I’ve heard many humans say that there is a strong connection between animal and human abuse. While that makes sense, I am not the kind of cat who just spouts off anything I read in a Facebook comment or forum post as if it’s the complete truth. A quick Google search led me to the Pet-Abuse.com site, which quotes a 1997 study done by the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and Northeastern University. It found that “animal abusers are five times more likely to commit violent crimes against people.” I found additional information at the Clinton County SPCA that tied animal cruelty and cruelty to women and children over and over again. So you can rest assured that none of us are making this up: animal and human violence are closely related.
One human who knows more about this than you might expect is BZTAT, the Canton, OH-based artist who is known for her colorful animal paintings and murals, and whose work is familiar to those in the pet-blogging community. She is also a mental health counselor who has been an advocate for children for over 19 years. So when she decided to use her artistic talents as a way to bring awareness to the issue of animal and child abuse, it was really no surprise. She has seen firsthand how art can bring discussion, healing and awareness to important social concerns. That is why she has begun the project called Okey’s Promise.
Okey is a sweet little cat that BZTAT rescued from the streets, whose behavior led BZTAT to believe that she came from a situation where she may have been abused. This is something I understand myself, since my human believes the same thing may have happened to my roommate Boodie. It took a long time to socialize this shy, fearful cat. Even though Boodie has never been treated with anything but kindness since my human brought her home in 2002, she still cringes when someone reaches over to pet her. To honor Okey, and those like her, BZTAT named this new project after her.
Currently, BZTAT is funding her first Okey’s Promise project — a large mural to be put up in the Canton Arts District — through Kickstarter.com, a funding platform for creative projects (a little aside: one of my human’s boyfriend’s bands raised money for their latest album through Kickstarter last year). But right now, she is falling short of her $5,000 goal. Kickstarter will only release the funds for projects if the goal is met. If it is not, then the money is returned. BZTAT only has 6 more days to raise nearly $1000, and I am hoping you will help her! In fact, I have a proposal for you: the first person to give $50 or more to Okey’s Promise Kickstarter page after my blog post goes live will also get a copy of my latest book, personally pawtographed by me! BZTAT does not even know I am offering this yet… because I thought of doing it just now!
I really believe in this project! Canton is only the start — BZTAT wants to put up murals and raise awareness about animal and child cruelty in 6 different cities this year! Let’s help her get Okey’s Promise off to a great start!