When I began researching my novel, I knew my protagonist would be a female animal cruelty investigator. So I looked online for other examples and, to my surprise, found NONE. How could that be? Then I contacted several humane groups to see if I could find a person who does the type of work that I was writing about in real life. Once again, I couldn’t find anyone. THIS IS A SHAME!
While these findings propelled me to write more – and excited me because I may have a real unique hook – it was also a bit depressing. I found references to federal legislation that would have authorized the FBI to start tracking animal cruelty cases dating back to 2007. Remember Jeffrey Dahmer? He tortured animals. Remember Columbine? Those kids tortured animals. Remember the Boston Strangler? They all followed the same pattern. Doesn’t it make sense that we should be watching these criminals from an early age to hopefully prevent future attacks on other animals, or humans?
So many local humane shelters and municipal animal control groups are tasked with doing just that. Prosecuting animal cruelty crimes. But at the local level, there are few resources devoted to these causes. Given the current budget crisis almost each state is facing, that’s no surprise. We don’t have adequate funds for our schools, health care, so how can we ask for more for animals? Having worked in state government for the past 8 years (Tennessee), I totally understand those issues.
Maybe it’s time to start at least opening our eyes to these acts. Tracking these offenders, like we track sexual offenders, would be a start. And maybe down the road, the federal government will step in and set up a national database too.
One can hope. In the meantime, I’ll use my fiction writing to keep the dream alive 🙂