As we begin the New Year, I am going to try to bring the most important topics to you first.
Yes, that does mean that next week the column will be about spaying and neutering your pets.
You're probably so tired of reading about it, but just think you may help someone that doesn't fully understand why it is so important.
It also will be an important article with the hopes of helping you with your mission in getting all of your pets altered in the New Year.
The topic of animal abuse is a very tough thing to imagine, or listen to. This is a very important column to help inform you about how you can help if you see inappropriate behavior.
The thing not to do is sit back and watch it happen. You can make a difference for an animal that is being mistreated.
If you are afraid that someone will retaliate against you, call VVHS. I will be the one reporting them and I don't have to give your name. You can reach the shelter at (928) 634-7387.
You can call the Animal Cruelty Hot-Line at (928) 771-3595 and leave an anonymous message. Or call your local law enforcement agency and file a report.
Someone has to do something to help these animals that are helpless. If you witness something, it needs to be reported at once.
You may already know someone who exhibits this type of behavior and it needs to be brought to the attention of the authorities.
Many of you have told us about improper things that you have seen and we did something about it. You can too and can remain anonymous while filing the complaint.
Have you ever observed a child tying tin cans to a dog or cat's tail and then roar with laughter as the animal frantically tries to rid himself of the cans?
Did you laugh with the child and think it was just a cute childhood prank? As much as you wouldn't want to believe something like this, the action is animal abuse.
Animal abuse, animal cruelty, animal neglect, domestic violence, child abuse, child neglect, mass criminal violence, all have a direct link to each other.
Those who commit serial or mass criminal violence often use animals as "rehearsal" tools in their adolescence to work themselves up to the eventual abuse or killing of people.
This link was first established 250 years ago, and it doesn't seem to be changing. We often see cases of neglect and abuse coming into VVHS.
Many serial killers began their careers by torturing or murdering animals. Ted Bundy, executed in 1989 for 50 murders, spent much of his youth torturing animals.
The Boston Strangler, Albert DiSalvo, who killed 13 women in the early 1960s, spent his youth trapping dogs and cats in orange crates and shooting arrows into them. And the infamous Jeffrey Dahmer tortured animals before he turned to young men.
In 1996, Drs. D.S. Hellman and Nathan Blackman published their formal study on the link between human violence and animal abuse.
Their analysis of 84 prison inmates' life histories showed that three fourths of these violent criminals had early records of cruelty to animals.
You may think that this does not in any way pertain to you or your family. Cruelty to animals is usually one of the earliest reported signs of a conduct disorder appearing as early as 6.
It is also one of the better diagnostic indicators of a psychopathic personality. Animal cruelty is associated with increasingly violent behavior and is an indicator of the potential threat of escalating violence, abuse and criminal activity.
Individuals who abuse animals are often the same ones responsible for acts of family violence.
Case studies and statistics tell us that when animals are at risk of violence, children and women are also at risk.
Remember there is no such thing as an "easy punch in the face." Also making excuses for the attacker does nothing more than enable them to do worse.
A recent survey of 57 pet-owning families receiving treatment for child abuse showed that in 88 percent of the families at least one person had abused animals.
In two-thirds of those cases, the abusive parent had injured or killed a pet, in the remainder the child was the abuser.
Has your spouse kicked your family pet out of anger at you? When you and your spouse are having a disagreement, do you kick the dog or cat when he begs for food? Many reports have been made where the husband gets up--set with the wife and kills the family pet because that he knows the wife loves the pet.
That is his way of punishing the wife. Abusive family members may threaten, injure, or kill pets, often as a way of threatening or controlling others in the family.
Anyone who watches Animal Planet soon comes to the realization of how horrible the abuse to animals has become.
Dogs are tied to outside trees with huge logging chains and left with no food or water. The chain pulls so heavy on the dog's neck that it cuts into the flesh and imbeds itself.
The veterinarian has to actually surgically split the skin of the neck to remove the chain links.
Right here at VVHS we have seen the links imbedded into the neck of a dog. The poor dogs have needed sutures and antibiotics to repair what a human did to them.
Have you seen the fur of animals become so matted with urine and feces that the animal has to be completely shaved? Can you believe that people would let this happen?
We've had dogs come in like that in such bad shape that their legs couldn't move correctly. At times it was also impossible to tell if the animal was a male or female.
Unfortunately no one ever came for those poor animals. We did get the animals groomed and gave them the care they deserved.
Some of these animals were adopted and yet some were to sick to be saved. Please don't turn your head the other way and let this happen.
Some people think dog fighting is a 'sport' and think nothing of releasing a docile family pet into a pen of trained killer dogs for practice. Dogs are fastened in a pen and fight literally until one of them die.
Horses that are 300-400 pounds underweight from not being fed stagger into their rescuer's trailer and everyone prays that help has not come too late.
But this doesn't just happen in Miami, Houston, or Michigan where this series is filmed.
It is happening rights here in Yavapai County and the perpetrators are not often enough brought to justice.
Yavapai Country is working diligently to change the way old laws are enforced. Bringing justice is their goal.
Abuse breeds violence. It becomes a vicious cycle. Just as a child who has been abused frequently grows up to abuse their own children, a child who is mentally, physically, or sexually abused is often the abuser of animals.
It is essential for those who respond to family violence to be alert to this connection.
In fact, professionals who help families in crisis are increasingly recognizing the role that animals play in the dynamics of family violence.
There are things that all of us can do to help stop animal cruelty. First of all, if you observe a 'childhood prank' such as tying cans to the animal's tail, don't further promote it by ignoring it or laughing at it.
Cruelty must be caught and corrected at an early age. If you observe an abused animal, get help for the animal.
If you see someone hurting an animal or if you know of someone whose animal looks sick, injured, or deprived of adequate food, water, or shelter, get help.
Get all the pertinent facts. Write everything down. You will need to provide the date, time, location, and any other details you can remember. Include descriptions of the animal, the type of cruelty, and the person who may be responsible for it.
Get the word out. Educate your friends and family about animal cruelty and its connection to human violence. Be a role model.
Let your actions be a guide. Be kind to animals and let others know that hurting animals is wrong. Speak up for animals and urge others to do the same.
Stop cruelty before it begins. We must educate our children in the community to be kind to animals.
Teach them how to gently handle the animal and not to kick them out of frustration.
Explain to them that it is not funny when they pull their pet's ears and that they feel pain just as you and I do.
Please do your part in the community, help stop animal abuse. If all of us work together, we can make it a much safer world for the animals in our area.