Last week, a man in Lee County was arrested on animal cruelty charges after it was discovered he had branded his dog and docked the dog’s tail without anesthesia. Lee County Domestic Animal Services veterinarian Suzanne Vazzana explained that branding can cause “considerable pain and suffering.”

We hope that if this individual is found guilty that he receives the maximum penalty and loses custody of the dog. But it is a sad reflection on how society views animals that tail docking and branding are among the painful mutilations commonly suffered by cows in the beef and dairy industries in Florida, without any action from law enforcement.

Cows, like the dog in Lee County, suffer third-degree burns from branding. Cows, like all animals, are protected under Florida’s anti-cruelty statute (828.12). Unfortunately, it would be very difficult to convince a prosecutor to file criminal charges against a farmer for branding or cutting off the tail of a cow.

We look forward to a day when dogs and cows are no longer treated differently under the law.