Animal cruelty punished more severely now

Published 12:00 am Sunday, December 7, 2003

Why anyone would want to harm a cat or a dog or any other animal is beyond our understanding; nevertheless, there are people who do so either continually or even in a burst of rage. Thankfully, to punish acts of such cruelty there’s a law in place which states &uot;that anyone who beats, maims, tortures, or willfully inflicts injury or pain to a cat or dog, or cruelly beats, or causes the death of a companion animal is guilty of a felony.&uot;

This rule – strenghthened from a misdemeanor to a felony last year – was exercised locally for the first time when a Suffolk resident was found guilty Thursday of causing the death of a relative’s pet cat.

While some people might desire a harsh punishment, the quality of mercy wasn’t strained in the courtroom. The judge used reason, as he put it, and decided to suspend a few years in prison under the condition of probation and obviously needed counseling.

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That sentence should serve as a warning to others that hurting animals – which can’t defend themselves beyond fang and claw – is being taking more seriously than ever. When you think about it, such a statute should have been in place decades ago.

Because there is such a rule, we especially encourage people to report any witnessed acts of animal cruelty to the proper authorities. Not to do so makes one complicit in the crime.