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Posted on Sun, Dec 20, 2009 : 6:09 a.m.

People guilty of animal cruelty cases should be ordered to get psychological treatment

By Letters to the Editor

The case of the Milan woman charged with allowing her dog's collar to grow into his neck shows how neglect of an animal often qualifies as abuse ("Milan woman charged with animal cruelty after puppy was found seriously injured," Dec. 13).

Whether harm is intentional or not doesn't matter much to a suffering animal, who may be permanently injured or even die as a result. For this reason, it is important that those found guilty of animal cruelty be not only punished but also given psychological evaluation and treatment to foster empathy.

The AniCare program my organization promotes within the judicial system is the only program of its kind to directly address the underlying causes of animal cruelty. We hope that it will be employed in this case and others like it, to prevent further harm and serve as an example to others.

Kenneth Shapiro, Executive Director Animals & Society Institute, Ann Arbor