LETTER: Animal rights laws needed
A recent letter to the editors emphasized the importance of the Charlie’s Angels Rescue organization as taking the point in the successful effort to close an area puppy mill.
We all sometimes forget the valiant efforts of the small, poorly funded animal rescue groups around Aiken County which complement the splendid work of the larger, better-funded area organizations, such as the Aiken SPCA, and, more recently, FOTAS.
Now, Charlie leads a fight to make to animal cruelty a felony. It already is in many other states, where, typically, those convicted of causing or participating in the reckless or intentional infliction of abuse, suffering or death of animals, or one who subjects them to cruel neglect, abandonment, or protracted suffering without adequate medical attention or other outside intervention, is guilty of a felony, with up to one year imprisonment and a $150,000 criminal fine.
We’re sure Charlie understands that her great proactive effort may subject her to abuse by the usual cranks that come out of the woodwork on these issues, and also that big outside monied interests will descend upon South Carolina to defeat, or render impotent, any nascent legislation that is introduced to curb the rampant animal cruelty which exists all around us.
The firm support of state and national animal protection organizations, lots of money, and some of the state’s top legal talent will be necessary to push through a meaningful anti-cruelty felony law.
But, it’s been accomplished in many other states, including a state, Arizona, which on the surface might appear like a tough nut to crack. We lived there for many years, including 1999, when their tough animal anti-cruelty felony legislation became law. And, we know first-hand that the prospect of felony consequences seems to wonderfully focus the mind of many potential animal cruelty perps, who would be facing the potential of spending some real time in today’s jails and prisons.
So, let’s all support Charlie and all others in the coming struggle to get this legislation passed in South Carolina.