Require Psychological Counseling for Animal Abusers in DC

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Animal abuse is prevalent throughout all levels of society. However, acts of prevention and correction of these aggressive actions from the legislative standpoint are limited. Currently, preventing and punishing animal abuse and cruelty are mainly the responsibilities of the individual US states. Although all states recognize the problem of animal cruelty and have respective laws, only twenty-eight of the fifty US states have psychological counseling provisions in their animal cruelty laws. Further, of these twenty-eight states, only four have required counseling for animal cruelty offenses and only six states mandate counseling for juvenile offenders. Like many states, the only required punishments for convicted animal abusers in the District of Columbia is the payment of a fine and/or possible jail time, depending on the severity of the offense. While therapy can be mandated by a judge at trial, it is not required and therefore not often used as a punishment for animal abuse. However, therapy is a method of treatment for this type of violent behavior and could help offer a new solution to this vast problem of animal abuse by going to the root of the problem: violent tendencies. So, our group is advocating for mandatory psychological counseling for those who have been convicted of intentionally abusing animals in DC (and hopefully, throughout the United States eventually).

Not only is animal abuse an injustice itself, but studies demonstrate the close relations between animal abuse and domestic abuse of spouses and children. Often, the abuse of an animal is an early sign of violent tendencies that precedes the abuse of family members later. Therefore, required therapy for animal abuse could also potentially be beneficial in preventing other forms of abuse later by going to the source of the problem (violent tendencies) and working to find a lasting solution, rather than the temporary punishments of fines and jail time.

Therefore, we would like to convince the American government to require mandated therapy as a punishment for the abuse of an animal. Supported by extensive studies, we believe this could be an effective way of going to the source of the problem and stopping abuse early. With this petition, we hope to draw the local DC government’s (and eventually the federal government's) attention to this injustice, as well as to more effective solutions.

Please consider supporting this cause. We believe it offers a better approach to intentional abuse by addressing its cause and hope to see a decrease in suffering among all living beings.



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