I read comments recently by local resident and preservationist Stevie Halverstadt. She spoke of the importance of upholding the laws and described a society without them as “lawless.”
I use this same example when speaking of laws surrounding the cruelty and neglect of animals. People often say to me “you must really love animals.” Well, yes, I do. But I also care about humanity and my community. Surprise!
How we act toward one element of our environment has a direct correlation to how we treat other segments of our world. Did you know, according to American Humane, (a national organization dedicated to protecting children and animals from abuse, neglect and exploitation) more American households have pets than children.
In 88 percent of the homes where children are abused, pets are harmed as well, often to induce coercion or psychological control. Seventy percent of animal abusers will commit other crimes. Drug trafficking and violent interpersonal crimes are common partners. Where there is smoke there is fire.
Just think, almost nine out of 10 times when you see someone abusing an animal, a human is at risk. Don’t walk, RUN to your telephone when you see something that makes you wince or turn your head. The “feeling” that makes you uncomfortable is your conscience telling you to take action.
In many communities, human services, animal services, law enforcement, prosecutors and the judiciary seek education and share resources and expertise to address this violence. Animal cruelty problems are people problems.
Recently a long-time friend returned to Columbiana County for a visit. I asked if there was a possibility that he might move back “home.” I was embarrassed and angry to have to accept his observation of the deteriorated condition of his hometown and of the surrounding communities.
I asked myself, what needs to be done to make Columbiana County more inviting? While the answer is too multi-faceted to address here, one answer is obvious. No one wants to move to a community that tolerates disrespect for authority and human decency.
Thumbing one’s nose at laws and those who enforce them must be addressed. If it is bad law or a bad enforcer, then take steps to affect change. In the words of Ms. Halverstadt, “the law prevails for the health, safety and well-being of our citizens.”
Do not tolerate negative behavior. Demand high standards in your circle of life. Stand up, speak out, be heard. Columbiana County’s future is counting on your participation.
President Kennedy said “A rising tide lifts all boats.” I submit that this is true even when the boats contain dogs and cats.
For more information or speakers on “The Link” between animal abuse and family violence, please contact The Humane Society of Columbiana County (not connected to HSUS) at 330-332-2600.