A puppy beaten to death on a golf course, a pit bull dog pelted with stones, another pit mix set on fire, an emaciated dog tethered and left to die and a puppy found dead after being hanged from a fence are all part of a series of shocking animal cruelty cases in Baltimore, MD. The abusive acts have attracted the attention of city officials because they have all been committed by children, some aged as young as 10.
Baltimore has a serious problem and now that summer vacation has started and kids are out of school, city leaders worry the violence against animals will get worse.
Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake called a meeting Wednesday to “figure out a solution” and “reverse the trend this year.” The meeting included the police department, educators, parents and the already established Anti-Animal Abuse Task Force.
The mayor announced at the meeting, “We need to come out, come together as a community and say we’re not going to tolerate it (abuse). We’re not going to look the other way. That we’re going to confront this problem head on.”
The officials left the meeting with three key steps to put into action. It is this writer’s opinion that the Baltimore plan is rhetoric that made those in attendance feel good, but will accomplish little. Here is the plan:
- “Incorporate education about animal abuse into school and faith-based programs.”
- Be vigilant and keep kids occupied with positive activities.
- Direct families to a website that matches kids with free activities and camps.
- Assign three officers exclusively to animal abuse, after the city’s budget is able to afford it.
The group also recommended the public become more vigilant and report animal cruelty when they see it happening.
Another Plan Of Action To Stop Animal Abuse
This is not the first time Baltimore officials have sat down to find a solution to this escalating problem. On July 8, 2009 the ASPCA (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) released a statement saying they had teamed up with the city of Baltimore to create an Anti-Animal Abuse Task Force.
This was in response to a one year-old pit bull dog named Phoenix that was doused with gasoline and set on fire by a group of children. The dog was rescued, but had burns on 95% of her body. She finally succumbed to her injuries.
The goal of the task force was to “establish steps the city should take to combat this problem (animal abuse by children).” and submit its recommendations to the Mayor in a report in the summer of 2010.
The group was comprised of the State Attorney’s office, the Baltimore City Council, the Mayor’s office, BARCC (Baltimore Animal Rescue and Care Center) and the Maryland SPCA. Many of these people attended the meeting held this week.
State Trooper Bob Lukiewski was also at the meeting to give a firsthand report about the abuse he sees on the streets. He talked about the malnourished pit bull mix he rescued after being tethered to a pole and left to die. He named the young dog Nitro.
“He had a lead on that was so tight he couldn’t even sit down,” said Lukiewski. Someone told the officer the dog had been tied in that position all night and no one called for help.
“As much as he had been through, he was still wagging his tail, happy to see us,” Lukiewski continued. The trooper adopted Nitro after the criminal case ended and the dog was nursed back to health.
The trooper also told attendees at the meeting that many of the dogs reported to him do not have such a happy ending. Earlier in the week Lukiewski was called to a scene in an alley where a pit bull puppy was found hanging from his leash over a high fence. Witnesses claimed the crime was committed by kids that looked like they were 10 or 11 years old.
And just hours before the Mayor’s meeting took place, a 13-year-old was arrested in the case of pelting a dog with bricks and rocks in the face. That dog is recovering from her injuries.
The mayor of Baltimore wants to reverse the trend of animal abuse in her city – this year. She is armed with an educational plan and a website of activities. What do you think it will take to change the belief and behavior of kids that abuse innocent animals?
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