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Animal Abuse: Misdemeanor or Felony?

Last week, two Canadian teenagers were charged with animal cruelty after a dog was found bloody and bound by duct tape and rope in a back alley of small town Didsbury, Alberta, Canada.

Police say the CollieLabrador's injuries were from the two teenagers restraining and tying the animal to the back of a car and torturing it by driving down a gravel road. Local veterinarians say it is the worst case of animal abuse they have ever seen, "We've never discovered an animal going through this much pain, we had no choice but it put it down," a veterinarian told police.

The teenagers, a 17
yearld boy and a 19 yearold, whose family owned the dog were charged with a maximum penalty of $2,000 for animal cruelty.

This act of violence has struck much national attention and many Canadians question whether or not the $2,000 penalty does enough justice. An argument has been placed on whether or not animal cruelty should be treated as misdemeanour or felony.

It has been said that violence breeds more violence. In a study conducted by The University of Alberta, families who abuse their children, 65% also abuse their pets. According to these statistic, there is a great link between animal abuse and human violence.

"People who are violent to animals end up committing much worse crimes," The University stated.

Many provinces throughout Canada, including Alberta are pushing to have the penalties for animal abuse more severe, and local residents are agreeing, "Animals have rights just like humans. They are living, breathing creatures. They do not deserve to be subjected to torture and abuse. All animals need to be protected," a Didsbury woman told Globe and Mail.

The people who commit these crimes seem to be getting little to no time behind bars, despite the fact there is a strong correlation between violence towards animals and violence towards humans. "It's all about progression," a Didsbury police officer said, "A criminal thinks he can get a way with hurting a dog, who knows what he'll try to do next."

A bill is expected to soon be introduced in the province of Alberta, increasing the penalties for anyone engaging in the acts of animal cruelty.

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