“Felony penalties for animal cruelty allow prosecutors to better prosecute offenders, because, sadly, most domestic violence cases are only prosecuted at the misdemeanor level.” — Animal Legal Defense Fund
A recent story about a Connecticut man accused of throwing a puppy off a building highlights the need for tougher animal cruelty laws and harsher penalties.
According to published reports, Shaquille McGriff, 24, of New Britain, allegedly threw a seven-month old Chihuahua off a “second-floor porch” in July. McGriff stands accused of “choking a man after an argument with a woman” and then tossing the helpless puppy “two-and-half stories in an arc that spanned about 25 feet.”
The puppy named “Munchkin” survived, but needed extensive medical care to repair a broken leg and internal injuries. Thanks to the Connecticut Humane Society, she received the necessary treatment and is now on the road to recovery. She will be made available for adoption once she is fully healed.
In the meantime, McGriff is reportedly being held on bond while facing assault and animal cruelty charges. If convicted of the latter, his maximum sentence under Connecticut law would be five years in prison and a $5,000 fine.
Now I don’t know about you but as far as I’m concerned, in this case even the maximum penalty doesn’t fit the crime. Personally, I would love it if the law would allow someone far bigger and stronger than Mr. McGriff to pick him up by the scruff of the neck and throw him off a building. Now that would be a fitting punishment for someone as clearly depraved as Mr. McGriff.
Of course, the law would never allow that. But with growing awareness about the links between animal cruelty and the propensity for violence towards people, the need for tougher animal cruelty laws is clear.
According to the Animal Legal Defense Fund, “felony penalties for animal cruelty allow prosecutors to better prosecute offenders, because, sadly, most domestic violence cases are only prosecuted at the misdemeanor level.”
As it now stands, the situation is grim. Citing information from “studies that were published in peer-reviewed professional journals or books,” the Animal Welfare Institute shared the following on its website:
- Multiple studies have found that from 49% to 71% of battered women reported that their pets had been threatened, harmed, and or killed by their partners.
- In a national survey, 85% of domestic violence shelters indicated that women coming to their facilities told of incidents of pet abuse.
- According to a survey, women in domestic violence shelters were 11 times more likely to report animal abuse by their partners than was a comparison group of women not experiencing violence.
An article on the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) website pertaining to the link between animal abuse and violent crime is also disturbing.
“Of 36 convicted multiple murderers questioned in one study, 46% admitted committing acts of animal torture as adolescents.[ii] And of seven school shootings that took place across the country between 1997 and 2001, all involved boys who had previously committed acts of animal cruelty,” the HSUS article states.
I rest my case.