A new bill proposed in Wisconsin is going a step farther than the animal abuse registry introduced to lawmakers in California. The legislation is taking into consideration the influence animal cruelty has on kids.
Assembly Bill 747 will create stiffer penalties for crimes against animals when they are committed in front of a minor child or cause a child to mistreat an animal.
Similar to the innovative California online registry, the Wisconsin bill also acknowledges that cruelty to animals is a problem that encompasses more than just hurting an animal. It hurts society as well.
In her story Do You Know Who Your Neighbors Are? Care2 blogger Alicia Graef said, “Animal abuse is not just bad for animals either and has been extensively documented as a predictor of human abuse, and is often related to domestic violence, child abuse and other crimes.”
Assembly Bill 747 came about as a grassroots effort to reform Wisconsin’s statutes dealing with crimes against animals. Kathi Tucker is president of the organization pushing for the bill. The group is called Windchill Legacy.
She told Duluth News Tribune, “Children who are subjected to watching their family members abuse their pets are scarred for life, mentally, and often victims of child abuse themselves. They are also more likely to grow up and abuse their families and pets. We are doing what we can to stop this cycle of abuse.”
The group’s name is in honor of a 9-month-old colt that was found near death in a pasture in February 9, 2008. He was malnourished, covered in ice and snow and unable to stand. The wind chill that day was between 40 and 55 degrees below zero. The colt, nicknamed Windchill, was being boarded for the winter by his owner on a farm that Shane and Pamela Javenkoski shared with their family. Both adults were charged with animal negligence.
The little colt was covered in blankets and taken to a neighboring farm where he received medical attention and an outpouring of love from the public. He started to show signs of improvement over the next several days, but 20 days into his recovery – Windchill died.
That’s when the grassroots organization of neighbors and friends decided change the law and close up longstanding loopholes. They are asking that abusers undergo a psychological assessment, anger management, counseling or treatment. This is in addition to criminal charges and penalties.
Assembly Bill 747 also proposes protection to animals from irresponsible owners who fail to prevent their pets from excessive pain and suffering. The new law would have saved the life in a recent case where a dog was hit by car and made to suffer by its owners who refused to get veterinary help, euthanize or surrender him. The dog died of his injuries, one week later.
Laws like the California animal abuse registry and Wisconsin’s Bill 747 are needed to protect the public, kids and innocent animals from abuse and give officials the authority needed to prosecute cruel behavior.