LETTERS: Animal protection deserves legislation

To the editor:

The editorial on animal cruelty bills seriously misses the mark by characterizing animal cruelty as a “feel-good” issue politicians use to win votes from animal advocates (“Animal planet,” Aug. 26 Review-Journal). Such a position minimizes the plight of abused victims and the viciousness of hardened criminals, and insults sincere efforts to address each as “nonsense.”

Improvements to animal welfare laws often come in the wake of horrifying acts no one would consider lightly, including the recent case in a Reno motel room, where the decapitated heads of four dogs were found, along with evidence of torture inflicted on at least seven dogs. This egregious act of cruelty raised the critical and relevant question of whether a person who commits such crimes should be required to undergo mandatory counseling. Contrary to your suggestion, research confirms that animal cruelty is directly linked to other forms of violence.

A study of 11 U.S. cities revealed that a history of pet abuse is one of the four most significant indicators of who is at greatest risk of becoming a domestic batterer; a Texas study showed that batterers who abuse animals were more violent to their partners; and, in a Wisconsin study, 68 percent of women reported their abusive partners had been violent toward animals. The FBI identified the link between animal cruelty and violence against people back in the 1970s, and they include consideration of these acts in their threat assessments of suspects.

Recognizing the connection between family violence and animal cruelty, the National District Attorneys Association developed the National Center for Prosecution of Animal Abuse, and the U.S. Department of Justice recently formed an Animal Cruelty Working Group to further understanding of these links among the law enforcement community.

Debating serious animal welfare issues while addressing other important state matters such as mental health, education and tax policy is something Nevada legislators can do. But more importantly, it’s something they should do. The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals looks forward to working with them to enact strong anti-cruelty laws that improve and protect our communities, and demonstrate the highest values to which we can aspire.

KEVIN O’NEILL

GOLD RIVER, CALIF.

The writer is senior legislative director of the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals’ Western Region.

Medical marijuana

To the editor:

Regarding medical marijuana, Rep. Dina Titus stated she supported an amendment to a bill stipulating that financial institutions would not be penalized for working with the medical marijuana industry (“Titus: U.S. law will keep banks out of the medical pot industry,” Aug. 28 Review-Journal). The amendment was also supported by Reps. Joe Heck and Steve Horsford. Rep. Mark Amodei voted against it.

All four Nevada representatives voted for another amendment that denied funds for the Justice Department to prosecute doctors and others who abide by state laws.

Rep. Titus also said the political atmosphere is not ready for changing the federal drug classification of marijuana from a Schedule 1 drug. This classification was done in 1970 and groups marijuana with drugs such as heroin and LSD. There is currently a bill in committee (H.R. 5226: Charlotte’s Web Medical Hemp Act of 2014) that would exclude therapeutic hemp and cannbidiol from the definition of marijuana. It was introduced by Rep. Scott Perry on July 28. The bill would lift the federal ban on medical marijuana once and for all.

If the Republican-controlled House can pass amendments allowing banks to handle funds from medical marijuana shops and stop the Justice Department from prosecuting doctors and growers who abide by state laws, why wouldn’t it consider changing the federal law that bans marijuana as a dangerous drug with no medical benefits? I wrote to Rep. Titus three weeks ago urging her to support H.R. 5226. I never heard back from her.

All four of our representatives in the House need to show their support for lifting the federal ban on medical marijuana. Saying the political atmosphere is not right is taking the coward’s way out. They need to take a stand now, especially Rep. Titus.

BOB MUELLER

LAS VEGAS

Michael Brown funeral

To the editor:

The Review-Journal reported that Rep. Steven Horsford attended the funeral service in Ferguson, Mo., for Michael Brown, a young black man shot by a white police officer (“Horsford attends ‘powerful service’ for slain Missouri teen,” Aug. 26). What I’d like to know is whether or not Rep. Horsford attended any of the services for the seven people killed in Chicago the previous weekend. I’ve not seen any reports that Rep. Horsford or Al Sharpton had time to honor those unfortunate souls.

ROBERT R. KESSLER

LAS VEGAS

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