This month P.O.S. was sentenced to 364 days in the county jail, 5 years of probation after release, 100 hours community service, no contact with animals, and mandatory counseling while on probation. He was also slapped with a $2500 fine and may not live in a home where animals are kept.
I can hear my non-ACO friends yelling now. “That’s it? ONE year?!” And trust me, I agree with you. On the other hand, I can hear my ACO friends cheering because we have seen many a P.O.S. like this walk away with nothing. Yes nothing. And countless more cases have been ditched before even making it to court. Unfortunately "animal cases" aren't always taken seriously. Things are changing, but not as quickly as many of us would like. What can you do to help?
- Review your city’s animal control ordinances. Most can be found online from your city’s official web page. Some are better than others. While you're at it, review the ordinances of the next town over. If you think your city's laws could be better, speak up! City Council meetings are open to the public. Local newspapers are always looking for letters to the editor.
- Check out your state’s anti-cruelty laws. The ASPCA has made it easy for you right here, just scroll down to your state. The Humane Society of the United States also has a legislation department here and it reviews both state and federal laws. WARNING: Every organization – ASPCA, HSUS, PeTA, AKC, etc. – has their own beliefs (agenda?) which may or may not agree with yours. Chances are each one of them is going to make perfect sense or seem downright extreme at one time or another. It is imperative that you carefully consider everything before joining in. Caveat emptor.
- Write letters to your elected officials. Tell them how you feel. Respectfully tell them that you are one of their constituents, this particular issue is important to you and you would like to know where they stand.
- Vote. If you don’t vote then you have no right to complain if things don’t go the way you want .
And keep logging on. I’ll tell you what I think and why I think that way. And if you don’t agree, I will gladly listen to your point of view. (Unless you're a jerk, then I'll just block you.) Deal? -- K