By Joe Elmore
Nearly one year ago, Caitlyn, the dog, was rescued based on a call from someone who witnessed her snout taped shut with electrical tape. Although Caitlyn survived, she most certainly would have died had no one made the phone call to authorities.
Caitlyn’s injuries left her near death and required advanced medical treatment to give her a fighting chance at survival. When her story went viral, thousands of admirers from around the nation and the globe reached out to us with concern for her but also condemnation of the offense and the abuser. Caitlyn is in good physical shape today, but is both physically and emotionally scarred from the trauma perpetrated on her. She will likely live with some level of fear of humans for the rest of her life.
Caitlyn is just one of hundreds of abused animals that are brought to Charleston Animal Society for help. The Animal Society not only serves as the rescuer, but also the voice and advocate for these innocent creatures that have done nothing wrong, yet, in so many cases, are tortured by their human counterparts.
Last year, Charleston Animal Society entered the year with the largest horse rescue (11 horses) ever undertaken in Charleston County. We finished the year with the largest overall rescue (110 animals) ever undertaken in Charleston County. In total, we rescued nearly 300 clear cases of cruelty, most of which was abandonment.
Equally disturbing is that numerous studies have documented a clear link between animal cruelty and human violence. In fact, nearly every serial killer studied has been discovered to have early linkages to animal cruelty. We must realize that horrific violence, regardless of whether it is committed on humans or animals, will eventually touch all of our lives unless we act responsibly and effectively to stop it.
In addition to Caitlyn, some of the more heinous cases of animal cruelty that we, along with law enforcement, have dealt with recently or are currently dealing with are a member of the Coast Guard attempting to drown his own dog by binding the legs and tossing him into a waterway, a man intentionally killing his neighbor’s dog with anti-freeze to stop it from barking, a man starving his dogs to death, a kitten thrown over an overpass into oncoming traffic on I-26, several men intentionally beating and shooting their dogs and cats, and just last month, a Mt. Pleasant man disemboweling and burning his cat.
What is most concerning is that the alleged perpetrators of these horrific crimes have received mere slaps on the wrist as misdemeanors, haven’t been caught or are awaiting court dates, some not expected to face a judge until 2017. The most shocking thing about this is that nearly every one of these people is wandering our streets and neighborhoods. It is only a matter of time before they transfer their lust for animal cruelty to human violence.
The system simply is not working and we’re going to do something about that. On April 2 nd , we launched Caitlyn’s Anti-Cruelty Fund to help us fight animal cruelty. In honor of Caitlyn’s spirit of survival and the humanity of her rescuers, the Fund will help us leverage rewards leading to the arrest and conviction of animal abusers, assist law enforcement with effective investigations, treat injured animals as a result of human cruelty, train law enforcement and the courts on how to effectively investigate and prosecute cases of animal cruelty and educate pet owners on how to enhance their pet care before it becomes neglect.
With your help, we can stop this madness. Please go to www.charlestonanimalsociety.org/fight-animal- cruelty/ to learn how you can help prevent animal cruelty and support Caitlyn’s Anti-Cruelty Fund at www.charlestonanimalsociety.org/caitlyn.