By Robin Alberti
Killington resident Pam Aievoli gave a presentation this past Wednesday at the Summit Lodge for the Killington Rotary. Sue Skaskiw, Executive Director of Vermont Volunteer Services for Animals Humane Society (VVSA), captured the evening on video, and helped answer questions. VVSA works with law enforcement agencies throughout the state to protect the welfare of animals.
As of Jan. 1 this year, the FBI has begun tracking animal cruelty under a new classification that categorizes the act as a “crime against society.” With these changes, it is now a Group A felony and ranks in the same group as arsonists and murders. Animal cruelty was previously labeled as “other” in crime tracking databases, which made it difficult to find, collate and track incidents of animal cruelty. By re-classifying animal abuse, law enforcement agencies and the FBI will be better able to report, track and quantify incidents of animal abuse.
Studies show that there is a direct correlation between people who abuse animals and those that engage in acts of domestic violence. Also, many studies reveal that children who torture or kill animals are likely to show violence towards people when they grow up. The hope is the new system will help law enforcement identify youth offenders and provide opportunity to help them curb their behavior.
Aievoli launched a foundation this March in honor of her beloved feline companion, whom is no longer with us. Aievoli’s Abyssinian cat was a bit of a local celebrity, seen around town in his extensive wardrobe of sweaters, coats and of course a matching collar and leash.
As we all know, losing a four-legged friend is a very difficult thing to go through. Even after they are gone, owners always hold a special place in the heart of their pets. Aievoli is now focusing her time the new foundation: “TEAM ROMULOUS! For animals who don’t have people like us to take care of them.” The funds raised from this foundation will be used to pay for a sheriff to investigate on-going animal cruelty cases.
You can join “Team Romulous” by mailing a check to: VVSA, P.O. Box 100, Bridgewater, VT 05034. A donation of $50 gets you Founder status, and a $25 donation makes you a Member of “Team Romulous!” To insure that the donation goes directly to the Cruelty Investigations, write “Team Romulous!” in the memo. Donations may also be mad online at www.vvsahs.org.