On September 29, 2010 an Ohio court convicted Shon Rahrig
for cruelty to animals. It was also noted that he had a history of
domestic violence and drug abuse. And it is really no surprise
that domestic violence and animal abuse often go hand in hand.
But it is his abject cruelty to animals which should strike horror
into anyone's heart who reads about his abuse to animals.
Prior to his arrest, he had gone to some local shelters near Columbus,
Ohio and chose some cats as well as a puppy. If his choices were
happy to be freed from the constraints of a cage, their happiness
would be short lived because soon they would be in the clutches of
a monster. M isty, a cat, had her eyes poked out, her legs and jaw
broken, and her paws cut off. He left her bleeding in a laundry
basket, and she had to be euthanized after Rahrig's girfriend turned
And what did the courts of Ohio determinine to be a fitting
punishment for this heinous and cruel crime? A measly 90 days
in jail, a ban on owning animals for five years, and mandatory
counseling which he skipped. He moved to California where
someone had spotted him at an adoption event.
I wish the sentence had been much, much stiffer, because people
like him are not only a threat to innocent and unsuspecting animals,
but they can well turn into murderers like Ted Bundy, Albert
DeSalva, Jeffrey Dahmer, David Berkowitz and Dennis Rader -all of
whom abused animals before turning into killers.
Even the students who turned on their fellow classmates in the
high school killings of the not too distant past had been animal
abusers first. I'll never forget reading how the youth from Pearl,
Mississippi took his "beloved"pug, Sparkles, and put him in a
plastic bag and set it on fire. When poor Sparkles managed to
trust his head out and scream in pain, this cruel youth struck him in
the head with a baseball bat. He then went off to dispatch his
grandmother and then moved on to his school to find more victims
of his murderous rage.
But as Stephen Wells of Animal Legal Defense notes "But it's not
just about how animal abusers end up also hurting or killing humans...
It should be motivation enough to protect our animals from repeat
offenders - and any abuse of any kind."
So Animal Legal Defense has launched one of their most important
initiatives in their more than three decades of fighting to protect the
lives of animals through the legal system. Called the EXPOSE
ANIMAL ABUSERS campaign, it is hoped that an animal abuser
registry be adopted in all 50 states -making it easier to track
convicted animal abusers like Shon Rahrig and others. Their campaign
this crucial need for animal abuser registries nationwide.
Kudos to Suffox County in New York for being the first to have an
Animal Abuser Registry enacted in October 2010. The Rockland
and Albany Counties in New York also followed and approved of
the registries in 2011. Now more than 2.1 million people who live
in these jurisdictions are able to spot animal abusers because of
the registries. Let us hope that soon all the people living in the United
States will be able to have access to a registry which would show
the shelter personnel and private individuals the pictures, names,
and addresses of animal abusers like Shon Rahrig. You can find
his picture on the internet if interested.
California as well as twenty-four other states are considering these
registry bills and some 95,000 concerned individuals have sent letters
to their elected officials asking them to adopt abuser registry legislation
where they live. You can sign a letter to your legislator in this regard
as I did by going to the Animal Legal Defense Fund site on the internet.
As SEXUAL predators can no longer hide anymore because of a Sexual
Abuser Registry, it makes perfect sense to have a registry of animal
abusers as well. Really, aren't animals like children afterall- innocent,
vulnerable, and unable to defend and protect themselves from people
with a cruel and malicious bent?
ALDF also wrote about other abusive cases. In 2009, Alexander
Gregory was caught by his girlfriend beating Jake, their German
Shephard. She tried to stop him and he assaulted her. He then shot
Jake in the head with a pellet gun and drowned him in the bathtub.
Even though charges and an arrest ensued, days later Gregory
adopted another dog- a puppy named Tag. When they got home,
he slammed him against the floor until he died.
Another pitiful excuse for a human being, Craig Boyd was running a
dog fighting operation in his basement. Sanitation workers in Chicago
found five dead dogs in trash cans outside his home. When police
raided his basement, they found a dogfighting-training setup with
six live dogs, including a puppy. All were emaciated, confined in filth,
and were covered with festering wounds caused by the dog-fighting.
And then ALDF asks the important question- Where is Boyd now? And
the answer - We don't know -scares everyone who cares about animal
suffering. If Shon Rahrig, Alexander Gregory, or Craig Boyd are living
in our communities, WE HAVE A RIGHT TO KNOW so that we can keep
our animals safe.
If you are concerned that animal abusers are living near you and they
very well could be, please help to push the creation of registries of
convicted animal abusers in all 50 states. If you want to try to convince
others of this need and the examples of these three horribly cruel
individuals is not enough to persuade them, direct them to PetAbuse.
com. I've known about this internet site for years and it has accounts
of animal abuse from all 50 states. Though the site is certainly helpful,
s adly, it is not enough to protect our animals. We need to have an
Animal Abuse Registry in every state - in every city if we ever hope
to stop these abusers from continuing to harm and brutalize our
innocent and defenseless animals.