animals is now regulated by the Secretary of Agriculture (1).
Sample State Animal Cruelty Laws:
Nevada: Recently it has become mandatory for Nevada juvenile court systems to obtain some form of psychological treatment for animal cruelty offenders (“States Look at Stricter Laws” 1). This is great news for the state of Nevada; unfortunately this mandatory regulation does not exist in all states.
Idaho and Illinois: According to Howard Davidson, director of the ABA center on Children and the Law, the states of Idaho and Illinois currently incorporate torture to household pets within what they define as child maltreatment (2). For these states this is a wonderful advancement, however there are only a handful of states, which recognize this correlation.
Alabama: In the state of Alabama animal cruelty is considered a class C felony, which means cruelty in the first degree, will be considered a felony on the first offense (“State Law Provisions” 1).
Maine: The state of Maine animal cruelty is not a felony, but offenders must order psychological counseling if they are considered a juvenile, yet in Alabama offenders do not need to receive any type of counseling (“State Law Provisions” 4).
Hawaii: The state of Hawaii considers animal cruelty not to be a felony, but a misdemeanor, and poses only a possible maximum fine of two thousand dollars with no jail time (“State Law Provisions” 2).
Many states treat animal abuse too leniently, and this is bad because youthful offenders often times go on to perform criminal acts later in life; therefore, anti-youth violence organizations and animal abuse prevention organizations need to join forces in order to enhance existing laws.