What a terrific response we got to my blog last week, "What's going on?" that posed the question as to why we are seeing so much animal abuse in Ottawa, and what could be done about it.
The overwhelming majority of you felt there was a need for tougher laws and stiffer penalties. Many of you recognized that the problem went beyond the legislation itself and extended to the penalties being brought down by the courts.
Sandie Spears felt that our society needs an attitude adjustment:
"When people learn that an animal is not a thing but a member of their family they may change their treatment of them."A number of you pointed to the link between violence toward animals and violence toward humans. Karen Phillips wrote:
"(The) court system needs to recognize that animal abusers have a high likelihood of women/children abuse. This is the mark of a sadist. Lock them up on animal abuse and save the rest of the family! These recent animal abuse cases are not NORMAL! These are disturbed, violent individuals that we should all feel unsafe around."Shirley Morgan had a good suggestion:
"What about having a campaign called, Look with your eyes and Listen with your ears: If you hear a dog barking or crying constantly, look into it (and) call the OHS. If you see with your eyes cows really thin, do something, call..."I will make sure Ms. Morgan's suggestion is considered as a part of our upcoming strategic planning process.
I liked that Joanna Calder felt that the spate of horrendous cases might actually mean something good about our community. She wrote:
"I wonder if the apparent rise in cases is not because there is more abuse, but perhaps because other people are more sensitive to animals' abuse and quicker now to confront the abusers, report them, or take other action. If so, then the apparent rise in abuse may really be a rise in caring by others."I hope you will forgive me if I highlight Tonya Pomerantz's response. To me, it expresses both the horror we feel and captures what we are ultimately trying to achieve. Also, it's nice to get a compliment now and again!
"All I know is that these monsters should not be part of our society. It frightens me to think of the horror that other people are inflicting on their pets. I am so incredibly grateful for the OHS and what your team does. I have supported the OHS in all sorts of ways, and I will continue to do so.
I would love to have a day where we don't have unwanted dogs, cats and other animals, and when no one abuses or neglects their animals. Until that day, both our society and so many animals are blessed to have you and the whole OHS team."Thank you to everyone who considered these questions and took the time to write. Keep writing, keep thinking, and keep up your vigilance. Breezy, Charlie and all the other animals need you.