Most of us have animals in our lives. We need nap-buddy and a wag at the end of the day. There is a perverse satisfaction that comes from being ignored by a cat. Some of us are lucky enough to get the emotional re-balancing comes from sharing breath with a horse while mucking out the barn. A lot of us want to pay that kindness forward by working against animal abuse.
Starting next year, the FBI will raise animal abuse to a Class-A felony, putting it on par with assault, rape and murder. (Read more here.) No, law enforcement isn’t going to be carrying dog treats and wearing kitten hoodies–it isn’t because they love horses. It’s because animal abuse holds a very serious and profoundly important place in the larger world of abuse. Statistics tell us that animal abuse is frequently the first step toward to greater violence to come, and tracking these crimes will be an aid in understanding more about offenders, as well as catching repeat offenders. This national change will hopefully encourage more enforcement at the local level across the country.
Horse Advocates board members met this week with the new El Paso County Sheriff Bill Elder. Our county has struggled with a lack of leadership in the sheriff’s department in the recent past and Sheriff Elder has a big job ahead, as well as a management style that’s inclusive and well-suited to the task. He shares our concern about horse abuse in the county, but our conversation encompassed all forms of abuse from child welfare to domestic violence to elder abuse. Each of these areas has things in common and he would like to see a more unified approach used across the board to help the victims.
Since animal abuse is usually the starting point, our organization has a crucial role to play. Our success in advocating for horses will have a much greater impact than we can measure. We are committed to working for horse welfare, knowing that the ripple effect will improve human lives as well.
Anna Blake for Horse Advocates.