Target: Tina Kotek, Speaker of the House for Oregon State
Goal: Ensure a just punishment for crimes against animals.
Animals are a major part of our society, from beloved pets to service animals in the police and military forces. Even so, the penalties for cruelty to these animals are shockingly low. We welcome animals into our homes and entrust them with our safety, but people who harm them may only be punished by a fine then released back into the world to do more harm.
Non-malicious cruelty to animals can be treated as either a misdemeanor or a felony and is only punishable by either a maximum fine of $1,000 or a maximum of one year imprisonment. Even the intentional and malicious torturing or injuring of an animal can be prosecuted as either a misdemeanor or a felony, punishable by either a maximum fine of $5,000 or a maximum of five years of imprisonment.
Not only should the punishment be more severe because of the heinousness of the crimes, but also because there is an undeniable link between animal cruelty and more dangerous crimes. Most psychopaths have dabbled in animal cruelty and then they progress to sex crimes, domestic violence, and murder.
Animal cruelty laws need to include more severe penalties. Animals are not simply wild, unintelligent beings; they are beings we have invited into our homes and into our hearts, and so they should be treated as we would treat other human beings. Therefore, the punishments for animal abusers should be more on par with the punishments for crimes against humans.
Dear Ms. Kotek,
We have brought animals out of their natural environment and trained them to be service animals and a part of our families. And yet, the crimes against them are mostly punishable only by a fine, probation, or minimal jail time. The animals we entrust with our love and safety are not protected by our criminal justice system. The crimes against them are heinous and unthinkable and punishment for these crimes needs to be more severe.
Not only are animal cruelty crimes a disgusting show of power, but they are gateway crimes to more dangerous acts such as sex crimes, domestic violence, and murder. Almost every psychopath has a history of animal cruelty. We implore you to stand for more severe punishments for crimes against these beloved animals. These crimes should be punishable to the same degree as crimes against human beings.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Gabriela Talarico