YUMA – Three animal cruelty cases in Arizona have made the list of the 100 worst cases the Humane Society of the United States saw last year.
Cases on the top 100 list occurred during 2006 and range from cats being killed with a blow torch in Tampa, Fla. to a dog being locked in a closet and left to starve in New York while the owner went to Disney World.
“We looked for the most gratuitous and horrific actions,” said Dale Bartlett, deputy manager of animal cruelty cases for the Washington, D.C.-based Humane Society.
In Yuma, someone cut the heads off of three pet rabbits last April. The headless rabbits were left in the backyard of the family that owned them. The Humane Society of Yuma offered a $2,500 reward for any information leading to an arrest in the case, which remains unsolved.
Another Arizona incident that made the list occurred in October in Glendale, when authorities found a dead dog with its throat slit. The dog’s legs had been bound with zip ties, which dug through its flesh and exposed bone.
The third Arizona incident to make the list occurred in June in Prescott Valley, where a man is accused of picking up a Chihuahua and throwing him to the ground twice. The man then tossed the dog at the hood and windshield of a car, killing it.
The Humane Society’s top 100 list, released last week, is the group’s first ever and was released in conjunction with Animal Cruelty/Human Violence Week.
The organization uses the week to draw attention to the link between abusing animals and hurting fellow humans, Bartlett said.
“We find that cruelty doesn’t happen in a vacuum,” he said. “Studies of domestic violence victims show that in over 70 percent of cases, the pets were also abused.”
Tammy Snook, founder of the Animal Defenders of Yuma, said reporting abuse is part of the answer to animal cruelty.
“My hope … is that as people become more aware of the prevalence of the problem, they will choose to become part of the solution,” she said. “Animal victims cannot speak for themselves, and it is really our responsibility to stop cruelty in all its forms by acting as their voice.”
The Humane Society of the United States: