ANIMAL ABUSERS MAY BE WARMING UP FOR MORE.
THE Los Angeles Police Commission's recent approval of a task force of police and animal control officers to address animal cruelty and illegal animal fighting is a major step to increased safety for humans and pets all over the city.
In his 1995 book, ``The Mind Hunter,'' FBI criminal profiler John Douglas states that a ``new type of violent criminal has surfaced - the serial offender, who learns by experience and tends to get better and better at what he does.'' Douglas notes that the these criminals' earliest act of violence is often the torture and/or killing of pets or wildlife, graduating to brutalizing younger siblings before taking intensified perversities into the streets or engaging in domestic violence.
Unimpeded acts of violence beget acts of increased violence. To the depraved person who feels powerful and in control only while inflicting pain or death, that ``high'' must continually be sustained by more heinous or morbid acts.
Until recently, law enforcement rarely related serial sniper shootings or the bludgeoning, rape and murder of multiple women as the latest in a chain of escalating crimes by someone who practiced on animals first. Today, arrests for prior acts of animal cruelty are regularly used to corroborate patterns of violent behavior.
It is also recognized by criminal psychologists that participating in or willingly viewing acts of repeated animal cruelty desensitizes the perpetrator or spectator.
The sordid and barbaric world of dog fighting and cockfighting is so abhorrent to the average person that it is routinely discounted as something that happens only in ``other'' neighborhoods or as a ``cultural tradition.'' In fact, national experts estimate that within two miles of everyone living in any metropolitan area is someone who is actively involved in illegal animal fighting, either owning, breeding or training the animals themselves or attending or betting on bloody bouts where animals are forced to fight to death.
Recently a condominium owner reported leasing out two high-rent units in an upper-class building. When the second month's rent was overdue, the landlord came to the building to discover that the carpets were soaked with blood and the walls covered with bloody paw prints of dogs trying to escape. Pit bulls - the dog of choice of both professional and amateur fighters - can be conditioned to fight and suffer so silently that even adjacent neighbors are not aware a match is taking place.
Ignorance of the pervasiveness of animal fighting by legislators - and even some animal-protection advocates - has allowed it to burgeon unabated in L.A.'s gang-infested areas, where owning the ``baddest'' dog generates gambling income and fear in the community. Merritt Clifton, editor of the worldwide publication Animal People recently wrote, ``Many activists don't have a clue how much harm the pit bull proliferation is doing to minority communities.''
Dog fighting and cockfighting affect us all. They bring a ruthless criminal element into unsuspecting neighborhoods where innocent children are at risk. Beloved pets are stolen from yards and cars for ``blood bait'' to train fighting dogs and to rev up lust for the main event at staged fights. Absentee owners of rental property being used to raise and train fighting animals or conduct fights may have unexpected liability. Animal-fighting operations anywhere diminish surrounding property values.
Young boys are frequently present at animal fights to gather bets from spectators, creating a generation of youths in our city who believe maiming and killing is the mark of a man. It is an easy step from executing an animal to shooting a rival gang member - or anyone else.
L.A.'s anti-cruelty task force can be successful only if everyone who suspects animal fighting or abuse immediately reports it for investigation. When you read about a sadistic crime against an animal, remember that the perpetrator is just warming up. The next victim could be someone you know and love.
|Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback|
|Publication:||Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)|
|Date:||Feb 24, 2005|
|Previous Article:||JETBLUE DUE IN BURBANK AIRLINE TO ANNOUNCE DAILY NONSTOP FLIGHTS FROM HOPE AIRPORT TO NYC.|
|Next Article:||DAILY NEWS SPORTS EARNS TOP-20 HONOR.|