Animal Abuse: Awareness Is Best Defense

Some people will never learn.

Recently, a female chihuahua named Tinkerbell was abandoned alongside Southwestern Drive, zipped inside a thermal bag. Police have found the dog’s owner, who said an “ex-friend” had temporary custody of Tinkerbell. Unfortunately, it was Tinkerbell who was made to suffer when the human’s relationship turned sour. Tinkerbell’s story will likely have a happy ending, according to Ray Muniz, Chautauqua County Humane Society cruelty investigator, who said she “has her spunk back.” Tinkerbell could be returned to her owner, pending the results of an ongoing investigation, or adopted to a new loving family.

Yes, her story is likely to end well. That isn’t always the case. While most people also consider such actions reprehensible and would never in a million years do such harm to animals, Muniz rightly points out, “sometimes, people look at animals and see them as disposable.”

Those people don’t care about potential punishment – something New York state has done correctly. New York has two charges as part of the state Agricultural and Markets Law. Cruelty to animals is punishable by a fine up to $1,000 and a year in jail while aggravated cruelty to animals is a felony punishable with a fine up to $5,000 and up to five years imprisonment.

Public awareness is likely the best weapon against animal abuse. The public often only hears of animal cruelty cases in extreme situations, but Tinkerbell’s case surely provides proof animal cruelty happens in our area and serves as just the most recent reminder that society should be vigilant to be sure our four-legged friends aren’t being abused.

To report possible animal abuse, call the Chautauqua County Humane Society at 665-4214.