A Forgotten Life: Is Animal Cruelty Being Ignored?
A vigil is planned to remember an animal that was beaten to death one year ago, and to raise awareness about how animal cruelty is handled in Ocean County.
The incident happened in Lacey Township in December 2018, when a raccoon caught in a snare trap was repeatedly beaten with a baseball bat until it died. Video of this beating was shared on social media by the youths that did it.
Although the animal cruelty with video proof caused an immediate public outcry for action, the Ocean County Prosecutor’s office, who had the responsibility of animal cruelty enforcement, was completely silent.
In March 2019 the New Jersey Fish and Wildlife council saw the video.
In their minutes they admitted the raccoon was treated inhumanly but the council refused to revoke the trapping license from the youths, and referred the matter back to the County prosecutor’s office to handle.
Winter turned to spring, and the Ocean County Prosecutor’s office continued to remain silent.
In July 2019 Senator Bob Smith was shown the video. This prompted him to write a letter to Attorney General Gurbir Grewal requesting that the Ocean County prosecutor address this cruelty, and also recommended that the youth’s trapping license be taken away.
To date, Senator Smith’s requests have been ignored.
Now, one year after the raccoon beating, the Ocean County Prosecutor’s office still remains silent about this case, stating they cannot comment on juvenile matters.
“This isn’t true,” said Barry Bendar of the Lacey Raccoon Task Force, an animal abuse awareness group that formed after the incident. “The Ocean County prosecutor issues press releases about other juvenile cases, so why won’t they tell the public what steps were taken regarding this animal cruelty case? Is it because they are completely ignoring their enforcement responsibility?”
A December 6th vigil is planned at the Ocean County Prosecutor’s office on Hooper Ave. from 2-5 pm by the Lacey Raccoon Task Force.
Bendar said “We want to remember this animal’s life, and help keep the spotlight on animal cruelty cases that should never be ignored by the prosecutor.”