April is Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Month, and I urge readers to help keep their communities safe for everyone by being alert to signs of cruelty and neglect, and always reporting known or suspected abuse to law enforcement authorities immediately.

Animal abusers are bullies and cowards who victimize the defenseless, and their targets often include members of their own species.

In fact, the FBI has found that a history of cruelty to animals regularly appears in its records of serial rapists and murderers, and it uses reports of cruelty to animals when gauging the threat potential of suspected and known criminals. As someone who deals with dozens of cruelty-to-animals cases every week, I have seen case after case in which people who abuse animals commit similar crimes against members of their own communities and families.

Each of us can help stop the cycle of violence in its tracks by never letting any cruelty go unreported. For more ways to help animals, visit www.PETA.org.

Martin Mersereau

Emergency Response Team Cruelty Investigations Department director for PETA

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