Stricter laws are needed to crack down on cruelty to animals, say animal-rights advocates in New York. The issue was recently brought to the forefront when a Staten Island man was charged with aggravated cruelty to a cat after posting a video on Facebook Live. The story elicited ire and heartbreak among animal-lovers.
Animal cruelty charges bring emotional responses
Those accused of abusing animals can face considerable hurdles before they ever appear in court. People have as great, or greater, emotional response when hearing about charges of animal abuse as they do with domestic violence and other crimes.
Currently in New York, aggravated animal cruelty carries a maximum sentence of two years behind bars. Advocates of stiffer penalties for abusers believe that more severe consequences will reduce incidents of animal cruelty.
Animal abuse already severely punished
Laws in all 50 states and the District of Columbia recognize animal cruelty as a crime. In many cases, these statutes impose tougher sanctions for acts committed against pets, with lighter punishments for abusing stray (or feral) animals.
Perpetrators in New York who harm animals must register with the state so they can no longer adopt or work with or near animals. Advocates are also pushing for more specialized training to help law enforcement and prosecutors identify and investigate cases of animal cruelty.
It is unclear if harsher punishments will reduce the instances of animal cruelty.
Animal abuse often arises in difficult home environments or past experiences
Circumstances of the alleged abuser often play a role in animal cruelty cases. Those who commit malicious acts against animals are more likely to have grown up in an abusive environment or have been subjected to corporal punishment as kids. Childhood physical and sexual abuse is also a predictor of animal cruelty. Criminal charges involving pets andCriminal charges involving petsanimals often come out of situations in which there are domestic troubles or substance abuse issues.
Anger management or substance abuse treatment for alleged perpetrators is often a more likely way to reduce future instances of animal cruelty than extended prison sentences.
If you're facing animal abuse allegations, a qualified criminal defense attorney can help you understand your rights and navigate the legal process. Because of the emotional nature of animal abuse cases, it is important to protect your constitutional rights.