You may have seen the recent news regarding two high school students from Grosse Isle High School facing felony animal cruelty charges for slitting the throat of, and then beating a guinea pig with a bat.
In response to the charges, Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy stated that, “The alleged facts in this case illustrate much more than a youthful prank or a pre-game antic. We must take these cases seriously.”
We walk the line of not wanting the lives of two young men to be ruined permanently because of “one mistake.” It was clearly a horrible mistake, and whether poor judgment or intentional malice, one that we all need to take seriously. The suffering put upon this animal was inexcusable, and there is an unquestionable correlation between animal cruelty and human violence. It cannot be ignored.
What can we take away from this incredibly horrific act?
There is much work to be done. We know that we need to instill compassion for all living creatures – to a level that the thought of torturing an animal for any purpose is unthinkable. We all share the responsibility to speak out against animal cruelty and neglect. We all must be their voice. Humane education and teaching empathy for the animals we share our lives with has been a focal point of the Michigan Humane Society for decades. As we look toward the future, it is critical that these programs become even more robust and impactful.
We must also continue to build upon a basic understanding among law enforcement and government officials of the correlation between animal cruelty and human violence. Prosecutor Worthy’s comments are spot-on. Unfortunately, that level of understanding is not as widespread as we would all want it to be. This is not by intent or ignorance. Law enforcement is overwhelmed with their responsibilities under normal circumstances and, given the current climate in America, it is understandable that they could see these issues as less important.
In reality, animal cruelty is linked to serious violent behavior in our communities, and is a clear indicator of other criminal activity. Whether two-legged or four, victims are victims, and violence is violence. In response to this need, MHS provides a professional training to law enforcement that has been approved by the Michigan Commission on Law Enforcement.
MHS sincerely hopes that this incredibly heartbreaking incident acts as a catalyst to change. We know that it happened – now, as a community, it is our collective responsibility to stop it from happening again. Regardless of whether animal welfare is an issue close to your heart, individuals who intentionally cause the suffering of any living creature pose a threat to your safety and to your quality of life.
– Matthew Pepper, President and CEO