Sarah Schafer’s dog Maggie licks her face when posing for a photo . Maggie’s breed and background are unknown, but Schafer believes she is part sheep dog. Sarah Schafer, Photo Provided
Ball State student, Muncie animal shelter hope new law reduces animal cruelty
When Sarah Schafer, sophomore music education and studio art ceramics dual major, rescued and adopted her dog Maggie, she said it taught her how important it is to love animals who may not have had an easy life.
“Adopting an animal that has not had the best past can sometimes be the best thing not just for the animal but for you, because it really opens up your heart,” Schafer said. “It's really important to give animals a second chance at life because it's through no fault of their own.”
Schafer and her family adopted Maggie from the Marshall County Humane Society in 2016.
As a veterinary technician, Schafer’s mother worked with Maggie that summer. She later took her home and that is when the family decided they wanted to keep her.
“It took about a year before Maggie really felt comfortable with us,” Schafer said. “We really think that she had some kind of negative past where she was abused and didn’t have a very good first year of life.”
In an effort to address animal crushing, President Donald Trump signed into law Nov. 25 a bill titled “Preventing Animal Cruelty and Torture (PACT) Act.”
Animal crushing is defined in the act as the conduct in which an animal is purposely crushed, burned, drowned, suffocated, impaled or subjected to serious bodily injury.
The PACT Act expands on a 2010 law that targeted videos depicting the crushing or torturing of animals, but did not prohibit the underlying conduct, according to an Associated Press report.
Under the new law, animal crushing and the creation and distribution of animal crushing videos would be a federal felony with penalties being fines, imprisonment for up to seven years or both.
“This is something that is long overdue,” Schafer said. “That people are held accountable for their actions is especially important because when they abuse an animal, they’re abusing another living being.”
According to the nonprofit organization Animal Legal Defense Fund’s 2018 U.S. State Rankings for Animal Protection Laws, Indiana ranked 10th overall for being one of the states with the best animal protection laws.
Indiana is considered a top tier state because of laws including “legal mechanism for pre-conviction forfeiture of cruelly treated animals” and “felony provisions for cruelty, neglect, fighting, abandonment, and sexual assault,” ALDF’s website states.
Natalie Beach, cat technician and animal control officer at Muncie Animal Care, said the animal shelter takes in over 3,000 animals every year, 20-to-40 percent of which experience abuse. She said she wishes animal abuse cases were taken more seriously.
“I hope [the PACT Act] is a deterrent for people to actually take care of their animals because it's really sad and disheartening to have to have these animals out of the shelter for months on end and nothing's done,” Beach said.
Schafer said all of the animals she and her family have ever had have been adopted from shelters like Muncie Animal Care.
She said she hopes that the act helps animals who have suffered find better homes and encourages others to adopt from shelters like her.
“It's really important to give animals a second chance at life because it's through no fault of their own,” Schafer said. “It’s really rewarding how much compassion they have for you and how much you have for them. Sometimes the animals that have the roughest pasts have the most love to give.”