Corporate punishment for animal abuse?


Tasha is sad that some dogs get abused. (Photo by Dawn Gibson/ The Weal)

Tasha is sad that some dogs get abused. (Photo by Dawn Gibson/The Weal)

Cases of animal abuse are reported everyday, some cases so severe it makes a person sick just to read what a person can do to an innocent and defenceless animal.

Unfortunately, the punishment for such acts is not as severe as they would be if it were a human in these circumstances.

According to the Criminal Code of Canada, “the punishment for causing unnecessary suffering to an animal is an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for a term of no more than five years.”

Or, “an offence punishable on summary conviction and liable to a fine not exceeding ten thousand dollars or to imprisonment for a term of not more than eighteen months or to both.”

If this had been a human being unnecessarily harmed, the punishment would be much more severe.

According to a 2007 study by the American humane Society, 64.5 per cent of animal abuse cases involve dogs, 18 per cent involve cats and 25 per cent involve other animals.

Shelley Rogers of the SPCA said although there are different punishments for each circumstance, such as causing damage or injury or keeping a cockpit, the consequences are much too lax.

“We get reports of animals that have been in distress for months, or even years.

“Most of the time, these cases are never reported, and most animal suffering goes unrecognized and unabated,” said Rogers.

“It is extremely unfair to these animals.”

Rogers also said when the abusers are caught, they usually get away with paying a small fine and a ban from owning animals either permanently, or for a set period of time.

Abuse cases are typically species like dogs, cats, horses and livestock.

Dogfighting, cockfighting and other forms of organized animal cruelty go hand-in-hand with other crimes.

Abbey Maltoose adopted her three-year-old Great Dane, Shelia, from the Humane Society six months ago after finding out she had been in an abusive home.

“I was devastated when I had heard what had happened to her. She was kicked, punched in the face, burned by cigarette butts and locked in a small kennel without food or water for days.”

“I can’t wrap my head around how somebody could possibly do that to a defenseless animal, especially one as sweet and cute as Shelia,” said Maltoose.

“The couple who abused her were caught but only had to pay $6,000 and were banned from owning any animals for 10 years.”

Maltoose said she thinks anyone caught abusing animals should be banned from owning them for life so that they will not be able to repeat their crimes.

“I worry that once their ten years are up, they will start abusing them again. I know that they wouldn’t be able to adopt another one, but look at all of the strays on the streets. They are perfect targets for sick people like that.”

Society seems to value the lives of humans more than the lives of animals. But at the end of the day, we are all living beings here on earth that have feelings, and can feel pain whether they have two legs or four.

Hopefully, more severe punishments will be put into play for those who feel the need to inflict pain on our fury and scaly friends.

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