Friday, February 11, 2011

Animal Cruelty - You Can Make a Difference

Friends, I am saddened that my first post, after being away for so long, is so disturbing. Some of you may know of the nursing mother, Mittens, who was intentionally burned by her owner's 17 year old grandson and his friend, here in Baltimore.

Both Former Commander and PetDiva let me know about efforts to assure that this crime is fully prosecuted. I take no joy in recommending that 17 year olds be tried as adults. This, however, is a horribly cruel and deliberate crime and a clear message needs to be sent that animal cruelty, especially by those old enough to understand the consequences of their actions, will not be tolerated.

I think it is important that our officials hear from us - especially those of us who live in MD. Folks with political connections tell us calm, thoughtful and concerned is the most effective tone for letters and suggest we keep them brief, on this topic alone, and polite. Our objective is to have this crime prosecuted. The petition site has a copy of the letter that is being sent in that effort, and don't discount how effective a flood of snail mail can be! Please consider doing both the petition and snail mail, if you've got time.

After much debate, I have decided to publish pictures of Mittens at the end of this post. It is quite disturbing so, if you would prefer not to see them, I've left scroll space after this article, so you may read everything without viewing them. There are three news links - please be aware that Mittens is pictured in all of the videos embedded in the stories and Mitten's picture (albeit one of the least disturbing) is on the petition site.

Fortunately, it appears as though Mittens will recover! She is nursing and eating and the video of her with her kittens is quite life affirming. If you would also like to help toward Mitten's recovery costs, BARCS is accepting donations to their "Franky Fund" which helps severely injured animals.

The piece FC sent follows:

On January 8, 2011, a witness told police that her grandson and his friend, both 17-year-old males, took the family cat out onto the back porch, covered her with a milk crate then doused her with lighter fluid and intentionally set her on fire. The cat, Mittens, suffered 3rd degree burns and is now being cared for at Baltimore Animal Rescue and Care Shelter along with her three young kittens.

Here are three news articles detailing the case:

http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/maryland/baltimore-city/bs-md-burned-cat-follow-20110131,0,5110620.story?track=rss

http://baltimore.cbslocal.com/2011/01/31/cat-set-on-fire-in-baltimore-city/

http://www.wbaltv.com/r/26668505/detail.html

According to Maryland Code § 10-606 this sounds like a clear-cut case of “aggravated cruelty to animals” yet these young adults are being charged as juveniles. Animal abuse is a felony crime and should be taken seriously. With extreme cases of animal cruelty on the rise in Baltimore, it’s time to send a clear message these crimes will not be tolerated and perpetrators, even if teenagers, will be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.

What You Can Do

1. Please sign the petition to have these suspects charged as adults at http://www.change.org/petitions/17-year-olds-should-be-charged-as-adults-for-setting-cat-on-fire

Note: You can delete your address from your “profile” after you sign the petition, but it must be present for the signature to be valid.

2. Send a brief and polite letter or email to Gregg Bernstein, State's Attorney for Baltimore City, asking him to prosecute those who abuse, torture or kill animals to the fullest extent of the law, specifically the teenage perpetrators who intentionally set the cat “Mittens” on fire.

Gregg Bernstein

Office of the State's Attorney for Baltimore City

208 Mitchell Courthouse

110 North Calvert Street

Baltimore, Maryland 21202

Email: gbernstein@stattorney.org

3. Send a brief and polite letter or email to Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake asking her to support police and animal control investigations and enforcement against those who perpetrate felony animal abuse crimes as in the case of the cat “Mittens.”

Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake

City Hall, Room 250

100 N. Holliday Street

Baltimore, Maryland 21202

Email: mayor@baltimorecity.gov

4. Send a brief and polite letter or email to Baltimore City Police Commissioner Frederick Bealefeld asking him to handle incidents of animal cruelty as seriously as other violent felony crimes. Police spokespersons indicated they already know that animal cruelty is an indicator of violent crimes against people.

Commissioner Frederick Bealefeld

Baltimore Police Department

c/o 242 W. 29th St.

Baltimore, MD 21211-2908

Email: frederick.bealefeld@baltimorepolice.org

5. Send a brief and polite letter to Major Johnny Delgado, Commander Northwestern District Police asking him to handle reports of animal cruelty as seriously as other violent felony crimes and as such to fully investigate these crimes.

Major Johnny Delgado, Commander

Northwestern District Police Station

c/o 242 W. 29th St.

Baltimore, MD 21211-2908


Disturbing pictures follow. Please stop reading now if you would prefer not to see them.

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Thank you again for considering helping with this petition and letter writing campaign! It's not just for Mittens. Your participation can help in the effort to set a standard of zero tolerance for animal cruelty.

Lisa

26 comments:

  1. Poor sweet baby. No, I had not heard, but it's disgusting. I am a kind kitty so I kindly hope that young man rots in...oops, sorry. I'll just leave him a hiss & a blow!

    It is nice to see you back, missed you!

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  2. That is so very disturbing. But I'm happy to see that she is still taking good care of her babies, and that she hasn't started to fear all humans. Those thugs need to be locked up.

