So much concern about animal abuse, so little about child abuse

February 10, 2011

The Baltimore Sun has, along with other media, followed closely the trial of two brothers accused of animal abuse ("Mistrial in case against twins accused of burning pit bull," Feb. 8). The pictures of the badly burned dog have generated outrage by concerned citizens throughout our community. The same response occurred recently when cats were also intentionally injured. Our previous mayor created a Task Force on the Prevention of Animal Abuse.

While this is an important problem in our community, a far greater problem is the abuse of children of all ages. Perhaps the same outrage and concern would be expressed if we were able to show pictures of burned children or children with bruises and broken bones. Confidentiality rules apply to children, but not to animals.

Animal lovers frequently note how difficult it can be to care for animals who were previously abused. They are often frightened, unable to get close to people or angry. The mental health consequences on children can impact them throughout life. They are often frightened and suffer from high levels of anxiety. They frequently have relationship difficulties, and they too can have anger that interferes with their ability to grow and be successful.

Don't forget our children.

Stanley E. Weinstein, Baltimore

The writer is president and CEO of the Woodbourne Center, Inc., a residential mental health center for children.

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