Last week, California State Senator Scott Wilk (R-Antelope Valley) announced the introduction of the Animal Welfare and Violence Intervention Act of 2018 (SB 1024) to address the clear link between animal cruelty and violence against people.
This bill aims to end the cycle of violence by mandating all offenders of severe crimes undergo mental health assessments and ongoing counseling, if it is deemed beneficial. It will also require offenders of specified crimes to complete an animal abuse education course. The bill will increase the fines for crimes against animals, helping to offset the costs.
SB 1024 will address the root causes of animal cruelty and prevent re-offense, protecting countless animals and people. Animal abuse is an indicator of a violent personality. A 10-year study of at-risk youth found that children who were cruel to animals were more than twice as likely to be referred to authorities for violent offenses. By proactively treating animal abusers we can break the cycle of violence and prevent abusers from escalating in violence.
It is incredibly important for our laws to work to end the cycle of violence. SB 1024 will do just this by focusing on treating and rehabilitating animal abusers. Many of these animal abusers are young adults who have grown up in violent households. While animal abusers should be punished, our criminal justice system should also address psychological factors so we can truly prevent animal abusers from re-offending.
Alley Cat Rescue saw the cost of animal cruelty firsthand earlier this year when we rescued Hardy, an innocent kitten who had been tortured and mutilated over a course of weeks. Thankfully Hardy survived, but many animals die at the hands of animal abusers.
Call your state representative and ask them to co-sponsor and vote for SB 1024. If you do not live in California, call your state representatives and tell them animal cruelty is an important issue you care about.
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Currie, C. L. (2006). Animal cruelty by children exposed to domestic violence. Child Abuse & Neglect, 30(4), 425–435.
Becker, K.D., Herrera, V.M., McCloskey, L.A. & Stuewig, J. (2004). A Study of Firesetting and Animal Cruelty in Children: Family Influences and Adolescent Outcomes, Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 43(7).
Alley Cat Rescue is leading in the way in promoting humane and compassionate care for ALL cats.