Scrunchy was a kind mannered year old Pomeranian who was kept in a kennel at night. One morning, after spending the night in the kennel, his owner, Ricardo Costa, 40, found Scrunchy in the kennel next to some feces. Some details are unknown, but what is known is that Costa, outraged over finding out the dog had defecated, beat the dog with pruning loppers and tossed the dog into a snow bank. The dog was discovered still clinging to life and Costa was arrested facing felony charges of animal abuse (McKay, 2014).
Every year, thousands of animals like Scrunchy are the victims of malicious cruelty, but these crimes are perceived as less important than other crimes and thus many animal cruelty cases are never prosecuted. Due to the relatively recent discovery of a connection between animal cruelty and other violent crimes, many states are now recognizing the need for stiffer punishment and the addition of preventative measures in these cases.
The majorities of states now recognize animal abuse as a serious crime and have laws in place to prevent such crimes from happening. The act itself of animal abuse has been previously dismissed, but increasing awareness of a link between the abuse of children, vulnerable adults, and animals has developed a need for more examination. Animal abuse has taken on a new meaning in the psychological community. In fact, increasing studies have indicated that these abusive acts against animals are often associated with many forms of mental disturbance and can be indicative of other violent acts within that individual’s lifetime (Luke, 1997). This link between animal abuse and other forms of violence has been established and is being used as an early detection of further issues. This paper will discuss the types of animal abuse, how it is reported, its connection to other forms of violence and any preventative actions that can be taken in order to stop the progression from animal abuser to progressive criminal.
In order to understand the connection between animal abuse and other forms of violence, the term animal abuse must first be defined. Animal abuse can cover a wide variety of actions but legally, it means “the crime of inflicting physical pain, suffering or death on an animal, usually a tame one, beyond necessity for normal discipline” (Hill, 2005). The legal definition of animal abuse does not go into detail as to what constitutes animal abuse, but from a psychological perspective, animal abuse encompasses three things: physical abuse, sexual abuse and neglect (NSPCC, 2014).
Physical abuse is one of the most noticeable forms of animal cruelty. It is a very visual form of abuse and most recognizable in society. There are three types of physical abuse that an animal can undergo: intentional abuse and torture, organized abuse and ritualistic abuse (Duke, 2006). Intentional abuse and torture is often seen as the most violent form of abuse, intentional abuse and torture is aimed specifically at hurting the dog...