By Bonnie Erbe, Thomas Jefferson Street blog
It is so sad that an 18-year-old Florida boy is charged with the horrible crime of animal in the abuse—mutilating and killing nearly three dozen of his neighbors' beloved pets. According to ABC News:
Tyler Weinman was charged with 19 counts of animal cruelty, four counts of burglary and 19 counts of improper disposing of an animal body, according to ABC affiliate WPLG. Neighbors and police have said the cats were beaten, skinned or sliced open. Cutler Bay, Fla., resident Mary Lou Shad, whose 2-year-old cat was among Weiman's alleged victims, said she was relieved to hear of the arrest.
But the good news is, police everywhere seem to be taking animal abuse more seriously. Time was when animal killing and mutilation were considered misdemeanors. Then, within the last two decades psychologists and other forensics experts realized that young mass murderers started practicing the trade on animals before moving on as adults to humans.
Now, if it were only possible in prison to get young animal abusers into treatment for mental illness. I'm not a fan of spending a lot of money on prisoner rehabilitation. But since prison itself is often a violent place, it could serve as more of a training ground for young would-be violent offenders, than a place where troubled youth could be helped to overcome mental disturbances.
Consider this ex-con's experience, recounted on a Twin Cities local news website:
It's been over a month since David Lindsey was released from prison and returned to his Minneapolis home. After serving a 19-year sentence for felony assault, Lindsey was overwhelmed upon reentering a community he had not been a part of since 1990. Completely unprepared by the justice system for life outside of prison, Lindsey now relies on his own determination and the fellowship of ex-cons for support and guidance. "There is no rehabilitation in prison any more," says Lindsey. "It's a business, and men like myself are the product."
As a perspicacious taxpayer, I don't like the idea of having to pay for psychotherapy for ex-animal abusers, or murderers for that matter. But what is prison going to teach them about becoming less violent? Unfortunately, not much.
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