BALTIMORE (WJZ)—A cat and dog burned. Because of two high-profile animal abuse cases in Baltimore there’s a push to protect pets.

Gigi Barnett has a look at the lessons being taught to Baltimore students.            

In class at Success Academy in Baltimore, students learn that Baltimore has many abuse cases. Among the most recent: Marilyn, a stray cat beaten by two boys until her hind leg broke.

There’s also Phoenix, the pit bull pup at the center of an animal abuse case against brothers Travers and Tremayne Johnson.

Prosecutors say the teens set Phoenix on fire in May 2009. It’s cause enough for the Maryland SPCA to target teens who may have seen animal cruelty first-hand because in Baltimore, many suspects in animal abuse cases are teens or young children.

Kyle Kessenich teaches at Success Academy. She says she became alarmed during a class discussion about NFL quarterback Michael Vick’s dog fighting conviction.

“They thought it was perfectly fine,” Kessenich said. “They had no problem with anything he had done, and I was surprised.”

“I try to take Milli to as many places as I can,” said Katie Flory, SPCA spokeswoman.

The school invited the SPCA and 4-year-old pit bull Milli to class.

“We need to start talking to them as young as they are,” said a Flory. “By the time they’re adults, their minds are already made up.”

“That’s not the right way to go because they’re living creatures also,” said a student.

But will it work? Stemming the tide of Baltimore’s abuse cases may start in school.

“It takes education,” Flory said. “And with the boys, it’s going to take more than one day.”

The SPCA says it first teaches teens about their responsibility to protect animals and tells them about how the city is cracking down on these cases.

Comments (8)
  1. urnotfunny says:

    Of course they thought it was perfectly fine and you think bringing the SPCA to your classroom is going to make a difference. That mentality won’t change because of a little talk.

    1. Green Knight says:

      spoken by someone who undervalues properly-conducted education.

  2. marlene says:

    programs like this will HELP turn the tide on animal abuse-good going

  3. Amanda Plaine says:

    l;ets hope so

  4. Stacey V-AwarenessHelps Citraro says:

    This is great news and if started at a young enough age, it may make a difference and promote a more compassionate and respectful world. This should be implemented across the board at all schools in the USA and elsewhere… Awareness and Education are the answer. |||

  5. willie man hanging says:

    Nothing & I repeat nothing will change until families teach their own children respect for human life. Black kids in particular have no real role models. Dad is in jail, dead or out knocking up some other woman, Mom is in the detention center. I know this because I worked with these woman for eight years. Grandmom is the last defense.Their role models are bunch of hip hop a-holes, Puff Daddy gangs dudes & the pro athlete thugs. Nothing will change until they become family.

  6. Cynthia Ciarpella says:

    Awareness does help. We need to start with pre-k groups. The younger the better. Not all parents (black or white) teach their children to be compassionate towards animals. I have known plenty of ignorant white people who have uttered “it’s just a dog” or “it’s just a cat” when discussing the plight of animals with them.

  7. JeanneG says:

    Whether it truly is enough or not, it’s a start. Change requires a beginning. Thank-you to the MD SPCA for taking time to come out and speak to this group. If you made a connection with even ONE individual, it was a success. For those of you saying it’s not enough, I hope you are making your own efforts to bring about change and not just sitting behind your computer judging.

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