Julian Omidi discusses PAWS, the Massachusetts bill that will create a statewide animal abuser registry and discusses the grave need for lawmakers to take the threat of animal abusers seriously.
In October of 2013, a Massachusetts man was arrested for torturing, starving and beating a pit bull puppy. The man, Radoslaw Czerkawski, was ultimately found to be a drifter with a long string of cons and larcenies to his credit. When he was arrested, he was found to have been the caretaker of a 95-year old woman, from whom he had stolen more than $100,000. Czerkawski has been charged with 12 counts of animal cruelty, and the puppy has since been euthanized due to the extent of the injuries.
It was just this type of extreme example of animal sadism that prompted Massachusetts lawmakers to push for a bill requiring the state-wide registration of animal abusers. The PAWS bill would increase jail time for heinous animal abusers, create a registry and open up an anonymous hotline where people can report incidences of animal abuse. Since the widely publicized arrest of Czerkawski, numerous new cases of animal abuse have surfaced, including one involving a man strangling a dog and then cutting open its stomach.
Hopefully, Massachusetts and its neighboring states will adopt strict animal abuse registration policies and laws, but it isn’t enough for some states to have abuse registries while others do not. An animal abuser can simply travel to the un-regulated neighboring state to acquire animals. Federal registrations are what are needed to truly monitor the animal abusers on an effective scale.
Animal abusers don’t just abuse animals. It has been shown that people who abuse animals are also highly likely to act in violent or abusive ways towards humans. Serial predators often begin their reign of terror on animals, since they are entirely vulnerable and easily controlled. The cruelty and torture then escalates.
In a widely publicized example of animal cruelty turning into violent homicide, a Canadian man, Luka Magnotta, began posting anonymous videos of himself smothering kittens in a vacuum storage bag. Animal welfare advocates contacted local authorities and tried to get them to actively investigate this man, which they did not. The activists spent their own time and resources uncovering his identity and turned it over to the police. Since animal cruelty wasn’t high on their list of criminal priorities, the matter wasn’t aggressively pursued, and Magnotta was able to travel abroad freely. Ultimately, Magnotta murdered one of his neighbors, dismembered him, and then mailed the victim’s remains to elementary schools.
Anyone who abuses animals, either by actively torturing them or neglecting them to the point of grave illness or death, mustn’t be allowed to ever own a pet again. Furthermore, if that abuser is deliberately cruel, he or she must be incarcerated and psychologically evaluated. Not only are animals put at risk when animal abusers are allowed to roam loose, the human population is threatened as well.
 McGovern, Rob: In Puppy Doe’s name: Race to curb animal abuse 6/1/2014 http://bostonherald.com/news_opinion/local_coverage/2014/05/in_puppy_does_name_race_to_curb_animal_abuse