Examining what needs to be done to combat the issue

DogI was sitting downstairs listening to music, in a carefree mood, when I suddenly heard a loud argument coming from upstairs.

I quickly raced upstairs to see what the commotion was. When I reached my mom and sister, I saw they were both really angry and upset.

My mom and sister then told me they saw two little girls, around 10 and 11 years old, by our fence throwing rocks at our dog.

My sister told one of the little girls to stop throwing rocks, but she answered back, "I can do whatever I want."

Actually little girl, you're sadly mistaken. You cannot do whatever you want to animals. 

By throwing rocks at an animal, whether it's a dog, cat, rabbit or whatever, you are intentionally hurting it and contributing to the number of animal cruelty cases in Calgary.

According to the Ontario SPCA and the Humane Society's website, animal cruelty is classified under two categories: neglect and intentional cruelty.

It states neglect is viewed as the "failure to provide adequate water, food, shelter or necessary care."

Intentional cruelty is viewed as the "deliberate physical harm or injury deliberately inflicted on an animal."

Christy Thompson, general manager of community relations at the Calgary Humane Society, states the most common types of pet abuse are abandonment, abuse, neglect and leaving a dog in a hot car.

According to the organization's annual report, there were 174 cases of abandonment, 190 cases of abuse and 757 cases of neglect in 2013. Additionally, 314 animals were seized by peace officers.

dogabusedA bruised, battered and bloodied dog shows the real human effects of animal cruelty.

Photo courtesy of Josh Henderson/Flickr.
So far this year, there have been a number of nasty animal cruelty incidents that have cropped up in our city.

Thompson adds that any animal can be a potential target for animal cruelty. "We've had a seizure of a large number of exotics (snakes, lizards and turtles) lately," she says.

"We've also dealt with hoarding cases involving cats, the Camardi case which dealt with a cat and a dog, as well as abandonment of rabbits and smaller animals, so there's no one population of animals that's being targeted."

Earlier this year, Nicolino Ivano Camardi was charged with inflicting intentional pain and suffering to an animal after he muzzled a Siberian Husky and a kitten to death in SE Calgary alley.

Michael Alvarez-Toye, a spokesperson for the Calgary Animal Rights Coalition, says the reason animal cruelty continues to occur is because Canada doesn't have strong laws.

He adds there were a number of bills proposed in the Senate that were eventually defeated because different industries in Canada, such as food, farming and entertainment, lobbied for loopholes.

"All of these (industries) wanted loopholes because they felt that because of industry standards, there are things that happen in the normal or public area that would be considered cruelty," Toye says.

"They (the Senate) watered down the law to such a point that basic cruelty laws don't really cover what happens in the pet industry.

"What you're left with is a law that makes very little provisions for cruelty, unless it's proven without the shadow of a doubt that it's actually cruelty."

In order to combat animal cruelty in Canada, we should establish a law that is similar to the Switzerland's Federal Act on Animal Protection.

This act is the strictest in the world in terms of dealing with people who mistreat an animal.

If a person is found guilty of animal cruelty, they will be subjected to imprisonment and a fine of 20,000 Swiss francs ($24,215 Can.).

As a society, we shouldn't turn a blind eye to animal cruelty happening in our very own backyards.

We should report them right away, so that the Calgary Police Service and the Calgary Humane Society can deal with it.

If we are far too ignorant towards these injustices, then animal cruelty will continue to occur.

When looking at the sentencing of animal cruelty cases in Calgary, the punishment doesn't seem to the fit the crime.

For example, in June, local former dog groomer Mariko Dormer was was fined $4,000, and banned from working with pets for 10 years after abusing canines under her care.

The punishment in this case and others should be along the lines of "Quanto's Law", which states, anyone who kills or injures a police service animal will be put behind bars for a maximum of five years. Pets deserve similar justice.

Lastly, parents and schools should be vigilant in educating children on how to behave around animals, whether they enrol their kids in sensitivity training or make them do a read-and-sign, signifying that what they understand that what they did is wrong.

Pets are our friends and a part of the family, but why do we treat them like they are otherwise?

 

 

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