Three weeks ago a horrible crime was committed to an innocent victim.

Three weeks ago a horrible crime was committed to an innocent victim.

Chico, a one-year-old Jack Russell Terrier was killed. Chico was hung in the front yard of his home. To date there has been no news of an arrest of the monster who committed this felony.

There are laws that protect animals from such heinous acts. According to the Missouri Statutes, animal abuse in the form of torture is a Class D Felony. The monster that killed Chico should be imprisoned for up to four years and fined $5,000. That would be the maximum penalty if convicted.

The key here is the phrase “if convicted.”

Law enforcement officials usually have their hands full, and unfortunately animal abuse takes a back seat to other cases.

It also seems that the general public doesn’t take animal abuse seriously. Some people think it is none of their business; others just don’t want to get involved.

I called the police this year on July 4 to report a dachshund left in a hot car at a grocery store. The reply I got made me angry and frustrated. The police said that Animal Control wasn’t available, so there was nothing they could do.

When I informed the lady at the service desk in the store about the dachshund, she called security on me. Frustrated, I left the parking lot saying a prayer for the dachshund that it would be all right.

A few days later I corresponded with Aimee Wells at Animal Control. She informed me that the police do not respond to those types of calls when Animal Control is off duty. Aimee suggested that next time this occurs to notify the manager of the place of business and ask them to page the owner of the car. I should then ask the owner to remove the animal from the car; if the owner is unconcerned then I, as a citizen, can sign a formal complaint against the owner for failure to follow the animal ordinance.

Aimee said to do this I would need to write a description of the incident, and give the license plate number of the car. I thanked Aimee for the information.

However, I still felt defeated in the fact that it seems that law enforcement isn’t that concerned about animals in danger.

In the state of New York, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals has a squad of animal cruelty officers with the power to investigate cruelty and arrest violators. New York has a special statute in their state giving these ASPCA officers this authority.

For people living outside New York, the ASPCA suggests informing law enforcement officials about the state laws that require them to respond to calls and enforce statutes to protect animals. Police have the power to enforce animal cruelty laws and, as taxpayers, we have the right to insist that they respond to reports of animal cruelty.

As far as Chico is concerned, my heart goes out to his owner, Brenda Looney, for the loss of her pet. I also hope that law enforcement officials will do their best to find the culprit who committed this heinous act and prosecute them to the fullest extent of the law. In the meantime, we all need to be vigilant regarding cruelty to animals.

Don’t be afraid to call animal services or the police when you see an animal in trouble.

If necessary, remind them of Missouri statute number 578.012 that states: “A person is guilty of animal abuse when a person purposely kills an animal in any manner; … purposely or intentionally causes injury or suffering to an animal; or having ownership or custody of an animal knowingly fails to provide adequate care or adequate control.”

The following animals are available for adoption at the Independence Animal Shelter. Visit the shelter at 875 Vista Drive or call 325–7207 for more information. If you have an animal control problem, call 325-7205.

• 11442544 female Welsh corgi mix, blond, 1 year.

• 11424009 male Shih Tzu, black/brown, 1 year.

• 11439282 male cocker spaniel, white/blond, 3 years.

• 11395547 female German shepherd mix, blond, 1 year.

• 11412245 female German shepherd, black/tan, 2 years.

• 11452071 male Boston terrier, black/white, 1 year.

• 11220951 male retriever, black, 2 years.

There are lots more guinea pigs, cats and kittens available for adoption.