This is an amazing story and innovative concept … allowing animal victims to face their abusers in court. In this situation, a pit bull named Louis Vuitton, who was beaten with a shovel and set on fire in Montgomery, Alabama, was allowed to attend a parole hearing of his abuser. Parole was denied. This brings up a larger issue regarding animal cruelty. Under the laws of all states, animals are deemed property. And although all states have laws protecting animals from cruelty, those laws do not label animals as “victims” for purposes of coming to court. When it comes to criminal prosecutions, victims have rights (including the right to be present at hearings and to address the court). Property items are never deemed victims. Now we may all agree that Louis did not understand what the parole hearing was about, but there is something to be said about having judges look into the eyes of those victims who have survived heinous acts of cruelty in order to render an appropriate sentence. Send me your thoughts on this interesting issue.

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