Comment: How could someone hurt an animal intentionally?

It is hard to comprehend how someone could harm an animal intentionally. 

It was shocking to read through different prosecutions of animal cruelty in the RSPCA annual reports when researching this week’s front page story.  

To list them is sickening, but it is important to expose the issue and what people have done to these innocent creatures – in order to stop it from happening again.

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I wonder how many incidents fly under the radar or the damage being done if an incident goes unreported.

When pouring over the cruelty lists I tried to, somehow, see it from the offender’s point of view.

Does it make them feel powerful to harm an animal?

Have these West Australians starved and neglected their pets out of laziness, a troubling economic situation, mental illness problems or a lack of education?

It is up to us to do our part in helping alert authorities of animal cruelty instances.

It is probably a number of things and each instance would be different.

But there is no excuse to harm a helpless creature, let alone beating one to death (Wilson, Shih-Tzu dog, 2012), striking a dog in the head with a hammer (Midland, 2011) or drowning a dog in an esky (Esperance, 2011). 

These cases are just a sample of the most horrific. 

The maximum penalty for an animal cruelty charge under the Animal Welfare Act 2002 is a $50,000 fine or up to five years’ in prison.

Do you think this is an appropriate maximum penalty?

RSPCA WA spokeswoman Maree Daniels said funding for inspectors comes from general donations.

“RSPCA WA relies on community support to generate more than 90 per cent of the funds required to sustain its animal protection work,” she said.

Ms Daniels also said they relied on community tip-offs to investigate and prosecute cases.

It is up to us to do our part in helping alert authorities of animal cruelty instances.

To report a cruelty incident, donate or learn more about RSPCA visit: www.rspcawa.asn.au.

We want to hear from you. 

Do you think the penalties for animal cruelty are appropriate? Too excessive? Not enough? Anything else? 

Send a letter to editor.mandurahmail@fairfaxmedia.com.au.