Crimes against animals are just as serious as crimes against people

A very disturbing incident took place in Ponoka over the weekend. A dead cat was found hanging from a light post in downtown Ponoka. The cat had strands of wiring wrapped around its neck and it is suspected that it was done sometime early Saturday morning.

A very disturbing incident took place in Ponoka over the weekend. A dead cat was found hanging from a light post in downtown Ponoka. The cat had strands of wiring wrapped around its neck and it is suspected that it was done sometime early Saturday morning.

This is a cruel and sick event that is disgraceful.

A cat or dog is a member of the family. Each night when I come home from work I look forward to seeing Ty, a big German Shepherd slowing making his way to me wagging his tail with a smile in his eyes. Beside Ty, is Buddy a small white and black dog who runs circles around Ty and is always just as happy to see me. Once inside, as I climb up the stairs Shadow the cat sits waiting for me. Petting his soft black fur will surly be received with a soft purr and a look of satisfaction. Pets are very important to so many people, they comfort you, they sense when you are sick and are always there for you to talk to because they are great listeners. Why someone would willingly choose to hurt a harmless and defenseless animal is beyond me and incomprehensive.

Other cases

Unfortunately, this is not the first case of animal abuse like this in Alberta. On Dec. 13, 2007 in Camrose, a cat was found dead in a microwave. Four teenagers have now been charged after they broke into an empty house while the residents were away.

In 2006 in Didsbury, a dog named Daisy Duke was beaten and dragged from the rear of a vehicle until near death. A teen pleaded guilty to animal cruelty and received a conditional sentence, another youth will be sentenced next month.

These are just a few cases of incidents in Central Alberta. They should never happen to innocent pets.

Reaction

There will be sadness and outrage in our community as to why someone would do this. Was it a prank gone too far? Was it a dare? Peer pressure to fit in? Were they intoxicated? Whatever the excuse it should have never happened. As a community we need to come together and educate the youth that violence like this should not happen; prevention needs to start with parents and elders. I caution parents to watch out for different media outlets who are choosing to run the picture of the deceased cat hanging from the post. You will not see that photo in the Ponoka News. This is a family community and we will get through this tragic event by moving forward and not looking back.

Next step

As news broke of the incident in Ponoka it turned out it was on the same day that there was a rally outside of the Calgary Zoo against Bill S-203, which is a proposed animal rights bill to be voted on in the House of Commons sometime in the next week. Calgary was one of seven cities who hosted rallies. Those against the bill said that it is not enough and more has to be done. If passed it would increase penalties for animal abuse offences to a maximum fine of $10,000 and five years in prison, up from $2,000 and six months in prison.

However, when new legislation is proposed to handle violence against animals it must not be taken too far. Rodeo events should not fall under this new legislation, it is a sport and the animals involved are treated very well. It is a historic part of the western culture and the livelihood for some cowboys.

To discuss this further and for tougher penalties for people who abuse animals contact your local MP.

If you know who committed any crimes in Ponoka, be brave and contact the police and help make our community safe. With the support and help of the community hopefully something like this will not ever happen again.