Thu, 05/28/2009 2:00 PM | Reader's Forum
In the dark, the street cat that gently brushed against my leg looked like he was wearing a flashy red collar. When I looked closer though, I realized that the perfect red circle around its neck was a deep hideous gash that went down through all the layers of his muscles.
The residents in my area had presumed someone tried to strangle the cat with a wire noose, but the cause was a simple elastic band that someone placed around his neck. The elastic was no longer visible - it was so deeply embedded in the cat's flesh only the vets who performed the surgery to remove it were able to detect it. Left in place, an elastic band continues to constrict, severing the flesh and the throat. The vets who saved this cat estimated the elastic had been on for less than 10 days. This cat was lucky: Seven years ago, I had found another cat in a different area of Jakarta in worse condition, but the vets were baffled as to the cause of the injury and euthanized him.
A friend has also found a street cat with an elastic band around its throat in another area of town, but that feline was in such agony it had to be trapped in order for it to be brought in for surgery. Several years ago, two women paid the vet bill to have multiple elastic bands dug out of a stray dog's snout.
One of the children in my area said her parents' workman had placed the elastic on the cat, but the adults say it was a child. Straight answers are hard to come by, however, it's important to ask questions.
Acts of cruelty toward animals are proven to be symptoms of a deep mental disturbance within the perpetrator. It is not a case of the abuser being frustrated in life or having a personality flaw. Not only that, research in psychology and criminology shows that people who commit acts of cruelty toward animals will move on to fellow humans. A police study in Australia revealed that 100 percent of sexual homicide offenders that were examined had a history of animal cruelty.
In addition, as animal abusers target the powerless, authorities often see links between the abuse of companion animals and that of children, spouses and the elderly in the home.
Given the fact that animal abusers are those who often commit other forms of violence in our community, we would be endangering others if we were to ignore their acts of cruelty to animals.
In order to make our communities safer for both those with two legs and those with four legs, we need to send a strong message that violence to any living creature will not be tolerated.
Children need to be taught that creatures who cannot speak for themselves deserve our compassion just as much as fellow humans.
In the end, there is simply no excuse for animal abuse.