Animal Cruelty Acts May Be at Record High

Acts of human violence often start with cruelty to animals. The path to increasing acts of violence is well documented.

I was talking with Barbara Walker from the Clearwater Audubon Society  about the recent osprey shooting in Palm Harbor.

Audubon has offered a $775 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person(s) who shot and killed this federally protected bird. 

SPCA Tampa Bay assisted with an egret killing several weeks ago. The man who allegedly committed the crime said the bird was going after his kitten, and he strangled it.

The other night an alligator was found dead. Its tail was chopped off, its mouth was taped and its head split open. Florida Fish and Game arrested the suspect with an assist from an SPCA Tampa Bay humane officer.

The same SPCA officer went with the Sherriff’s Office and Treasure Island police two weeks ago to recover the body of a Pit Bull found tied to a cement block a mile offshore. Thanks to a grant from the ASPCA in New York, there is a $500 reward for information on that case. Call 727-586-3591, ext. 135.

There are a number of other animal cruelty and abuse cases under investigation in the greater Tampa Bay area, ranging from hoarding to abandonment and worse. And then there is the ongoing surveillances of addresses that are suspected to be involved with dog fighting.

When an animal has been killed in a deliberate act of cruelty the suspect is charged with a felony. When the animals can be saved, the charges are less severe.

Misdemeanors with fines, jail time and community service hours. I wish we could catch everyone who, whether out of frustration at a life situation or for any other reason, attacks a helpless creature.

It's ironic that "Be Kind to Animals Week" started Sunday, May 6. In the last month the number of senseless and brutal acts of animal cruelty in our area may have set a new record.

This week is intended as a celebration of the human-animal bond, a show of respect for all living creatures. That includes our own species.

Mankind is, in fact, part of the animal world. Acts of human violence often start with cruelty to animals. The path to increasing acts of violence is well documented. We can all start by reporting suspected cases of abuse, whether the victim has four legs or two.

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Lynda May 10, 2012 at 03:37 AM
Thanks, Nora, for reminding us all that cruelty to living creatures is a real crime with real penalties even if the living creature is an alligator. The humane officers are true heroes in the work they do. They certainly can use public support in reporting abuse and especially in stopping group crimes such as dog fighting.
SPCA Tampa Bay May 10, 2012 at 10:44 AM
Hi Lynda, Couldn't agree more. What was hopeful about the Treasure Island case is the level of cooperation between the different law enforcement agencies. Several different cable/TV stations ran the stories too. I heard from Josh Rojas at BayNews9 in a follow-up on the alligator. The channel ran our humane officer's photo and did a story brief on Monday night. Josh Thomas with NewsChannel 8 went to Treasure Island to interview the police officer who went out to retrieve the dog. Patch.com also covered the various stories.
Joe VonWaldner May 21, 2013 at 01:00 PM
This is always very sad when you hear of an individual harming an animal. As a bail bondsman I do see this and it does bother me. I cannot understand why somebody would hurt an innocent animal. We have worked with clients who have been put in jail for animal cruelty. We have helped their family bond them out of jail. As a Clearwater Florida bailbondsman often crimes of this nature can be related to other forms of abuse possibly domestic violence. It's hard to see and know this goes on. My sympathies to those pet owners whose animals have been victim to abuse...very sad.


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