A while ago, three boys in Andover, Massachusetts were arrested for animal cruelty. They had videotaped themselves on a psychotic rampage through a camp, torturing and killing animals, including setting one chicken on fire with an improvised blow torch and blowing up frogs with firecrackers. They were recently convicted, and as part of their sentence they were ordered to perform 120 hours of service at an animal shelter.
The judge’s idea was, presumably, to teach them compassion for animals, and to see the aftereffects of animal abuse. On the surface, a decent notion.
One catch: nobody asked the animal shelters if they wanted to have these teenagers working on their premises. And they don’t.
They are very uncomfortable, to say the least, at having them on their premises. Animal cruelty is a hallmark of a future serial killer, and even if they just like hurting and killing animals and progress no further, an animal shelter is the last place they should be. One shelter director likened it to putting a pedophile in a day-care center.
While I think the idea of trying to help these kida learn a bit of compassion, there’s absolutely no obligation of the shelters to cooperate. And if they feel that strongly, then the kids ought to be kept far, far away.
If that means that they can’t complete that aspect of their sentence, then so be it. Let them go back to court and hammer out an alternative, or go into detention.