The horrifying torture and slaying of a 14-year-old Cocker Spaniel in Payson has commanded the attention of the national humane society.
Not only was this heinous crime disturbing to everyone who owns and loves their pets, but the implications also are troubling.
Somewhere in the Rim country is an individual or group of individuals who, during a party, deliberately aimed an arrow at a small dog, pulled back the bow and let the arrow fly, impaling the dog's abdomen.
Then, knowing they had severely wounded the dog, they did nothing. No one attempted to take the wounded, bleeding dog to the vet. Instead, they broke off the tip of the arrow to dispose of evidence.
The dog, according to a trail of blood, wandered around the yard until it went into her dog house to lay down and die.
According to Payson Police Officer Joni Varga, who has spent considerable time on this case, this dog suffered for hours before dying.
There is an established connection between cruelty to animals and violence against humans. In fact, an indicator of future violence against people is cruelty to animals perpetrated by children.
Serial killers like Ted Bundy, Jeffrey Dahmer, Gary Ridgeway and even the boys involved in the massacre at Columbine High School began their violent histories with torturing animals -- later graduating to humans.
My hope is that whoever committed this crime feels some kind of remorse. It's just a shame the remorse did not set in earlier when the dog might have been saved from its prolonged suffering and death.
Many people consider their pets to be their children. Like children, animals are dependent upon their owners for care and nurturing. They often are defenseless against predators and when possible, it is our job to protect them.
The dog's owners couldn't have known, nor expected, that during their trip to the Valley, someone would perpetrate such an unconscionable act on their beloved pet.
This crime clearly shows a reckless disregard for life and serious punitive consequences are appropriate. It shows a lack of empathy that is frightening.
Whether it's psychiatric treatment or jail time -- the individual who killed the dog, and those who witnessed the incident and took no action, must be brought to justice.
If you have any information about this case, please call the police department at (928) 474-5177.