The countdown has begun...it's getting close to the zero hour. Time to put my big girl panties on and see just how courageous I can be. It's going to be interesting to see what my God will do with me today.
Most of you know I have made a decision to head down to downtown Las Vegas this afternoon to attend the video conferencing of Senate Bill Hearing for SB223, "Cooney's Law". Now I've decided to prepare a statement for today on behalf of this Bill. I'm scared to death.
I have a wealth of support from family and friends. The Facebook Cause created in support of SB223 has reached almost 400 members - AMAZING. Some of those closest to me have made written statements that I'm taking with me. I haven't sat down to create my own statement...until now.
I'm a tax paying, voting citizen of Clark County, Nevada. I'm a working mother with a 6-year old and some wonderful pets. These pets add value to our lives and it's a great pleasure having them as a part of our family.
My support for Senate Bill 223 is not based on emotions that were felt after reading about the tragic death that Cooney endured. Nor is my support strictly centered around the fact that an animal was so brutally and senselessly murdered. My support for Cooney's Law involves more than what happened to Cooney alone - it encompasses my desire to do the right thing, not only for innocent animals but for our children, our community, our great State of Nevada.
Nevada would not be alone if she were to adopt this Bill into existence. I believe she would rank 45th in line with other states that took this bold step UP to enhance our criminal laws to include those without a voice. Nevada would be one of a few States left to miss this opportunity if this Bill were to fail.
My friend Jennifer L. Wells reminded me just this morning that this Bill brings to the table an inconvenient truth for those opposing it. I'm sure law enforcement does not want the burden of more paperwork or more crowded jails if this were to pass. Ranchers and farmers must not like the idea of being told just how to treat their livestock or to adjust their methods of tracking and processing the animals that are their property. And NO ONE wants to be hit in the wallet or have to re-line their pockets with actual fabric if this Bill makes it. It's inconvenient to say the least.
SB223 makes sense, common sense. People that commit these certain disturbing levels of abuse on animals are unhealthy, cruel, sick and unbalanced. Hurting or killing animals is easy for those that are capable of far worse for they know their actions will not be viewed as a "crime" and the punishment will not match; it won't even come close.
Such is the case of Raymond Rios of Reno, NV. Served with a misdemeanor charge only because of the actions taken by the Washoe County Animal Control Department, Mr. Rios was held accountable for his crime done to Cooney. But common sense asks most of us..."Should a person of his nature, of his mental state, of his temperment be allowed back into society with such ease?" It's insulting to our community that the existing laws do nothing to further protect us from individuals capable of such violence. For those that disagree with this statement, I'm sure you believe Mr. Rios's actions against Cooney seem excusable - afterall, Cooney WAS just an animal. Or maybe you can agree that Cooney shouldn't have been killed that way but why should you have to "pay" for someone else's actions? All I want to say to those feeling this way is that you're missing the entire point of this Bill. I'm sorry your existence and comfort are being threatened.
Our law enforcement is here to serve and protect. To allow the communities and families of this State the pleasure of raising our children in a society unpolluted with criminals and murderers that are just starting to wet their appetites by abusing and/or murdering animals.
Domestic abuse shelters and safe houses support this Bill. They have seen first hand the destruction of families where those abusing the power in the home and using animals as pawns in a deadly game of control and manipulation end up continuing their abuse. Some of those cases lead to death of children and adults. In three surveys in women's shelters in Wisconsin and Utah in the late 1990s, an average of 74% of pet-owning women reported that a pet had been threatened, injured or killed by the abusers. (Ascione 1995 & 1997 and Quinlisk, 1995). A survey of women in a safehouse in Utah found that 20% delayed leaving the abusive situation out of fear that their pet would be harmed. Data currently being collected in Canada found almost 50% delayed leaving. (Ascione, 1997)
The FBI uses animal cruelty as a profiling technique to predict who will go on to commit crimes against people, including children.
A 1997 study by the MSPCA and Northeastern University found that 70% of animal abusers had committed at least one other criminal offense and almost 40% had committed violent crimes against people.
A 1986 study reported that 48% of convicted rapists and 30% of convicted child molesters admitted perpetrating acts of animal cruelty in their childhood or adolescence. (Tingle et al, 1986)
A history of animal abuse was found in 25% of aggressive male criminals, 30% of convicted child molesters, 36% of those who assaulted women, and 46% of those convicted of sexual homicide. (Petrovoski, 1997)
A 1983 survey in New Jersey of families reported for child abuse found that in 88% of the families at least one person had abused animals. (Devine, Dickered & Lockwood, 1983)
I support Senate Bill 223 because I want to live in a safer Nevada, one that can be proactive in recognizing potential threats to my family and to those families I've come to know and love that live within my community.
It's easier to stay stagnant, complacent, stuck. It's harder to do what's right. Nothing comes easy that's worth having. We don't always see the actions of our ways, good or evil. I would like to think that my Senators and Legislation can see that direct benefits to themselves are not necessary or needed to make this State a better place to raise a family. If we can make a difference and strengthen our cruelty laws, maybe we have better chance at defeating those that can do us harm.
Thank you for allowing me this platform to express views that matter to me. I hope you can do the right thing too.