Animal Abuse Often Gives Way to Other Forms of Violence

Unchecked violence breeds exceleration

A terrifyingly graphic article popped up this weekend in the Chicago daily papers. Two males, 16 and 24, were arrested in a primarily poor and African American neighborhood of Chicago. They were arrested after someone walking down an alley found the decapitated body of a seven month old pup. The dog had been stolen from an area backyard.

According to police, the dog had been stolen by a dog fighting ring, who paid $10 a piece for stolen or found animals. The pup was attacked by one of the fighting dogs and afterward taken to the alley where he was decapitated with an axe by the 16 year old.

Police have long known that the area is a bastion of dog fighting. And in the last two years, Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart has made dog fighting felony arrests a priority. Last year, during a raid at an actual dog fight, police arrested a 13-year-old child and a woman who was 7 months pregnant.

When interviewed by the pup's owner, he declined to have his name printed, saying that he, his family and most neighbors were terrified by the action.

The kind of person who thinks to decapitate a dog with an axe, must have a dangerous mental issue, the owner said. He also questioned what someone capable of that sort of violence might do in the future. Pointing to an abandoned house, he told a reporter that everyone in the neighborhood knew the home was used for dog fighting.

When police raided the home, four more dogs were found. All were without food and water and by the amount of fecal matter on the stairs, the dog had been there for days. One dog showed signs of beating, another significant burns to fur and skin. Police charged both men with felony aggravated animal abuse.

Periodically police arrest individuals were have beaten and abused animals. And when animal rights activists demand stiff penalties, many express concern about the zealots overreacting.

Today football player Michael Vick, convicted of running a dog fighting ring out of his southern estate, is again working in the national football league with a multi-million dollar contract. While he has donated resources and time to the humane causes, still he remains managing to be no worse for wear, unlike many of the dogs he beat, electrocuted, and drown.

How people feel about pets, theirs and other people's, varies. Some folks consider animals to be outside animals who have no feelings; others see souls in devotion and love. Many rescue owners claim dogs who are rehomed are particularly loyal and greatful for their homes.

But regardless of people's opinions of animals, most mental health professionals agree that animal torture is an indicator of and a precursor to human violence. The Federal Bureau of Investigation indicates animal torture and murder in their profile of serial killers. Many arsonists who start fires for sexual release also have a history of animal torture.

Meanwhile in some segments of society animal fighting and all the abuse that comes with it, is condones, essentially creating a socially acceptable method to practice violence. While some folks, like Michael Vick, reportedly trade in dog fighting for financial gain - as though the million dollar NFL contracts weren't enough - others do so for the feeling of power and surge of adrenaline that accompanies the sadism.

And the home owner has the right idea in thinking that if his puppy isn't safe in the owner's back yard; the neighborhood children aren't either.

Combine that with the mortgage foreclosure epidemic leaving abandoned buildings in just about every neighborhood in America and you can create a formula for deviant behavior and a place in which it can take place in relative safety for the offender.

However, if society as a whole makes such behaviors so abhorant that those participating are immediately identified and brought into the mental health system, the likelihood of these horrific actions amplifying or being redirected to humans.

So contact your legislator, write to Congress. Take some action to help an animal today. It may help a child tomorrow.


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