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Butterscotch and the Link

butterscotch_cat.jpgby Ashley Hardin

It was a day in late May, the sun was shining, and a homeless cat lay bruised and bloody on the streets of Milwaukee. A group of children had decided that it would be a fun game to see who could run over him with a bike the most times. It is sad to say, but this cat was one of the lucky ones. A neighbor saw what the kids were doing and called police. An officer responded and took the cat to the Animal Emergency Care Center. He was in poor shape when he arrived. Not only was the cat suffering from numerous cuts and abrasions, but he was also thin and dehydrated. After his condition stabilized he was moved to Milwaukee Area Domestic Animal Control for the legally mandated seven-day reclamation period. But no one was looking for him, and he was transferred to the Wisconsin Humane Society (WHS). When he arrived at WHS, the young tabby, who we named Butterscotch, was again evaluated by expert veterinarians. Caked with blood, his cuts were healing, but he was still weak. Despite his traumatic ordeal, Butterscotch proved from the beginning that he was actually quite loving and friendly. He greeted everyone who stopped to visit with a purr. After weeks of treatment, Butterscotch was finally ready for adoption. He quickly found a loving family, one who vowed to never let him be hurt or scared again. Many cats are not so lucky. In Milwaukee County alone, it is estimated that there are thousands of stray and feral cats roaming the streets. Even though cats are now the most popular pet in the United States, they are still the most at-risk companions in our community. To many, they are viewed as just one more disposable object. Whenever an animal is abused, a chain reaction begins in our community. Not only does an innocent animal get injured, but the person who commits the offense often falls into a cycle that could ultimately result in violence against other people. The evidence of a link between animal cruelty and violence toward humans, including child or elder abuse, spousal battery, and other types of criminal violence is compelling. In the vast majority of cases, cruelty to animals is just one aspect of a social environment marked by violence. People who abuse animals are five times more likely to commit violent crime. The FBI incorporates animal cruelty into its “threat assessment” technique because it is a behavior they believe is prominently displayed in the histories of people who are habitually violent. You can help by taking violence against animals seriously. Report it to the police and become a part of WHS’s Guardian Animal Network at Spay or neuter your cat and keep it indoors, making sure that he or she has an identification tag, license, and/or microchip. Remember your cat’s annual veterinary visit, and stay current on all vaccinations. These measures will help protect your cat if it does manage to slip outside. Ashley Hardin is a community relations specialist for the Wisconsin Humane Society.
by Ashley Hardin