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How Social Media Comes Together for Animal Welfare

How Social Media Comes Together for Animal Welfare

By Ashley Schultz

Social media has always been known for its “virality”. For its capacity of blowing things up; for its mass reach. If it spreads on social media, it is big news. Social media also rips apart everyone, be it politicians, celebs, or even high profile personalities.

In certain cases, before the law can do anything – or if the law has failed to do anything – social media comes first to the rescue. As much as this is true for humans, it is true for animals as well. A 16-year-old teenager thought an act that would gain him popularity actually landed him up in legal troubles when he placed a video of himself kicking a kitten. He faced charges of cruelty to animals after a video shared on Facebook was turned over to authorities. The video went viral and agitated animal activists who hunted his details down and lodged a report against him. Later, Pooja Sakpal, co-founder of Youth Organization in Defense of Animals (YODA) said that a complaint was lodged against Prateek at Versova police station. By early Thursday morning, animal lovers across the city came together to identify the culprit and they managed to trace him down through his common friends. They went to his building at Yari Road and searched for the kitten but it was nowhere to be found. Pratik had been booked under various sections of the Indian Penal Code and the Bombay Police Act and Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act. Yes, what happened in the first place was unfortunate, but what followed makes us feel proud. In this case, social media served as an appropriate tool for the timely communication that helped initiate an open dialogue amongst animal lovers across the city. This could not have been possible without Social Media!

A Tennessee man was charged after he allegedly buried a six-week-old kitten alive. Johnny Mack Rogers, 29, is accused of burying the kitten in a shallow grave at his home in Erwin, TN last month. Police say Rogers drunkenly buried the kitten after a woman at his home stepped on the animal. He was arrested after Unicoi County Animal Shelter Director Kevin King filed a criminal complaint. The complaint says King informed authorities a man and woman had brought the kitten to his animal shelter on June 22 and showed photos of them rescuing the animal from the shallow grave. King said the woman told him another woman at Rogers’ home had stepped on the kitten and Rogers buried the animal, adding that they were both drunk during the incident. The kitten, who was dubbed ‘Warrior’ by animal shelter staff, was brought in covered in dirt and blood. The tiny animal was gasping for air. Warrior was rushed to a local animal clinic where staff worked for more than an hour to clear the kitten’s airways. The kitten later died at the hospital from his injuries. Rogers was charged with felony aggravated animal cruelty. King and his animal shelter are now campaigning in a bid to get Rogers the maximum penalty possible. He shared a photo on Facebook of Warrior covered in dirt and wrapped in a pink blanket. The photo has since been shared more than 1,900 times.  “You all asked and demanded something be done, and I told you I’d make sure he was held accountable. That is going to happen, the court date is September 20. He is going to be charged with Aggravated Animal Cruelty. That is a felony,” King wrote. “Mark your calendars. I want hundreds of people there. We need to show that this is not acceptable behavior in our community and in society.” This again shows how Social Media can be a useful tool in saving those who cannot speak for themselves!

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