There’s no punishment harsh enough…

This vintage typwriter is our featured image.

I’d like to think that I’m a fairly tolerant person. But there are some things for which I have absolutely no tolerance whatsoever.

I have no tolerance for bullies. I have no tolerance for ignorance. I have no tolerance for anyone who preys upon or otherwise exploits, children, the elderly or animals. Especially animals.

Eli, the In Brief Legal Writing Services mascot.
In Brief Legal Writing Services mascot Eli catching up on the latest news. Photo by Alexandra Bogdanovic

As far as I’m concerned there’s no punishment harsh enough for the owner of an animal shelter in Monroe, Connecticut, who was recently convicted of animal cruelty. Especially because he’s got prior convictions.

According to one news account, Frederick Acker “was convicted of 11 counts of animal cruelty in Ansonia-Milford Superior Court on July 26 and faces up to 11 years in prison at sentencing on Sept. 6.”

To make matters worse, Acker was reportedly convicted on 15 counts of animal cruelty in Litchfield Superior Court last year. He got off with a slap on the wrist.

The good news is that Connecticut politicians — some of whom have been aware of Acker’s exploits for sometime — are now planning on joining forces to close the legal loopholes that have allowed Acker to continue operating an animal shelter.

“We need to change our laws and our regulations to make sure that not only they are strict enough, but to make sure our judicial system is enforcing them,” said Connecticut State Rep. Themis Kalrdies, who learned about Acker’s exploits after she tried to adopt a kitten from the shelter. “We don’t want to stop anybody who is a good and caring person from taking care of animals, we want to make sure people who are clearly taking advantage of the system are not allowed to.”

Speaking as someone who loves animals and as someone who has devoted a considerable amount of time and energy to volunteering at a local animal shelter for the past few years, I hope Connecticut lawmakers follow through on this.

Allowing Acker and those like him to continue working with animals is a slap in the face to everyone who works tirelessly to help unwanted cats and dogs find forever homes.

More importantly, it is unfair to all of the animals who count on people for help.

How cool is this?

This vintage typwriter is our featured image.

It’s almost enough to restore my faith in humanity. Of course almost is the key word in that sentence.

But all kidding aside, I rarely find articles I enjoy, much less agree with, in The New York Times. So imagine my surprise when my almost-daily search for blog fodder turned up an utterly cool, totally heartwarming story there earlier this month.

Written by Winnie Hu, the February 7 story was about the pet food pantries popping up in New York City and surrounding suburbs. Thanks to them, a lot of people who are often forced to choose between buying food for themselves or their pets are no longer confronted by that agonizing decision. People who were once forced to surrender — or worse yet abandon — their pet because they couldn’t afford to feed it now know there is a place to get canned food or kibble for their dog or cat.

Eli, the In Brief Legal Writing Services mascot.
In Brief Legal Services mascot Eli catching up on the latest news. Photo by Alexandra Bogdanovic

I am sure there are plenty of skeptics — and critics — like the man quoted in Hu’s article. I won’t waste my breath on them. They just don’t get it — and they probably never will … unless they spend some time volunteering at an animal shelter, or at least visiting one. Perhaps if they heard the cries of a dog newly separated from the only owner it has ever known, or seen the look on the owner’s face after he or she has left their dog or cat at a shelter, they would finally understand.

Maybe then they would finally realize what those of us who love our pets have always known; that there is something animals give freely regardless of their caregiver’s race, religion, gender identity, sexual preference or socioeconomic standing. It’s something that people don’t give unconditionally and it’s something all the money in the world can’t buy. It’s something called love … and that’s something to think about.