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Abuse doesn’t just hurt family’s pets

Some people might think as they look at pictures of animal abuse that the stories don’t matter; that these are just dogs and cats.

Monday, October 11, 1999

Some people might think as they look at pictures of animal abuse that the stories don’t matter; that these are just dogs and cats.

They might even be tempted to believe that animal abusers just neglect their pets and take good care of their children.

In some cases that is true. A pet owner might simply not understand what it takes to properly care for his or her dog or cat. Their mistakes are made out of ignorance, not cruelty

But most of the time, the opposite is the case. Adults who abuse animals often can’t control their anger around their children, either. If they could kick an innocent dog whose only crime is being in the wrong place at the wrong time, it is not too much of a stretch to believe that a child in the same place might also get the same treatment.

The battle against animal abuse is not just the whim of a few animal activists out to cause a little trouble. It is an effort to make more Americans conscious of the need to protect all forms of life. Saving an animal from abuse and neglect might also rescue a child from a parent who values no life – not even the most precious, that of his little boy or girl.

Efforts to strengthen animal cruelty laws recognize the connection between child abuse and crimes against domestic animals. Making sure abusers get the help they need won’t just avenge the death of an innocent pet that couldn’t protect itself; it might save the life of a child.