Is the personality of the typical policeman suitable for dealing with animal cruelty cases? How seriously are cases concerning crimes against animals taken by the police? In the UK, the RSPCA investigate and bring prosecutions, in animal welfare cases, which resulted in 2441 convictions on 2012. The employees of the RSCPA are very much animal orientated people. They have been hired for that reason. Although, perhaps, the organisation has become too political.
As I understand it, in the USA and all other countries, the standard police force investigate, arrest and charge people who are suspected of having committed criminal acts against an animal. To me that seems less good than the UK system. I really don’t have an axe to grind here. I am taking a totally neutral stance on this.
What made me question the temperament of the typical police offer is a case in the USA of a Texas policeman who shot a cat with a crossbow, while off duty. The cat suffered a punctured lung and a broken leg but is recovering. I will presume that he shot the cat for sport and that he dislikes cats. That is the usual reason. I realise that one bad officer does not mean that they are all cat-haters or whatever but it does make one think. In addition, I have another story on PoC about a Sheriff whose pastime appears to have been shooting cats.
Elisa Black-Taylor, writing for the Examiner when reporting the above story says:
“..Pet owners are fed up with police injuring and killing their four-legged family members.”
Is that a fair comment? Is there a weakness in the way policemen deal with animals, in general, in the course of carrying out their duties?
Each state has its own animal welfare laws. In Texas crimes against animals is two-tier based. The more serious offences are a felony, while lesser offences are called misdemeanors. Shooting a cat with a crossbow falls under TEX. PENAL CODE ANN. § 42.092 (2008) section (b)(1) it seems (unless the law has changed since I published it on PoC about 4 years ago). It is a felony and it carries a maximum sentence of $10k and/or 2 years imprisonment.
So, this police officer is likely to be prosecuted and tried for this horrible crime. For me that is a good thing, if it happens. I congratulate the police force for treating their own in the same way they would treat anyone else. Although it appears that the police were called out to a disturbance and the animal cruelty matter came to light later.
In the UK the police always protect their own. You rarely see successful prosecutions against police or even sackings and disciplinary action. They often carry on as if nothing happened. The quality of the individual policeman and woman in the UK, with respect to integrity, appears to have deteriorated over the past 50 years.
I happen to think that the average policeman is not that sympathetic towards animals. It takes a tender mentality to be tender towards cats, which is not an ideal characteristic for a policeman. What percentage of policemen do you imagine are going to be sympathetic towards a crime against a cat?