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posted: 5/25/2013 5:00 AM

Mental help needed for animal abusers

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The case of the Roselle man charged in connection with the sexual abuse and death of a peacock might attract attention because of its bizarre nature, but it's actually not that unusual. Animal abuse takes many forms, and its relationship to other violent acts is well established. Perpetrators can harm animals and people in either order, or within the same household or community at the same time.

This man's other charges related to children demonstrate but one example of a phenomenon that happens every week across the country. It is for this reason that the criminal justice system is increasingly acknowledging the need to incorporate mental health assessments and counseling into whatever punishment is appropriate for such crimes. Using a national program called AniCare, developed specifically for use in animal abuse cases, can help get to the root of such behavior as a first course of intervention. Such resources are available in the Chicago area and should be utilized in cases like this as a means of comprehensively addressing a very serious issue.

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Jessica Katz

Chicago

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