In the San Jose area we are very fortunate to have local government officials who have been raising the awareness of how to report abuse towards animals. The below article has been contributed by Amy Cornell, a Public Information Officer at the Santa Clara County District Attorney's Office and an animal lover. She lives in San Jose with her 2 Chihuahua mixes, Busta & Eddie. Please help us spread the word!
Santa Clara County D.A. Gets Tough on Animal Abuse
It's "the look." Most dog owners are familiar with it, and most dogs have it mastered: that forlorn "I can't believe you're not taking me with you" gaze your dog gives you as you prepare to leave home to run some errands. Your dog may watch the front door close in disbelief, but rest assured that leaving him behind could save his life. That's because your canine companion may not be allowed everywhere you go and may therefore wind up waiting for you in the car. It may seem safe enough, but the inside of your car can very quickly heat up to dangerously high temperatures, even with the windows partially open.
On June 1, with the support of nearly 30 animal shelters and organizations, law enforcement agencies, and domestic violence shelters in the community, the Santa Clara County District Attorney's Office (SCCDA) launched a community awareness project to help in the fight against animal abuse. That project includes the distribution of posters throughout the community that doing so is a crime. The penalties may include costly fines and, depending on the severity of the circumstances, even a jail sentence
Other parts of the SCCDA anti-abuse project include an informational brochure about animal abuse and a fact sheet that details the link between animal cruelty and violence can be a predictor of future criminal behavior, and many animal abusers later become violent against humans. Some of our society's most notorious killers, such as Jeffrey Dahmer and Columbine High School shooters Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, had been known to abuse animals. Since we can never be sure which animal abusers will go on to cause further harm to animals or humans, we must treat each and every case extremely seriously.
There is also a very strong connection between animal abuse and domestic violence. Many abusers deliberately harm, or threaten to kill, a family pet to intimidate or exert control over their partners. The perpetrator may hurt the animal to prevent a significant other from leaving, which could cause the victim to remain in the dangerous situation to protect the animal. Thankfully, there are animal shelters that will keep a pet safe while the victim seeks refuge at a domestic violence shelter. Most domestic violence shelters have referrals for such programs. In addition, pets can now be included in a restraining order issued by a judge.
Fighting animal abuse requires everyone's help. Awareness is the key. If you witness something that doesn't seem right, trust your instincts. Animal cruelty can be reported anonymously, 24 hours a day. If you see an animal in an abusive situation, please call 911 or your local animal shelter. Yours may be the voice that saves a life.