A puppy was starved and frozen to death this past week in the city of Aiken. The emaciated body was found in a wire cage filled with feces, then brought to the SPCA Albrecht Center. We all know that this poor puppy had to have been whining, crying and begging for someone to help it for a long time before it mercifully died. The owner had to have heard it, the neighbors had to have known.
The actions of the owner may fall under the state statute for torture, which is a felony. Let’s hope that the charges brought against the owner by Aiken Public Safety are ultimately under state statute and not just violation of cruelty under city law.
As CEO of the SPCA Albrecht Center, I am quickly informed about the cases that Public Safety brings to us. I feel great sorrow for not only the poor puppy but also our staff who has to see these images and care for survivors of atrocities like these, but also I grieve for those officers that have to deal with it firsthand. I grieve for our society. We have enabled people to become monsters because we do too little to penalize those that callously harm innocent animals.
The judicial system enables because it says “there were extenuating circumstances”. What can those possibly be other than the torturer was deaf, dumb, and blind? And if that description is true because they were under the influence of an illegal substance then throw them in jail and get them off the streets.
There may be circumstances at the time of arrest that prevent scum from being thrown in jail, but afterwards there should be no excuses made for these worthless human beings.
For nearly a year I have been asking the City of Aiken to pass tethering regulations. The answer I keep getting when discussing a draft is that in the poorer neighborhoods the yards are too small to comply with a length of tether requirement. That’s not an excuse for inaction on tethering regulations. At some point …and it is now….we must stop making excuses for people who only have a dog as an ornament, weapon, or possession. Let’s face it; these people have proven that they don’t care about another living thing other than themselves.
There is a saying that goes like this. ‘If you don’t stand up for something, you will fall for anything”. The SPCA Albrecht Center for Animal Welfare does stand for something and we will continue to speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves.
If you witness an animal suffering from abuse or neglect, tethered or not, please don't assume someone else will help. Stand up and take action: Aiken Public Safety/City of Aiken Animal Control: 803-642-7620; Aiken County Animal Control: 803-642-1537.
Barbara Nelson, President/CEO SPCA Albrecht Center for Animal Welfare