Let's say your next door neighbor becomes angry at his dog. To punish the animal, he puts him in an oven and cooks him for five minutes at 200 degrees. The dog lives but will bear physical scars of the incident for the rest of his life. The next day this same neighbor is arrested for sexually abusing a minor. For what crime should your neighbor receive the severest punishment: torturing a dog or sexually abusing a minor?
According to Utah animal rights activists, torturing a dog should receive a harsher sentence. Thankfully, for the time being, the Utah state legislature disagrees.
Yesterday, the Utah state legislature balked on voting for a measure that would make acts of animal torture, now a Class A misdemeanor, a third degree felony and punishable by up to five years in prison and a $5,000 fine.
This all sounds good until you learn, thanks to Republican Sen. Jon Greiner, that under Utah law such crimes as child abuse, sexual abuse of a minor, assault of a police officer and assault of a school employee are still Class A misdemeanors. "How do we get to a third-degree felony [for animal torture] when we don't have enough respect for human life, sexually abused children, that we don't have a higher standard of care for them?" he told the Salt Lake Tribune.
The fact that the legislature is seriously considering this bill shouldn’t come as a surprise. For years, militant animal rights activists have told us that animals have at least the same rights as people: we shouldn’t eat them, perform scientific experiments on them or even consider building homes, roads or bridges where it might disturb them. Their goal has been to get us to treat animals as equals. Now it seems they want us to treat them as our superiors.
Think about the message the proposed Utah law would send state residents about the value of humans when stacked up against man’s best friend. Stick a dog in the oven and get five years behind bars. Assault a teacher or abuse a child and, at least in the eyes of the law, a lesser sentence is required.
Those who torture animals are cruel, sadistic and should be punished; however, the punishment should not be greater than for harming a person. If Utah state legislators want to make it a third-degree felony to torture animals, they need to increase the punishments for abusing and assaulting people as well.
People are more important than animals. This is something our laws should reflect and something the Utah legislators should keep in mind when they reconsider this bill next January.