President’s Message:

Another Hoarder Convicted of Abuse

Laura Ann Cammisa, President of NYSHA

Another hoarder convicted of abuse — I was thrilled when I heard about Sue Peters. Hoping her sentence would be adequate for 18 counts of animal cruelty and contempt of court, the news certainly was welcome — 14 months. Although it would have been appropriate for additional time on the cruelty charges, I realized that if she spent more than 60 days in jail, the court could not have imposed the 3-year probation necessary to prevent her from collecting animals again.

Will she spend her time reflecting on how those animals felt who were incarcerated in her care at Cherokee Ridge? Sadly, for them, there was no court-appointed time for their release.

On a larger scale, the work of the humane protection community as a whole finally seems to be producing tangible results. There have been many efforts: NYSHA´s eight years of animal cruelty investigation workshops across the state which teach law enforcement officers to investigate animal abuse, The Humane Society of the United States´ struggles to address animal fighting on a state and interstate basis, and many SPCA´s successes in exposing the horrific truth about animal cruelty nationwide on television´s Animal Planet. These endeavors, along with those of hundreds of humane agencies throughout New York that work 24/7 everyday to address the innumerable issues of animal protection in their communities, are making a difference.

Those combined accomplishments are raising the consciousness of people everywhere, who are demanding that animals be treated fairly and kindly, and that those who abuse them be arrested, prosecuted, and punished. Years ago, when faced with animal cruelty, people may have pulled down the shades or turned their heads away, feeling powerless, but not anymore. The police are notified — we all want something changed and we know it should and can be done. Unfortunately, like child abuse, it´s doubtful that animal cruelty cases will ever disappear, but when we become aware now, they are reported and we expect them to be treated as the crimes they really are.

It´s summer, and difficult to see animals tied up without shelter, water, or food. Be sure to be vigilant, look for, and report these situations. Yes, we´ve come a long way, but we need to continue the journey.

As always, for the animals,

Laura-Ann Cammisa

New York State Humane Association Humane Review, Vol.XX, No.1, Summer 2006.