Yesterday I had to write one of the most heartbreaking articles ever "Pit bull puppy dies after beating at local golf course". This follows days after a North Baltimore man attacked a pit/Sheperd mix with a machete, the Easter stoning of another pit and last year's horrific attack on a pit who was set on fire by two teenagers.
In response to burn-victim Phoenix, who died during recovery, Baltimore Mayor Sheila Dixon teamed with the ASPCA to create an Anti-Animal Abuse Task Force in the summer of 2009. Animal safety is not only important morally and legally, but to the community as a whole. Violence against animals leads to violence against people.
While the task force does regularly work with BARCS and Animal Control to investigate animal cruelty, what more needs to be done? It took some digging for me to find a March 2010 Interim Report. It is 49 pages long. I admit to having only scanned it so far. But there are some great ideas in there such as cross reporting information by social service agencies and "have knowledge of areas experiencing high concentrations of abuse".
What is unclear is if animal abuse in Baltimore is actually on the rise. It is possible with this Task Force, Baltimore is instituting better reporting and increasing public awareness. What IS clear, is that Animal Control is underfunded and short on appropriate staff much like those nationwide. The resources needed to effectively eradicate animal abuse in Baltimore may be a long time coming.