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Letter: Accused abuser needs to be accountable

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Regardless of the circumstances that led Dwight Bennett to be charged with 70 counts of felony animal abuse, he must be held accountable for the suffering he caused these animals. Neglect is most certainly a form of abuse, and Mr. Bennett was ultimately responsible for the well-being of his many horses and dogs. If he was unable to care for them, he owed it to them to find someone who could, rather than let them die a slow and painful death from starvation. His lack of empathy for animals who had no other recourse should be addressed during his prosecution and sentencing, if he is convicted. As a psychologist who studies animal cruelty, I know that abusers often benefit from counseling in addition to punishment to fully address their actions (or inactions), and to help prevent something this tragic from happening again. A program called AniCare exists for this purpose and is available in California. Kenneth Shapiro, PhD, Washington Grove, Maryland