I am stunned with the regularity of news stories where people guilty of serious crimes are given very light punishment – in cases of cruelty to animals and humans.
It has happened again, this time in Ohio, where a trio of family member had hundreds of charges of animal cruelty dropped. The puppy mill was raided in November of last year and WHIOTV.com reports a veterinarian involved in the raid said she was shocked at how bad the conditions were.
So what the did the court system do, in response to the reported horrible conditions the accused forced the animal to live in? After hundreds of charges were dropped, one was sentenced for disorderly conduct, fines of $250 and a 30-day jail sentence (which could be dropped if the fines are paid). Another family member got one charge of animal cruelty and 90 days in jail and a $250 fine (that sentence could be suspended if she gets a mental health evaluation and pays the fines).
The final member of the trio got one animal cruelty charge and 90 days jail sentence, which could be dropped.
And the judge tells them they can’t have animals for two years. What do criminals have to do get the book thrown at them? Some end up serving time. But too often the penalties are extremely weak, as is the case in this case. And really? – A two-year ban on having animals? The ban should be for life in cases like this – period.
And what about the victims? When will the courts show more concern for the victims?
I wish we could see this news story repeated all over the country. Thanks to a great donation, Dallas County (Texas) will get an Animal Cruelty Unit to investigate and prosecute cases of abuse to animals.
In a Dallas Morning News story, prosecutor Heath Harris was quoted as saying –
We want people to know that if you abuse our four-legged citizens we are going to come down on you.
The group Safer Dallas Better Dallas helped raise the funds and donated the money to the county, for the two-person cruelty unit. I hope Harris’ strong words are a sign the area is serious about coming down hard on these criminals.
What a great idea. I hope more counties will fund these units.
An NBCDFW.com article noted the funds are for one year, but the county commissioners want to keep the program going.
In Missouri last week, a man charged with dog fighting pleaded guilty to one count, as part of a plea deal to reduce the number from four original counts. His punishment for this horrible crime? – A three-year suspended sentence, a $3,000 fine and five years of probation.
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch story also reports he cannot ‘own’ or live in a residence with a dog, but it does not indicate if this only for the probation period. Once again, a VERY weak sentence for taking part in the torture of animals.
And in the Bronx, NY, a man pleaded guilty to taking part in a major dog-fighting operation. He was sentenced to one to three years in prison for animal fighting and one year for animal cruelty. But he will serve them concurrently.
He is only barred from having animals during the period of his parole, as reported by the North Country Gazette. For one thing, who in their right mind would think a person guilty of dog fighting should ever be able to be around animals?
He be out in no time and dogs will again be at risk. And the other dog fighters who see how lenient the courts are will continue to torture animals.