I've found that sometimes the greatest friend and family member can be a pet! Dogs, cats, gerbils, whatever! They can offer you more love and loyalty than most humans can or are willing to give. They deserves to be loved and treated with as many rights are people have.
Animals have feelings, personality, hopes and dreams, likes and dislikes just as much as any human does. All animals, domestic or wild, should have a chance to live and be treated fairly. Whenever I read or hear about animal abuse, it just makes me so sad.
And you know that if a person can do that to a animal, they will be able to easily harm a human. That fact alone should be enough to have bigger penalties for animal cruelty.