Tag: animal abuse

Heartbreak in the Heartland

White horse painting by BZTAT
“Survivor” painting by BZTAT

Tragedy has hit way too close to home for me this week. I posted on Monday about one tragedy, and now, another one has hit even closer for me.

Animals are very special to me, and knowing that violence towards animals has direct links to violent acts towards human beings, I take any reports of animal abuse very seriously. When a heinous act of animal abuse happens in my community, it tears my heart apart. Sadly, that has happened this week.

Sunday night, two horses were maliciously gunned down in a field in rural Canton Township just south of Canton, OH where I live. The field is along a road that I frequently travel when I visit my friends who live nearby. My friends also have horses, as do many people living in this rural countryside area.

The two horses apparently bled to death and they were not discovered until the next day.

Any senseless act of violence such as this stuns the senses. But this act was particularly jarring. One of the horses was a therapy horse for a girl with autism, and the other belonged to a 15 year old girl. These two girls and their families have suffered immeasurable loss.

I am an avid pet lover and I understand the human-animal bond that exists between a human being and a pet. Even so, I recognize that the relationship between a human being and a horse takes that bond to a unique and special level. There is a soulfulness between horse and rider that rises to a level of connection that is not matched anywhere else in our world. I cannot imagine the pain of having that connection so violently and hatefully broken, especially to a young girl.

I am not one to dwell on pain and hate. It is my nature to try to do what I can to promote healing and hope. In that spirit, I am in the process of reaching out to these two families to extend a special gift to them. Both girls who have experienced such great loss will be receiving BZTAT portraits of their beloved horses to remind them of the special moments that they shared together. Certainly, this gift will not replace their beloved equine friends, nor will it take the pain away. It is one thing that I can do, however, to excise my own pain and hopefully bring some healing to these two girls. I hope that it will show them that there are more people in this world that care than there are hateful ones.

Also, as a Board Member for Peace for Pets, a local group offering Safe Haven services to pets affected by domestic violence, I am happy to announce that we are, thanks to a generous donor, offering a $1000 reward for any information leading to the conviction of the perpetrators of this crime. Any information about the crime should be directed to the Stark County Sheriff’s Office at 330-430-3800.

My hope is that the perpetrator is brought to justice so that he or she will be stopped from causing any more pain for man or beast. And I hope that the affected families will be consoled by the knowledge that their community cares.

“One of the most dangerous things that can happen to a child is to kill or torture an animal and get away with it.” -Anthropologist Margaret Mead.

Life is an Adventure!


Okey's Promise: Art Raising Awareness for Animals, Kids and Families

I started the fund raising campaign for the latest Okey’s Promise: Art for a Cause project many months ago. Several Promise Keepers have contributed to the project, yet it still remains way under the original fund raising goal.

I am still raising funds for the project, and I hope that you will consider contributing to the campaign. You can contribute here at the Okey’s Promise GoFundMe page.

Public Art Mural of a Boy Drawing
Design for Okey’s Promise Mural by BZTAT

The project will be scaled back if the goal is not reached, but it will be completed.

You can see what the project is about by watching the video. I think it tells the story better than anything I can write here. The overall mission for Okey’s Promise is to raise awareness to the connections between animal abuse, child abuse and domestic violence.

Public Art Mural of a girl and cat
Design for Okey’s Promise Mural by BZTAT

I have been working with an organization called Peace for Pets in Stark County, OH that provides foster care for the pets of families seeking shelter from domestic violence. We work closely with the Domestic Violence Project, Inc. to assist families in need so that finding safety for their pets is not a barrier to finding safety for themselves.

It is my hope that many other communities will adopt similar programs. It is so essential.

Public Art Mural of a Boy and a Dog
Design for Okey’s Promise Mural by BZTAT

Does your community assist families in domestic crisis with shelter for their pets? Please share in the comments.

And please consider contributing to the art project to raise awareness, and share with others.

Thank you for your support!