“This is one of the most unsettling acts of animal cruelty I have ever witnessed. These defenseless rabbits were forced to endure unthinkable acts of cruelty.” (MSPCA officer Roy Sutton)
Wayne Brackett of North Adams was arrested last week and charged with five counts each of malicious killing of an animal and animal cruelty. Frustrated in his robbery attempt, Brackett proceeded to torture, dismember, and massacre (all documented by surveillance tape) the pet rabbits housed on the property. Only three of the original 17 were recovered. Peter Gollub of the MSPCA said, (TU, 6/13/10) “Regrettably, the savagery repeatedly inflicted upon the helpless rabbits exceeds any brutality I’ve seen in quite a while.”
Inevitably, animal cruelty stories carry a reminder (warning) of the correlation between animal abuse and violence towards other humans (Why Kant Was Wrong). But should that be the moral consideration in this case? Did the rabbits themselves not have intrinsic worth? Tracy Duquette (mother of the six-year-old who kept the rabbits as pets) said (YNN, 6/14/10): “Because he can’t get into a car, he does such violence to these animals. What can he do to a person who really gives him a reason? It’s scary thinking of that.” With apologies to Ms. Duquette, this should be about the slaughtered rabbits, not what he may or may not do to people.
Society should unequivocally state that wanton violence towards any sentient species is a wrong unto itself. If Brackett had viciously attacked small children in this manner, would this hollow explanation from his mother be countenanced in any way: “He’s been an animal lover for life. He was under the influence of alcohol and pills. He’s hurting. …the Wayne that we know was not capable of that.”
The girl’s grandfather referred to Brackett as a monster. Intoxication or grief (he has a cancer-stricken sister) are not defenses for monstrous acts. A person capable of rending a terrified, helpless being is no animal lover. And his hurting, at this juncture, be damned.