Animal advocates push for change in animal cruelty laws and penalties

WICHITA FALLS, Tx (RNN Texoma) - Some Texoma animal advocates told Newschannel 6 they are pushing for changes to animal cruelty laws and penalties on Thursday after a video of two young girls abusing a kitten in Wichita Falls went viral.

"How can a normal person torture an animal?" Kimber Hopkins founder and president of Emily's Legacy, a foster based animal rescue, said. "My thoughts go to what's going through the animal mind as it was being tortured?"

Last year, another cat lost its life in Wichita County because of animal abuse. The Wichita County Sheriff's Office said they have made three arrests involving cruelty to animals since the beginning of 2017.

"Cruelty and neglect are happening every day in our community so neighbors [need to] speak up when they see something when you know somethings not right," Katrena Mitchell the city's animal services administrator said.

Mitchell said much of the abuse we see in Wichita Falls and all over Texas may come down to one flaw in the state's laws.

"The obstacles that Texas has is, in the state, animals are considered property so, they're like our tv and car," Mitchell said.

"They should become part of the family, not just property," Hopkins said.

Hopkins said until that ruling is changed, animal abusers should face the maximum sentence for a cruelty an animal charge, which is two to 10 years, and not just a slap on the wrist.

"This is what you did, you need to pay your debt to society just as you stole or did drugs, or whatever," Hopkins said. "You committed murder well this is murder too but it's with an animal."

Wichita Falls Police said the two Wichita Falls girls are facing animal cruelty charges which is a third-degree felony, at this time it is the only animal cruelty case this year.

Animal advocates say the best way the public can make their voices heard is to call their state representatives and demand change.

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