My thoughts are reinforced by the fact that the RSPCA reports a surge in cases of animal cruelty.
I believe that someone found guilty of animal cruelty should face the same penalty as someone found guilty of cruelty to a child.
Some people will probably object to this view since it implies that animals and children have equal status.
However, consider the instincts of the perpetrator.
Anyone capable of being cruel to an animal is surely capable of doing similar to a child.
Most of us are not only incapable of committing such an act but also the idea never even crosses our minds.
I realise unfortunate and traumatic factors can trigger a lack of empathy in some individuals but, once the ability to conceive an act of cruelty is present, I suspect it remains forever and is liable to be followed through.
In the same vein, I despair when I read about cases of gross abuse and neglect where the convicted person is banned from owning an animal for 10 years.
A decade down the track, that person who kicked their dog to death or starved their horses is still going to be the same person, devoid of respect or affection for any living thing.
Stark punishment via the legal system may be all they understand, and it is certainly what they deserve.
JULIA BERNEY, Scarborough