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  3. Thank you Lisa, you were far more eloquent than I. Coming on the heels of the Phoenix mistrial (Marylanders and others will know), letting the City Government know that animal lovers and respecters are watching can make a huge contribution to turning attitudes around. Thank you again Hubble Space Paws for helping us spread the word. Please everyone, sign the Petition if you find it in your heart to do so. Thank you. FormerCommander aka Judy aka Frankie's Mom

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  4. Lisa,

    First of all, thank you for having the courage to post this. I will be writing.

    Is there a site that we can donate to for treatment costs ?

    You know me...I will raise the banner.

    LETS ROCK THIS !


    hUGS

    ap/j

    ReplyDelete
  5. I am sad to see that this occurs. We actually had a similar thing happen to three different dogs (in a 13 month period) down here in Greensboro, NC. It is heart breaking to know that there are people out there with so little regard for innocent lives.

    Some good did come out of the situation, all three of the animals survive and because of one of the incidents in particular animal cruelty legislation was passed within the state that make the penalty more severe (unfortunately in my opinion the legislation in NC concerning animals is still unsatisfactory but any improvement is better than none). I hope that a similar change can occur in MD as well.

    Thank you for posting this as it is something that people should be aware of. I will be sending healing thoughts in Mittens' direction as she travels down the road to recovery.

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  6. Oh, this is so heart wrenching. I am glad to see that Mittens is nursing her babies though. Thank you for posting this and for being so considerate in how you presented the photos.

    Hugs,
    Marlene

    ReplyDelete
  7. That is an awful, awful crime, and 17 years old is certainly old enough to be tried as an adult. My human says she did a lot of silly things when she was that age, but she definitely knew right from wrong, and what cruelty meant. Doing that to any cat, but especially a nursing mother, is just evil and should not be tolerated!

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  8. :-(

    Poor Mittens. I think her pics here should be shown as widely as possible. These are pictures of survival and courage and say a million words about the depths of human cruelty to defenceless animals.

    Thanks for the links. I wish Mittens and her babies a long and safe and happy life after this trauma. Take care
    x

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  9. I just finished emailing each person listed. It may not be much - but I hope it can help. Thank you for getting the word out!

    ReplyDelete
  10. Hi again,

    Donations may be made to the Franky Fund of the Baltimore Animal Rescue and Care Shelter (BARCS) where Mittens and her kittens are being cared for. The URL is http://www.baltimoreanimalshelter.org/donating/franky_fund.php. The shelter accepts PayPal.

    Thanks again for caring.
    Frankie and Judy

    ReplyDelete
  11. Thank you for the info on Franky's fund..I just posted the link on my blog and made a donation.

    Blesses Be.

    AP/J

    ReplyDelete
  12. Very sad, especially (as someone else noted) after the Phoenix mistrial. I've a few friends who are HLE officers in DC and what they see on a regular basis would destroy me. Thanks for including the link to donate for her care.

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  13. Thank you, Lisa, for letting us know about this sad situation. Emails and donation sent, but I still feel so helpless in the face of this. Bethany is right. In my work I hear of so many horrific cases of animal cruelty. Studies have shown that those who carry out such acts go on to become abusive partners, parents...or worse.
    Prayers out for dear Mittens for a fast recovery and to her and her kittens for long and healthy lives.

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  14. Seeing the images above is not so good. Animal cruelty is such a not human act. this should be stopped.

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  15. Poor, poor sweetie ... so glad she is making good progress toward recovering, and that her babies are okay.

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  16. And I'm glad to see that you're back!

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  17. Such a horrible crime. Lisa - thank you for making an effort to bring about prosecution of those who committed this crime. I'm going to share your post on my FB page. Many friend in Maryland.

    We were all stunned by the Phoenix mistrial. Perhaps this trial will be more successful. Even more hopeful, perhaps this will lead to a strengthening of the anti-cruelty laws and penalties in Maryland as similar crimes have done here in NC and elsewhere around the country.

    Are any national anti-cruelty organizations like the ASPCA aware of this crime? I know they are involved with the follow-up to the Phoenix mess. Wonder if they would help bring the appropriate pressure to bear for Mittens?

    Good luck Maryland! Please let us all know what happens next.

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  18. Oh goodness, this is awful...I had not heard about this case, and I wish I could say that I can't believe people would do things like this...but unfortunately in rescue work, we see cases of animal cruelty way too often...kids who are so cruel to animals generally end up committing even worst crimes later in life...hope these two are prosecuted to the full extent of the law...thank you for posting the photos...I will forward this to my rescue group and see how we can help.

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  19. I read your post but could not bring myself to look at the photos. It is sad & sickening. I agree with prosecution, but I think counseling & intervention is necessary, too. Many, many, many times, kids who are cruel to animals have themselves been victims of horrible cruelty. Like the previous poster said, they often go on to more horrific crimes as adults. I am not justifying such violence; I believe in healing & understanding. I send love & light to Muffin, her babies, & to the souls of those who perpetrated this act, that they may all find healing and better days.

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  20. Oh, Lisa. This is horrifying. I'm so glad Mittens survived. I hope her recovery continues along without complications.

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  21. Petition is signed! Poor kitty! :( I hope someone gives her a good home after this!!!

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  22. It is hard to understand why this same crime/cruelty is happening to animals across the country. And so often by juveniles. What is fun about torturing any living creature? We hope this crime will be punished severely.

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