Op-Ed: California should have an animal abuser registry  »

Presenting another op-ed, this time from guest contributor Kaya Coleman! The views expressed in this op-ed do not necessarily represent those of Vegansaurus as a whole, but we’re happy to give her the space to express her opinions. If you would like to write an op-ed for Vegansaurus, please contact Laura.

Cheyenne Cherry is a perfect example of why California should register people convicted of animal cruelty like they do sex offenders.

When trashing her former roommate’s apartment, Cheyenne Cherry stuck the girl’s cat, Tiger Lily, in a 500-degree oven, and left it there to die. She’s calling the act “a joke.” The horrifying idea that someone purposely trapped a cat in a hot oven, ignoring her crying and scratching at the oven door, is truly frightening. Cherry shows no remorse for her actions—she even taunted the animal rights activists who held signs like “Justice for Tiger Lily” outside the courtroom at her trial, sticking her tongue out and shouting “It’s dead, bitch!”

Cherry was sentenced to two years in jail, and she can’t own a pet for three years. But really, is that enough? Research shows that there is a strong correlation between animal abuse and other crimes, including rape, robbery, murder, sexual homicide, and domestic abuse.

Not surprisingly, this isn’t Cherry’s first offense. Last year, she took a Yorkshire terrier using a BB gun, and robbed a man of his iPod at gunpoint.

It’s amazing the monstrosities people are capable of when it comes to animals. How far removed is roasting a cat from roasting a turkey? What’s the difference, besides the way society views one animal as a pet and the other as food? Cheyenne Cherry did something cruel and outrageous enough to land in the news, but people do nearly the same thing every night when they prepare dinner. Where do we draw the line? And what about the connection between cruelty to animals and cruelty to humans? History tells us it’s close—disturbingly close.

Thankfully, Cheyenne Cherry won’t be lurking near your local animal shelter any time soon; still, it’s scary that people like her exist. An online registry, like California’s sex offender registry would not only enable people to know whether animal abusers are living in their neighborhood, but also act as a resource for shelters adopting out pets, and help law enforcement track people like Cherry: people who abuse animals, run dog-fighting rings, hoard and neglect animals—who often relocate to flee punishment — so that they can be caught and convicted.

Thanks to Kayla Coleman for this guest post! Kayla is a freelance artist and writer in the Bay Area. When she’s not baking vegan goods or spoiling her pets, she is working on her up and coming blog, Babe in Soy Land — look for it!

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