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Putting an end to animal cruelty
by Amanda Sexton Ferguson, Editor and Publisher
Feb 27, 2014 | 121 views | 0 0 comments | 93 93 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Last week, a Winona man was found guilty of deliberately throwing an injured kitten into a bonfire. Before handing down a hefty fine and a 45 day jail sentence, Winona City Judge Devo Lancaster said he could not imagine anyone being as cruel as to throw a living, breathing animal into a fire.

Neither can I, but sadly, I have reported several incidents of animal abuse in my career as a journalist, but the stories have not gotten any easier to tell.

In the last few years, I have actually reported another incident of burning an animal. Someone poured boiling water or oil on a terrier mix. Phoenix, as she is known, did get her happily ever after. She survived and now has a wonderful family that loves her.

I have also reported animals dragged behind cars, thrown in ditches, and tied to trees without food, water, and shelter. It happens every day. In fact, I am reminded of the cruelty of humankind daily by looking at my own precious fur-babies.

Both my own dogs, Skipper and Don Juan, were abused and discarded like trash. Skipper was thrown in a trash dumpster on the edge of a highway, but a good Samaritan rescued him and sent him to the Jackson Humane Society from which I eventually adopted him. Don Juan was thrown from a moving vehicle. Luckily, another driver witnessed the act and picked him up before he was killed on the busy roadway.

My cat Deadline appeared one evening at the newspaper office in Winona. Surprisingly friendly, she had a number of metal pellets under her skin from a BB gun.

I realize that not all people love their pets as I do, but for someone to purposely harm another living creature just for the thrill sends a cold chill up my spine. I have said all along that with animal cruelty, there is a much more sinister side to this behavior. For those who find pleasure in abusing animals, it is only a matter of time before they move on to larger prey - people.

I would like to thank Doll Stanley and In Defense of Animals (IDA) for working hard to find and prosecute those responsible for unspeakable acts of cruelty against animals. In last week's prosecution, Stanley and IDA offered a reward for information leading to the prosecution of last week’s conviction in Winona, something IDA does quite often.

Thanks to IDA and people like Stanley, many animal abusers have been punished over the years, but it seems their work is never finished, as more and more incidents of cruelty are reported.

Also working with Stanley and IDA, the Winona Animal Advocacy Group [WAAG] hopes to educate the public and provide medical care to stray and abused animals in Winona. In fact, one kind WAAG member took the burned kitten from last week's court case to the veterinarian's office for treatment. The injuries were so severe the animal had to be humanely euthanized.

IDA and WAAG are great organizations that do everything possible to care for neglected, abused, and homeless animals. The volunteers spend much time and energy and money to care for these animals - all with the hope that each animal can find a loving, safe and permanent home.

I urge all animal lovers to get involved in putting an end to animal cruelty. Trust me, one person’s compassion can make a difference.

To volunteer or make a donation to IDA, contact Stanley at 662-809-4483. To volunteer or make a donation to WAAG, contact organization president Fay Welch at 662-310-3374.

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