As a cops and courts reporter for more than 20 years, I covered more than my share of heartbreaking stories…
There was the aftermath of 9/11 in the New York City suburbs and the accidental drowning death of a small autistic boy. There were homicides, car crashes that claimed young lives and the “war stories” about battered young veterans coming home from Afghanistan or Iraq.
But for some reason the stories that bugged me most — the ones that I remember to this day — are those that involved animal cruelty, abuse or neglect.
As someone who loves animals and as a responsible pet owner, I couldn’t — and still can’t understand why anyone would deliberately hurt or even neglect an innocent dog, cat, horse… or any other creature for that matter. But you don’t need to love, or even like animals in order to find this behavior reprehensible. All you’ve got to be is a compassionate human being.
As someone who loves animals and as a compassionate person, I found a recent account about the confiscation of dozens of animals in Connecticut to be especially disturbing. According to a wtnh.com report, a complaint alerted authorities that something was amiss at the East Hampton complex back in September. Subsequent attempts to ensure the animals — including more than 30 horses — received adequate care on site reportedly yielded mixed results.
“The horses, along with two dogs, several rabbits and more than 80 chickens, were removed from the Fairy Tail Equine facility after an investigation that determined the animals were malnourished, not receiving proper veterinary care and kept in unhealthy conditions,” the Connecticut Department of Agriculture reported February 3.
Connecticut officials also said that the horses, which were confiscated pursuant to a search-and-seizure warrant signed by a Superior Court judge, were transported to the department’s Second Chance large animal rehabilitation facility in Niantic. The smaller animals that were also seized have since been sent to nearby animal shelters.
An investigation is ongoing and it is unclear whether the owners will face criminal charges.
In some cases, criminal charges aren’t warranted. Some people are simply financially or emotionally incapable of providing adequate care for their animals. Some are just irresponsible. In such cases, a simple ban on future ownership is all that’s needed.
Having said that, studies show in many cases that people who are capable of harming animals also show little regard for human life. As long as that is so, it’s essential that animal cruelty cases continue to be taken seriously and that offenders are prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.