You’ve probably heard the names Bundy, Dahmer, Gacy; all names of notorious killers and what do they all have in common? They started out as animal abusers. What about the names; Kip Kinkle and Luke Woodham or Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold? Not quite so well known except in some circles and in the minds and memories of their victims’ families. These two pairs of names belong to teenage boys who went on killing sprees, the second pair are the infamous Columbine High School killers. What do they all have in common? They all tortured and killed animals, sometimes bragging to their friends.

Tortured dogNow what about the names; Dasha Lombard, James Manzanares, and Nicholas Stogdon? Probably not unless you live in Alamogordo, MN and either know them or were paying attention to the news in late spring in this year, 2007. They are three ‘children,’ aged 15, 14 and 13, at the time, who found a wandering puppy and decided to have some fun. They taped the dog’s muzzle shut with packing tape, stabbed her with a knife and screwdriver and proceeded to drop a 40 lb concrete block on her. When questioned about it, the response was, ‘It was just a f—— dog!” These ‘children’ were completely unaffected by the torture they inflicted on this innocent and defenseless animal.

And this was not the first brush with the law for any of them. These three teens are not new to their antisocial behavior. Lombard was charged with having a deadly weapon on school property, charged with criminal damage to property when she allegedly spray-painted an elementary school playground, previous charges include shoplifting and resisting, evading and obstructing an officer as well as numerous incidents of trouble at school, usually involving verbally abusing teachers. Manzanares’ priors include shoplifting (including one incident where he was with co-defendant Stogdon), disorderly conduct, larceny, receiving stolen property and burglary. Stogdon was charged several times with shoplifting; twice for battery on a household member; for running away; and for burglary.burned dog

There was a case in Macon, GA earlier this year in which three boys, two 14 year olds and a 13 year old burned two dogs to death. Prior to this they had been in trouble with the law and after their arrests but while they were in their parents’ custody, they proceeded to commit other crimes. Each of these boys was sentenced to 60 days detention. That’s it, just 60 days detention!

Then we have one of the latest to add to this Tobeylist of horrors by ‘children’ against animals. A 5 month old Chihuahua mix, Tobey, was stolen out of its own yard in Guadalupe County in Texas by three ‘children.’ The 12, 14 and 16 year old boys took this little puppy to an abandoned house and proceeded to throw the puppy out of a second story window several times until its back legs were broken, hung it in a tree by those mangled and broken legs, beat it with a nail studded board, lit it on fire and finally cut it head off. The boys were arrested at the scene and when questioned, they showed absolutely no remorse for the torture they inflicted on this tiny puppy. At most, these three boys will remain in juvenile detention until they are nineteen.

These are just a few of the many, many incidences out there and these are just juvenile cases. You can bet in the future you will be hearing about some of them again. Their names and faces will grace the front pages and be the leading story on newscasts and their crimes will not be against just animals but against people.

Every day I hear stories of animal abusers getting sentences so lenient that people hearing about it are just shock and incensed;

Charles J. Friel III, 22, of Allen Street in Philadelphia beat a dog that was in his care and left it chained to a tree with skull and rib fractures to suffer and die a horrible death last year and was sentenced to probation.

John W. Meyer, 41, of Shotkoski Drive of Hoffman Estates, IL, killed a puppy for urinating on the rug. He threw a 7 month old, 4 lb Chihuahua 14 foot across the room against a wall then slapped the tiny dog so hard he broke one of its legs, all of this in front of two children and he was sentenced to probation.

Marlene S. Diaz, 24, of Cooper Street in Manchester, Connecticut had a tiny little Chihuahua locked in the basement for so long and under such terrible conditions that when the dog way found after an anonymous tip by a Connecticut Natural Gas employee, she weighed about a third of what she should have weighed. She was nothing but a skeleton covered in skin and a vet had no other option but to euthanize the dog due to the severity of her condition. Diaz was sentenced to probation.

Maryanne Adams, of Greenwood Lake, NY starved a dog to death. A beautiful St. Bernard husky mix that she adopted from the humane society was left in the yard, no food, no water, freezing cold, to die a horrible death. And her sentence, community service! Warwick Town Justice Daniel Coleman didn’t even care enough to give her probation, let alone a real sentence!

These are just a few cases in which the criminals were actually identified and convicted. They are all a matter of public record. But what about all the cases of animal abuse and cruelty in which no one is ever identified? The monsters out there still walking the streets free to inflict their atrocities on other animals or to work their way up to human victims.

Laws that target animal abusers far too often are either too lenient, too vague or unenforced. There are still 7 states that do not even have felony provisions for cruelty to animals; Alaska, Arkansas, Idaho, Mississippi, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Utah. There are still two states which do not have felony provisions for dog fighting; Idaho and Wyoming.

These are not opinions, these are facts! And it is also a fact that there is a strong and indisputable correlation between animal abuse and interpersonal violence. This is one of the biggest reasons that animal abusers need to be dealt with harshly, not just for the cruelties inflicted upon innocent and defenseless animals, which is certainly bad enough, but for the cruelties that many of these abusers will go on to inflict on human victims.
Isn’t it past time for our judicial system and our lawmakers to start taking animal abuse seriously? It’s time to stand up and speak out for those without the voice to speak for themselves! It’s time to demand justice for the innocent victims!

Will you sit back and like so many people, just ignore it because you think it doesn’t involve you or will you stand up and take action? Don’t wait until it’s too late and it’s your beloved pet or maybe your child, spouse, parent or family member who is affected. Write, call, email and fax your legislators and demand change. Isn’t it time to take animal abuse seriously?

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