Shirley Chan
This is writing…

Another of God’s beautiful creations

by Shirley Chan
(Rotorua Daily Post, SPCA insert)

Our pets are one of the family and should be treated as so

Research has shown the link between animal cruelty and violence against humankind. Most serial killers and serious criminals begin with torture and cruelty to animals and then progress to crimes against human beings.

Richard Kuklinski, nicknamed The Ice Man, admitted to torturing animals from childhood. He became a contract hit man for the Mafia, executing over 200 tortures and killings, all cold-bloodedly, completely devoid of emotion.

This is a sobering thought for anyone who knows of or has witnessed animal cruelty and has done nothing to intervene. We then become accessories to the crime and are similarly guilty of it. By turning a blind eye, we are inadvertently guilty of encouraging an environment of potential criminals for our children to grow up in.

With this consideration in mind, the SPCA’s One of the Family campaign attempts to reach out to children and teenagers to help them understand the special bond between pets and their human families. Children need to understand that a good relationship is built on mutual respect and love. Pets, like their human counterparts, thrive on love, kindness and respect. They need to belong as much as we do. Somewhere to call their own. Someone to call their own.

Empathy is the identification with and understanding of another’s situation, feelings and motives. Compassion is the ability to feel for another. It is these two qualities that enable us to care for our children, be kind to others, reach out in times of sorrow and need.

We feed our children, make sure they are warm, keep them out of the rain, wash them, bring them to the doctor for health checks or when they are hurt or ill, give them fresh water, fresh food, ensure they get their nutrients and nourishment. We teach them respect, kindness and social etiquette so they will be good, contributing adults to our society.

A pet is a living, breathing being, needing love, care, security and comfort too. A pet is in more dire straits because it has lost its own kind. You and your family are its only semblance of love and family, its only chance of belonging. Your pet depends totally on you for everything. Shouldn’t you also extend your empathy and compassion to another of God’s beautiful creatures – your pet?

SPCA’s manager, Nicola Martin asks, “Would you leave your children out in the cold or the rain? Would you forget to feed them or give them water? Would you lock them out of your warm, cosy home? Would you not get medical attention when they need it?” If not, then why should you deprive another living, breathing loving, loyal member of your family of compassionate consideration? Your pet is really a part of your family once you commit to adopting it.

The SPCA cannot stress enough that our families should not only be of the human kind. Our pets are very much a part of our family too. By treating all our family members with respect and awarding each with love, attention, care and respect they deserve, we establish a healthy relationship. In the process, human beings will be more likely to treat each other with greater consideration and children will most likely grow up with empathy and compassion, creating a better world for all who live in it.

Norm Hewitt is working closely with the SPCA against animal abuse, actively supporting and leading the SPCA’s in-school programme to teach children positive behaviour. Details are found on