The city council of Carson, California, recently voted 5-0 to approve an ordinance that makes it a misdemeanor crime to be a bully. Anyone caught bullying a person 25-years-old or younger is subject to fines under the proposed measure.
“This is a very serious issue that we face not only in the state of California but throughout the United States,” Carson Councilman Mike Gipson, the council member responsible for introducing the ordinance, tells the Daily Breeze. His goal is to make Carson “bully-free.”
Victims of bullies can suffer long-lasting damage as a result of the abuse they must endure. Councilman Gipson says that one young student who was the victim of ruthless bullies from middle school to high school committed suicide in the bathroom of his school following a parent-teacher conference where his bullies were discussed. Bullying is an issue that certainly should be addressed in Carson and beyond.
But People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) hopes the Los Angeles County city will consider expanding their ordinance to protect another population vulnerable to victimization by bullies — dogs.
In a letter sent to Carson Mayor Jim Dear, PETA Special Projects Manager Alicia Woempner urges the town leader to work with the Carson City Council to include four-legged friends in their anti-bullying measure. Woempner cites abuses such as rough handling, the use of prong and shock collars, neglect, and screaming as examples of humans bullying dogs.
They also point out bullying and abuse of animals can often lead to the bullying and abuse of humans. To protect dogs under the proposed Carson ordinance would in turn lead to the protection of potential human victims of bullying.
For Woempner, both children and animals deserve equal protection from bullies.
“Animals are hurt by bullying, just as children are and perhaps more so because they can’t understand why they must repress their natural behavior or what they have done ‘wrong,’” Woempner writes. “It is unacceptable to mistreat any living being, including both human children and dogs.”
Whether PETA’s pleas will lead to action in the Carson City Council meeting on May 20, when the council is set to make a final vote on the anti-bullying measure, still remains to be seen.