Welcome to 2009. It is a sad commentary on our society when the year has barely started and already a celebrity is in the news for animal abuse. Rapper DMX, whose real name is Earl Simmons, pled guilty to drug, theft and animal cruelty charges in an Arizona court.
Sadly his case is reminiscent to the raid on Michael Vick’s home where a professional dog fighting ring was found in 2007. I happily thought we had put that story behind us as we entered the new year in 2008 and the abused Pit Bull dogs finally found a safe haven at Best Friends Animal Society. But now as we begin 2009 I can see that Americans are slow learners.
DMX’s story began several years ago with allegations of animal cruelty, but it was only last summer when police raided his home after they received an anonymous tip about the neglect of his dogs. They found twelve malnourished Pit bull terriers in the yard without shelter from the sun and without food or water. Another three dogs were found buried in a shallow grave. All three of them had bite marks that resembled those from dog fighting rings and one had burns on his body.
The twelve dogs were sent to an animal rescue group in Arizona, but apparently DMX continued to acquire fighting dogs because when the police came to his house last Friday to take him into custody, they confiscated another five pit bull puppies.
At the trial DMX blamed the poor health of his dogs on an employee he had hired, but the judge pointed out that the rapper was the owner of the dogs and the responsible party. DMX agreed to never own an animal again and will serve at least 90 days in jail.
This publicized abusive behavior toward animals is having an effect on the values of our children and teens. In 2008, animal cruelty by children increased.
Here are just a few of the cases from last year:
- The Dallas Animal Cruelty Task Force found seven Pit bulls with scarred faces, chopped ears and other deformities chained on an abandoned piece of land. All of the dogs had been used for professional dog fighting. The owners of the dogs were a group of teenage boys who were making large amounts of money from their abusive behavior.
- Dog fighting rings organized by teenagers were stopped in Houston, Texas, and in several cities in North Carolina.
- Two teenage boys in Mississippi were arrested for holding professional dog fights and cock fights. The two teens were already awaiting sentencing for an earlier animal cruelty charge.
- In Nevada, three elementary aged children were reprimanded after they terrorized the family cat by putting her in an empty pillowcase and then dropping heavy objects around her. Luckily a parent arrived home before the cat was injured.
- Also in Nevada, a 15-year-old boy was asked to vacuum the house while his family ran errands. One of the family cats was sleeping behind a couch in the living room and when the boy worked in that area he repeatedly rammed the vacuum into the couch. The cat was found with a broken jaw and eye socket.
- Even Dear Abby received a letter about a Wisconsin neighborhood that was being terrorized by an eleven year old boy. He was coaxing neighborhood dogs into his yard and then exhibiting anti-social behavior by teasing and playing roughly with them and hiding them from their owners.
- A 13-year-old boy in Lauren County shot a Golden retriever named Yellow at close range. The dog made a full recovery.
- In Hartford Connecticut a Judge Raymond Norko ordered that a special task force be organized to curb the cruelty to animals by children. He issued the task force because of the amount of abuse he sees in the courtroom every year.
These acts of violence against defenseless animals occurred all across the country in 2008. It seems that many children are being raised without learning to have empathy for other beings. Is our society becoming so callous and self-centered that some of our young people have stopped seeing animals as real, breathing and loving companions? It makes me wonder what type of people they will be as adults and parents.
If you see a child acting in an abusive way to an animal, report it to Animal Control immediately.