Arizona's lawmakers have drafted a proposal which seeks to give jail time or counselling to those who intentionally torture or kill pets. This proposal which makes animal abuse a felony, is now headed to the Governor.
Representative John Kavanagh told reporters that the aim was not to put people behind bars for long periods of time but to force convicted animal abusers to get the counselling they need.
“We’re talking about getting people who are really deranged into mandatory treatment and counselling and supervision, so they don’t injure more animals or people in their household,” Kavanagh was quoted as saying.
“There’s a great link between domestic violence and abusing animals. These people need help. This bill gets them help.”
Another representative Alma Hernandez drew another comparison. She said serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer started out abusing animals.
Many believe that those who intentionally hurt animals at a young age could one day go on to bigger crimes against people.
David Barritt of animal welfare organisation, Network for Animals (NFA), said a lot more needed to be done to curb animal cruelty across the world.
“We have not even begun to scratch the surface of what is happening to animals out there. Counselling may help with smaller misdemeanour cases, but in some brutal incidents where animals are set alight for fun — counselling will not help. Look at the Philippines, for example, where dogs are skewered and roasted alive. No amount of counselling will help.”
He said tangible consequences were needed for such felonies so that animal abusers could learn from their mistakes.
“Putting someone behind bars for killing or torturing an animal is a good deterrent because the next time, they will think twice about doing it,” he said.