Editor's Viewpoint: We must do more to end animal cruelty
A dog is said to be man's best friend. Sadly, as three examples which we report today demonstrate, it is a friendship that is not always reciprocated. There is something particularly evil about those who would inflict cruelty on any living animal.
One instance which brought widespread condemnation involved Lurgan man Kyle Keegan, who bludgeoned a 12-week-old puppy to death with a hammer. Yesterday he pleaded guilty to the despicable crime. Earlier hearings heard how the remains of the little dog were found in a bin and there was a suggestion that it might even have been microwaved, although that was never publicly sustained.
In another horrifying incident, a tennis ball containing razor blades was found in Belvoir Forest Park, a popular location for dog walkers.
Any animal which chewed the ball would have suffered severe cuts and there would have been hefty vet bills for owners.
In Lurgan, a hamburger impregnated with tablets was discovered - an obvious attempt to poison or cause severe sickness to any animal.
The mindset behind such behaviour is impossible for many of us to understand. Why would anyone bludgeon a dog to death or lay random traps to injured or kill others?
Kindness and compassion towards all living things is a mark of a civilized person and that is most vividly demonstrated by those who run animal sanctuaries or who give a new home to abandoned pets. It is understandable circumstances can dictate that some pet owners have to give up their animals but they have ways of ensuring that they will still be loved by someone else.
It is encouraging that the maximum sentences for those found guilty of animal cruelty were increased in recent years after a number of shocking court cases and the public is fully behind the imposition of stiff sentences on those who abuse animals.
At least one local authority in Northern Ireland, Antrim and Newtownabbey Council, has highlighted the problem of animal cruelty by the use of stickers placed on household bins giving details of where to report suspected cases.
All councils have animal welfare officials and the public should contact them if they note suspicious behaviour.
We should be the voice of the abused animals who do not have one. Only in that way can we make those thinking of being cruel to animals think again. Being caught is the best deterrent.