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Beaten Dog Inspires Domestic-Violence Law

Written by PETA | December 9, 2010
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A dog who was beaten so severely that he now has to wear special goggles to shield his eyes from sunlight has inspired a proposed law in Florida that would make it a domestic-violence offense to torment a family member by physically abusing or threatening to harm or kill an animal.

The dog, “Little Horatio” (an alias used to protect the identity of those involved), once belonged to an 81-year-old woman whose son bludgeoned the dog in order to manipulate his mother. Thankfully, Little Horatio and his former guardian are both safe now—in fact, Little Horatio lives with Kathy Cornwell, a victim advocate for the Area Agency on Aging of Pinellas-Pasco, who urged Florida state Sen. Mike Fasano to file the proposed law.

The abusive scenario in which Little Horatio and his former guardian were trapped is not uncommon. Tampa Bay Online references a report showing that 71 percent of women who own animals and who enter shelters for abused women say that their abusers had harmed, killed, or threatened their animals. Studies have shown that up to 40 percent of victimized women have delayed seeking refuge from their abusers for as long as two months because of concerns for their animal companions’ safety.

For all victims of domestic violence, let’s keep our fingers, toes, and paws crossed that this law passes. If you live in Florida, please contact your local legislators and ask them to support the proposed law.

Written by Lindsay Pollard-Post

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  • lexa90 says:

    i honestly hope animal cruelty ends soon, people think “oh its just a mangy animal, so what”… well that mangy animal feels,sees, and suffers when being tourtured… ps:<33 my rescued dogs!

  • Tasha says:

    OMG! Poor dog! I have 3 and I HATE to hear stories like this!!!

  • Ashley says:

    It is about darn time! Animal cruelty is so sadly overlooked, this punishments for this offense are no where near enough. This bill is a great step. Animal abuse should have the exact same punishment as domestic abuse. This story made me cry, along with all the other terrible stories out there, its good to see actions beginning to be taken.

  • Marcia says:

    This case really shows what disgusting bullies these people are–beating up family, partners, even animals who cannot fight back. Their punishment is never severe enough. I cannot advocate violence for anyone else, but I hope under those conditions I would put a stop to the bully somehow.

  • Toby says:

    Unless the people understand the degree to which dogs & other non-human animals are conscious the kind of abuse mentioned is likely to continue; I used to eat meat with the impression that the animals were ‘only’ as conscious as human fetuses… I didn’t know & I know that most people don’t know. Consciousness should be respected; consciousness is the single reason goodness matters at all. Let’s spread the word shall we?

  • Brianna says:

    This law needs t be passed in my state as well. My pets were a major reason that I was afraid to leave a bad home situation…

  • Patty says:

    There should have been a law in place long ago for the safety of our pets. There are many sick people out there that hurt pets to get at the ones that love them. It is all about control and to hurt someone’s pet to gain control is wrong.

  • Gala says:

    What a horrific story. Hopefully the dog goes to a nicer home than the previous one. Someone should do a psych evaluation on the guy who did this, because we all know that violence against animals leads to escalated violence on people. The bill that has been proposed should go nationwide, maybe even worldwide, to send a message to would be abusers.

  • A. says:

    I know that when I was at the court house for a domestic violence incident, protective services asked several times if my significant other harmed/hurt/abused any of my pets. Luckily, that hadn’t happened in my case…but given the above statistic, I now see why she asked.

  • Cybersleuth says:

    This proposed law is long overdue. Violence to animals is inexcusable and studies have shown that young boys who have abused animals as children, have often lead to bullying and antisocial, deviant behaviors throughout their lives. This unfeeling and power/control hungry guys have reverted to child and spousal abuse as a way to control and manipulate their victims. I am totally for a bill such as this. Would a petition be the way to go if legislators turn a deaf ear?

  • AndreaD says:

    This story made my stomach turn. If someone ever threatened to hurt my girls (2 rescued cats) I think I’d lose control… but if I’m 81 and not capable of defending my family… what a horrific thought.

  • Aneliese says:

    Can’t believe what it takes for people to begin to give a damn and think “Oh, maybe this should stop”.

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