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Animal Cruelty

by Barry KuKes

Last week, there was a story about a young raccoon that was in-tentionally mutilated in Volusia County. Someone had cut off the raccoons’ tail and ears with an instrument described as crude and unconventional. The raccoon was humanely euthanized at a local animal hospital. Anyone with information can contact Crime Stoppers at 1.888.277 .TIPS(8477). All tipsters remain anonymous, and if your information leads to an arrest, you may be eligible for a reward of up to $5,000.

There was another story about a dog that was attacked with a machete. The person was apprehended and has been charged with an animal cruelty felony for attacking the dog. He is also charged for lying to the police when he claimed he was defending himself from the dog. Video camera footage later showed that the dog was running away from the man, not attacking him.

In Florida, it is a crime to abuse or cruelly kill an animal or confine an animal without sufficient food, water, or exercise. Florida’s cruelty to animals statutes (Chapter 828) applies to all animals, not only dogs and cats.
What is wrong with people? I almost ended that sentence with these days, but there has always been a human element that is cruel, evil, uncaring, and downright mean not only to animals but to other human beings. Our prisons are filled with many people who have intentionally hurt other living creatures, albeit animals or people, but I digress.

If you know of an individual who mistreats animals, you should report the person to the authorities, regardless of age. Some kids start tormenting animals and then, as they age, evolve into murderers. Some are bullies, while others are reticent and reserved. Actions speak louder than words, so be alert and observant. Getting a younger person the help they need could prevent them from following a path of destruction.

What is considered animal cruelty? Pretty much anything that intentionally hurts or cruelly kills an animal. Euthanizing an animal that is suffering is not cruel; it’s humane. To see the actual statutes visit https://www.flse
Livestock raised and processed with the intention of food consumption does not fall under the cruelty laws. According to the Animal Welfare Institute, no single federal law expressly governs the treatment of animals used for food while on farms in the United States. In fact, these animals do not have legal protections until they are transported off the farm. Even then, poultry, which accounts for 98 percent of animals raised for food, does not fall under the protection of the few federal laws that apply to livestock.

As a Humane Society, we receive e-mails from the public urging us not to serve livestock by-products at our fundraising or internal events. Although we are huge supporters of the Impossible Burger and Beyond Meat products now available, we do not restrict our employees, volunteers, supporters, or donors from consuming the foods they desire. We as an organization will strive to refrain from offering livestock meats at our events, but we will continue to offer foods that come from animals such as eggs, butter, milk, etc. We support all individuals who practice a vegan lifestyle, but we do not feel it is our place to enforce said lifestyle.

Help put an end to animal cruelty by being diligent and observant in your community. I always end my column with, adopt, don’t shop, but this week, I would like to add, prevent animal cruelty, and make a difference.

Barry KuKes is the Community Outreach Director for the Halifax Humane Society. You can reach Barry at 386.274.4703, ext. 320, or