Animals Have Feelings Too

Young Bloggers  /   /  By Oishee Sinharay
Stone Soup Magazine
May 2019

You crouch at your owner’s feet, the wonderfully pungent, slightly bitter scent of coffee washing your mouth every time you open it. You long for when you can taste the drink.  Suddenly, your owner puts the cup down on the small table next to the porch swing. Excitement crashes down on top of you, and you jump to your feet with an enthusiastic bark. Rearing up on your hind legs, you shove the cup of coffee with your nose.

With a crash, the cup falls from the table, shattering into pieces on the ground.

The scream your owner emits is unbearably high. Ears ringing, you drop back down onto all fours. You can tell that your owner isn’t happy. Your tail drops to between your legs, and you back away, shaking your head. But before you can run, you feel your owner’s iron grip on your hind legs. Your stomach lurches as she lifts you, and you writhe and struggle in the air.  Then suddenly the porch is whirling around you, and the ground is getting closer and closer…

Wham! Pain explodes across your side, and you go limp. Black spots dance at the edge of your vision, beckoning you into darkness. But your owner isn’t done yet.  She grabs you again, and hurls you across the porch, towards the door. CRASH!! You slam helplessly into the wall, and as you slide to the ground, your world is swallowed by blackness.

Right now, you’re probably asking yourself, WHY?!?! Why does this have to happen?! Well, it doesn’t. If animal abuse was only considered a violent crime, maybe that heartless owner would never have thrown that dog across the porch. Maybe she would never have given that dog serious-car-crash- style injuries. When people abuse animals, they don’t realize that animal abuse is related to other forms of abuse, or that animals are living things.  The only thing that comes to mind is:  Oh, the punishment is so mild, I can get away with it.  This is why animal abuse needs to be considered a violent crime.

You have no idea how close animal abuse is to abusing humans. Humans technically are animals, after all. Almost all of the places where human abuse is present, so is animal abuse. For example, studies show that 88% of places where child abuse is documented, so is animal abuse. Another, more recent study reveals that just about 83%  of women entering domestic abuse shelters claim that the people who abuse them also have been abusing the family pet. Do the math, and you get this: the unreluctant human abuser is 5 times more likely to abuse animals than a non-abuser. What would happen if all the animals in the world suddenly turned on us? We would suddenly become the subject of almost all the abuse in the world, and we would know exactly how undoubtedly horrible the animals feel. If you think, and use your imagination, you might think that animals are better than us. After all, they don’t go around abusing other animals, do they? But even if they don’t, we assume that animal abuse is nothing like human abuse, even though it is. This is why we need to change animal abuse to a violent crime!

When people abuse animals, they often forget that animals, no matter what kind, are living, thinking, beings. One video explained how some zoo owners went as far as forcing elephants to do things underwater like standing on their head, doing flips of all kinds, and dancing, all against their nature, like the elephants were just toys to force to do tricks. If they forced the elephants to stay underwater for too long, they would have drowned! That is clearly a violent crime already, without classification. As all pet owners know, animals are highly capable of learning, thinking and acting independently. If you own a pet, there’s something you should know. All pets, over time and with the right treatment, can be the most loyal, most loving companion ever. And, under law, animals are still considered property. Who here thinks animals are no better or closer to being human than a table, chair, lamp, etc.?  Well, they are, and if you think so too, you’re unquestionably right. All animals can be harmed both physically and psychologically by the same types of abuse as humans, whereas is you whip, beat, kick, throw, or do anything to a table or chair that would hurt you or an animal, the object wouldn’t react except for maybe getting wrecked by the force of the “abuse.” On the other hand, an animal would be terribly hurt, because it’s a living thing.

Animal abuse should be documented as a violent crime because, as of now, its punishment is very low-level. For example, a NJ woman who starved her dog, stuffed him into a trash bag, and threw the full bag into the garbage disposal to rot, only received a $2,000 fine and 18 months of probation. Another example is a dairy farm in Idaho, where the people owning the cows kicked, beat, and even stomped on their dairy cows. And guess what? All they owed was $500. Now, imagine that you were that dog, or those cows. When you were finally free, wouldn’t you want a very serious punishment to be placed on the shoulders of your abuser? You obviously would, but then your abuser is punished with practically nothing! Then they can go right back to abusing you, because now they know how low the punishment will be. That would be unquestionably horrible. A violent crime is a type of crime in which the punishments are much higher. It would definitely be easier to manage if animal abuse was just changed to a violent crime. That is why the level of punishment for animal abuse should be raised.

As much as animal abuse should be considered a violent crime, there are some valid points against it. For example, one of the strongest arguments would be: “Instead of changing animal abuse into a violent crime, why not just make committers pay more money?” That is a strong point, but raising the price they have to pay is pretty much just changing it into a violent crime. A violent crime, as said before, is a crime with especially high punishment. There is no point in raising the punishment level if changing animal abuse to a violent crime is on the other end of the line; it’s pretty much the same thing. That is one of the many reasons why animal abuse should be rewritten as a violent crime.

You crouch at your owner’s feet, the deliciously tempting, bittersweet scent of coffee filling your nose when you sniff. You wish you could taste the drink. Then, to your surprise, your owner puts the cup down on the small table next to the porch swing. You jump to your feet with an enthusiastic bark. Rearing up on your hind legs, you shove the cup of coffee with your nose.

With a crash, the cup falls from the table, shattering into pieces on the ground.

Horror washes over you, but your owner doesn’t do what you expected her to do. Something inside you has a dim, blurry memory of being thrown, of losing your consciousness as you slip to the ground. And yet, though you did the same thing, your owner only gives you an amused smile. “Oh well,” she sighs. “I guess I need to make another cup of coffee, don’t I, you silly boy?”  You couldn’t be more surprised by this reaction. You smile up at her (though she doesn’t see it, because you’re a dog and she’s a human) and give an agreeable bark.  Your owner quickly sweeps up the pieces of shattered ceramic, leaving you to lick at the now coffee-soaked pavement. When she comes back, she has more coffee. And though you’re not suffering from car-crash-style injuries, you can sense that she doesn’t want you touching her coffee.

Wouldn’t that be such an amazing alternative to what really happened? Most would agree. Maybe, if people realized that animal abuse is connected to human abuse, that animals are perfectly capable of thinking and feeling, that punishments should be raised, those two terrible words – animal abuse – would be spoken with sympathy, with fear, everywhere. If we want this to happen, animal abuse needs to be changed to a violent crime.

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