An animal’s love and trust is a precious gift. (submitted)

Column: Animal abuse hits me right in the heart

Their trust is a precious gift.

Even after years in the news business there are several kinds of stories that never fail to get to me.

Stories of animal abuse are one of those categories.

I’ve had animals all my life, from goats and chickens to cats and dogs. I’m the person who goes to the SPCA shelter and wants to take all of the animals home with me. Sometimes I like them more than people.

Animals give their affection without reserve. They never care what your hair looks like or when you’re in a bad mood. When you’re sick they just love to have you there to cuddle with. They’re always happy to see you, and are very forgiving for most slights.

Their trust is a precious gift.

So when I hear about animal abuse it makes my heart hurt.

The Haglunds’ cat was tortured this week by being deliberately fed drugs, possibly bleached, and thrown out a window. It’s an established fact the (indoor) cat was shaved before being turned out into the cold. When I hear a story like this it makes my blood both boil and run cold.

As a pet owner it’s terrifying to hear stories like this. It also makes me angry because this kind of cruelty can have no excuse.

Oh, and those responsible used Snapchat to torture the cat’s teenage owner, too, bragging about what they’d done to the pet she loves.

It’s even worse that several of the teens who appear to have been involved are former friends. They may have been trusted by the cat and its owner — and that trust was horribly betrayed.

This kind of behaviour is extremely worrying. It demonstrates a lack of compassion and empathy that’s alarming to say the least.

Torturing an animal, a living creature, is not a prank. Thinking it’s clever or funny to broadcast your crime is beyond the pale.

Whatever teenage drama you’re going through is no justification for harming an innocent animal.

The RCMP has already spoken to several of those believed to be involved and one person has been arrested.

But we hope the parents of the teens involved have a serious sit-down with them as well. This kind of behaviour needs to be nipped in the bud. There needs to be consequences for their actions — at home if nothing else.

No doubt some of those involved were bystanders. It’s important to emphasize that when someone sees something terrible like this occurring they should do something, not just go along. If they’re too afraid to take direct action a phone call to police or a parent is in order.

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