Rep wants harsher an­i­mal abuse sen­tences

Ema­ci­ated dogs prompt­ing Serpa to seek mea­sure

Pawtucket Times - - BLACKSTONE VALLEY/REGION - By KENDRA PORT klo­lio@ri­cen­tral.com Fol­low Kendra Port on Twit­ter @kendrar­port

COVEN­TRY –– Af­ter two dogs were found over the last week se­verely ema­ci­ated and ne­glected, state Rep. Pa­tri­cia Serpa, a long­time ad­vo­cate for an­i­mals in the Gen­eral Assem­bly, says there should be con­se­quences for the sus­pect(s).

The two dogs were found days apart in Coven­try this past Satur­day and again on Mon­day. The first dog, a male pit bull found near the Sher­wood Val­ley neigh­bor­hood of Coven­try, was eu­th­a­nized later that evening. The sec­ond dog, a fe­male pit bull, is re­ceiv­ing on­go­ing veterinary care ac­cord­ing to Coven­try An­i­mal Con­trol.

Both an­i­mals were se­verely ema­ci­ated upon be­ing found, with other ap­par­ent med­i­cal con­di­tions vis­i­ble on their bodies. Coven­try Po­lice have re­port­edly said the cases are among the worst they’ve seen in re­cent years.

Coven­try Po­lice have been hand­ing out fly­ers around town with pho­tos of the two dogs and where they were found, also in­di­cat­ing that there is a $1,000 re­ward be­ing of­fered by the Rhode Is­land So­ci­ety for the Pre­ven­tion of Cru­elty to An­i­mals (RISPCA) and Hand­some Dan’s Res­cue for an­other $500 for any­one of­fer­ing in­for­ma­tion lead­ing to an ar­rest or con­vic­tion of a sus­pect in the case.

“We are cau­tiously op­ti­mistic about our fe­male pit bull, who’s blood test re­sults came back show­ing heart worm and ane­mia,” the po­lice de­part­ment said Wed­nes­day. “She is do­ing well in the care of our ca­pa­ble An­i­mal Con­trol Of­fi­cers.”

Ru­mors have gone round so­cial me­dia that per­haps the dogs were sim­ply lost, but Serpa said she’s not so sure judg­ing by the ex­tent of their un­der­nour­ish­ment.

“I have to be­lieve the sud­den ap­pear­ance of two ema­ci­ated dogs over the course of three days is no co­in­ci­dence,” she said. “From the pic­tures pro­vided by the me­dia, it looks like both dogs have been ne­glected for a very long time. They don’t waste away to that de­gree over the mat­ter of a cou­ple of days of be­ing lost or run­ning away from home. The pub­lic is very en­gaged and in­ter­ested in see­ing the per­son or peo­ple re­spon­si­ble for this cru­elty be­ing brought to jus­tice.”

Serpa pointed out that the Gen­eral Assem­bly just this year the granted au­thor­ity to im­pose prison time for in­di­vid­u­als convicted of an­i­mal ne­glect or mis­treat­ment that was re­spon­si­ble for an an­i­mal’s death.

“I be­lieve that im­pris­on­ment is war­ranted in this case if the per­pe­tra­tor can be iden­ti­fied,” she said. “The Coven­try Po­lice De­part­ment is keenly aware of the pub­lic out­cry over the con­di­tion of these an­i­mals. I truly be­lieve that they will de­vote the ap­pro­pri­ate re­sources to solv­ing these heinous acts of an­i­mal ne­glect.”

Serpa said the in­crease in the num­ber of an­i­mal ne­glect cases be­ing brought for­ward could be, at least in part, due to more peo­ple de­mand­ing re­spect for not only their own fam­ily pets but for all an­i­mals in gen­eral.

“Un­for­tu­nately, there is still an el­e­ment of the pop­u­la­tion that does not share that per­spec­tive and they view an­i­mals as com­modi­ties for their amuse­ment, for fighting or sim­ply take a per­verse plea­sure in watch­ing them suf­fer. Ap­par­ently not all of the hu­man race has evolved to the point where all life should be viewed as valu­able,” she said.

Serpa said the re­cent cases have made her “fu­ri­ous.”

“It makes me won­der how many other dogs are out there ei­ther al­ready dead or wan­der­ing around in near-death sit­u­a­tions,” she said.

A Coven­try woman who lo­cated the first dog, Am­ber­lee Perry-Gagne, has cre­ated a Go­FundMe fundraiser for the sur­viv­ing fe­male pit bull’s med­i­cal costs: go­fundme.com/sweet-girl-foundin-Coven­try.

Pa­tri­cia Serpa

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