Shocking News…Animals had Legal Rights Before Children

Anyone who knows me is aware of my affection for animals and birds. Once upon a time, I was a licensed wild bird rehabilitator. Vern built large flight cages in our Sacramento County backyard, and I nurtured wounded and sick birds back to health, moved them to the outdoor enclosure, and gave them the best chance at being returned to the wild.

But I was shocked to learn–during my training as a child advocate–that a U.S. law was signed providing protection to animals before a law was signed protecting our nation’s children. This fact has always bothered me. (To see this for yourself, go to:

Once while I was at a fair in California, a large woman began abusing her small child, slapping his face, knocking his glasses to the ground, and reddening his cheeks. The crowd all around her stopped talking and stared.

I ran for the nearest law enforcement officer, but by the time we arrived at the scene the woman and little boy were gone.

Ever since that day, it has bothered me that I was the only one who tried to help, and I’ve wondered why. What were the bystanders afraid of? That crazed woman? There were dozens of them and only one of her. And I’ve worried about that little boy. By now, he’s a man (if he survived his mother). I’ve prayed for him.

A great many years ago, I was severely neglected by my mother, a single parent, and I was also the victim of much bullying by kids at school. It’s no wonder that I’ve begun speaking on the topic of child abuse, offering hope, and giving direction as to what can be done to improve a child’s chances of recovering from such horrors.

The more resilient a child is, the better are his or her chances of making a full recovery from abuse. We can contribute to a child’s ability to bounce back and to become successful adults by building a shield of protection around his or her heart. Here’s how it’s done.

  1. Reach out to a child in need–Does the child need a coat, shoes, shorts for P.E., breakfast, a new backpack?
  2. Smile at little children.
  3. Be a voice of encouragement–your praise may be the only one they hear.
  4. Be a voice of positive identity–you may be the only one telling them what they can become, a doctor, an astronaut, a teacher, etc.
  5. Listen with empathy–you may be the only one with whom the child tells his pain.
  6. Acknowledge the child’s feelings. One way is to begin with, I understand why that would make you ____ (angry, sad, confused, embarrassed.)
  7. Get involved in a child’s life–be a mentor, a child advocate, a tutor, a friend.
  8. Pray for the children. They are the leaders of tomorrow.

Love the children, for love covers a multitude of sins.


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2 thoughts on “Shocking News…Animals had Legal Rights Before Children

  1. I can relate as well after growing up in a single parent home after my father died when I was 12. I saw things in my home that no child should see and it left me troubled and bewildered for many years.
    I can hardly stand to see the pictures or hear news reports of children who are hungry and abused. I wonder where the church is at times? Shouldn’t the body of Christ be the first to step in? We have the answer,which is the love of God. I keep thinking of the words of Jesus when He said “in as much as you’ve done it unto these….”

    1. Ron, I appreciate your interaction with me on my blog. I’m thankful to have these opportunities to share my heart with you, and more importantly to hear yours.

      I’m sorry that you had a childhood such as no child should have and I understand fully how it grieves you to hear of children’s suffering at the hands of a parent or another.

      Those of us who experienced such injustice, and who have received the grace of God to recover have a remarkable opportunity to encourage those who have suffered as we once did.

      And, yes, the Body of Christ is the first step. This is where we can help, because I imagine that most of the church and the world are ignorant concerning the plight of so many of our children.

      In the United States, approximately 700,000 confirmed cases of child maltreatment were reported in 2012.

      Since I completed my memoir, I’ve had numerous opportunities to speak on radio stations throughout the U.S. and at community service organizations. The response has surprised me. Most listeners are not aware of the enormity of the epidemic of child abuse, neglect and child endangerment.

      My other observation is that people do care, but many don’t know that they can help, and that helping is not difficult. Since this is the case, I guess one of my functions is talking about my own experiences (I’m so grateful that I wasn’t a physical or sexual abuse victim) and letting folks know how they can help.

      Maybe, and especially with God’s help and the support and prayers of friends, my efforts will make a difference.

      Thank you for writing.


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