[Neighbor, Rita Brown, asked me to publish this. Although the beheadings occured some time ago, animal cruelty should always be a concern for all of us. Rita gives us valuable advice.]
The cat beheadings in Manhattan Heights created unease within the community. Many pet owners feared for the safety of their pets, worried they might be targeted. The person behind the attacks has still not been caught, and the community must remain vigilant. Brutal animal abusers rarely stop on their own, and normally have deep psychological issues. These can range from a child abuse victim causing an animal pain to make sense of the cruelty enacted on them, to a person predisposed to violence, who gets enjoyment out of torturing animals. Only by reporting animal abuse can we save the animal and people trapped in a terrible situation.
According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), animal cruelty falls into two categories: negligent cruelty and intentional cruelty. Negligent cruelty occurs when pet owners unintentionally cause harm, such as:
Underfeeding: Pet owners do not provide adequate food and water.
Poor Housing: Pet owners may not have adequate shelter for their pets during extreme weather, believing their fur is enough to keep them warm.
Confinement: Keeping dogs in crates or tied out for long periods of time causes emotional distress to them. Owners might be unaware that dogs are not meant to be tied up all day.
Fortunately, education on proper pet care usually rectifies this. The Humane Society and other welfare groups focus on teaching pet owners how to properly care for their animals before resorting to seizing pets.
Intentional cruelty, on the other hand, is when a person maliciously harms an animal. This includes beatings, mutilations, dog fighting, and torture. Violence against animals manifests for several reasons:
Domestic Violence: Batterers often torture family pets to manipulate and control their victims.
Child Abuse Victims: Children who are abused at home often express and make sense of the cruelty they suffer by mimicking the abuse onto the pets. Others kill their pets to spare them the violence at home.
Behavioral and Psychotic Disturbances: People who have violent disturbances in thinking, lack empathy or impulse control. These individuals torture animals out of boredom to feel a rush. Studies show many eventually graduate to human targets.
Reporting abuse to the humane society and police helps pull both animals and people out of dangerous situations. With juvenile offenders, psychological help is mandated to teach them how to control their impulses, and manage any mental issues they may have. Adult offenders face felony charges.
When reporting animal cruelty, the Humane Society of El Paso states reports should be as detailed as possible. The more information that is provided, the better the case is against the abuser. It is important to include the date, time, and place when reporting. If possible, taking pictures or video also provides invaluable evidence.
For acts of extreme cruelty, immediately call 911. If you suspect abuse, please call the following numbers to report:
El Paso Animal Services: 915 - 842 - 1000
El Paso Police Department: 915 - 832 - 4400
El Paso County Sheriff’s Office (outside of El Paso city): 915 - 546 - 2280
Las Cruces Animal Control: 575 - 528 - 4100 or 575- 526 - 0795
After reporting, keep all documents for your records. Call again after reporting to ensure the authorities have followed through with the report.
Educating others on the importance of fighting against cruelty, and reporting abuse when witnessed are two important ways to fight abuse. Calling to report can save an animal’s life, as well as the people also trapped in a desperate situation.