Consequences for animal abuse in Indiana are very weak, according to animal advocates

Posted at 2:16 AM, Apr 20, 2018
and last updated 2018-04-20 02:16:48-04

INDIANAPOLIS -- Animal advocates in Indiana say the consequences for abuse in the state are practically non-existent.

"It's almost nothing. It's almost like getting a traffic ticket," said State Representative Linda Lawson.

Cindy Lou's owners had dyed the one-year-old puppy blue and she was living in a fish tank. 

"Cindy Lou was confiscated in a drug house that was being raided. A lot of the symptoms when we got her were based on being addicted to meth," said Kathy Gilbert, Cindy Lou's foster mom.

Gilbert is the president of Waldo's Muttley Crew, an animal rescue in Central Indiana. She says the puppy was showing signs of drug withdrawal.

"I think it's a miracle that she was able to recover," says Gilbert.

Rep. Lawson has been fighting for legislation to protect pets like Cindy Lou, with stronger animal welfare laws. 

She says the biggest hurdle she has had to face is the fact Indiana is an agricultural state.

"We have a difficult problem making people understand that there is a huge difference between animals that are kept for agriculture and those that have companion animals," says Rep. Lawson.

A former sex crimes investigator for the Hammond Police Department, Rep. Lawson believes domestic violence is directly connected with animal abuse, and for many it starts with the family pet. 

"Violence is violence. Whether the victim is a dog, the victim is a cat, or the victim is a five year old.  It grows, it makes things much worse in the future, and it does not go away," said Rep. Lawson.

Lawson says people concerned about Indiana's animal welfare laws should reach out to their local lawmakers. She says Indiana has the weakest animal welfare laws compared to surrounding states.

If you'd like to learn more about animal rescue or how to adopt Cindy Lou, click here.  

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