EDUCATE INDIVIDUALS WHO HAVE MISTREATED ANIMALS: The first of its kind in the nation, Benchmark Animal Rehabilitative Curriculum (B.A.R.C.) is a powerful and comprehensive online course designed to inspire change in attitudes and actions toward animals in individuals who have mistreated them. B.A.R.C.’s educational and informative curriculum is intended to create a positive change in behavior by increasing students’ awareness of the value and needs of all sentient beings. The primary goal of the B.A.R.C. course is to instill empathy and compassion toward animals, thereby reducing the likelihood that those who have abused or neglected in the past will reoffend. B.A.R.C. also plays an important role in fulfilling the vision of The B.A.R.C. Team; namely, that every animal enjoys a safe and compassionate environment, free from any and all types of abuse. The B.A.R.C. program was developed, and is administered, by a non-profit organization.
B.A.R.C. is open only to adults and juveniles (aged 15-17) who have been referred to the course by a member of the criminal justice system (e.g., judge, prosecutor, defense attorney, or probation officer), an animal control professional, a social services agency, an educational institution, or a mental health professional. In order to ensure that the person referred to the course is the same person taking it, B.A.R.C. includes an important security measure with eProktor, an advanced facial recognition technology that utilizes a computer’s webcam to authenticate each student’s identity.
B.A.R.C.: SATISFYING CRIMINAL LAWS THAT REQUIRE ANIMAL CRUELTY PREVENTION EDUCATION
Many state criminal statutes require that those convicted of violating animal cruelty laws participate in an animal cruelty prevention and education program. B.A.R.C. fulfills a vital need by providing the criminal justice system with an animal cruelty prevention course as a referral option for offenders who have been convicted of violating animal cruelty laws and are, therefore, required to complete some type of educational rehabilitative program. Even if not required to do so, having offenders complete a course on humane education and animal cruelty prevention, helps reduce the likelihood that they will reoffend.
B.A.R.C.: AS AN ALTERNATIVE TO CRIMINAL PROSECUTION
The B.A.R.C. course can be used as a form of diversion in cases where there is either insufficient evidence to file criminal charges, or in instances where education, rather than criminal prosecution, is the more appropriate option.
B.A.R.C.: EDUCATING ON A BROAD RANGE OF ANIMAL CRUELTY PREVENTION TOPICS
The B.A.R.C. course addresses a broad range of animal cruelty prevention issues. The curriculum highlights the legal, moral, financial, and practical day-to-day commitments required of those who own or keep animals. Students learn that animals of all species, like humans, experience a range of emotions, and are capable of experiencing physical and psychological pain and suffering. Specific forms of abuse, such as intentional cruelty, neglect, illegal animal fighting, and hoarding, are addressed in depth. The course also covers such topics as changes in society’s attitudes towards animals; the growing involvement of law enforcement agencies in animal protection; a description of the various laws that exist to protect animals; the responsible care of animals; the pros and cons of pet ownership; and when and how it is acceptable to relinquish a pet.