Originally Posted by Miss Mew
I think that the charges for animal cruelty should be equal to the charges that would be laid if the victim was a human
pre meditated killing of an animal = life imprisonment etc....
In the US this would never be considered either practical or Constitutionally sound.
Here in NC abuse is a felony with up to three years in prison for each occurrence, but even with a conviction the courts rarely give any more than a small fine or, at most, a few months probation. I've seen far to many cases of abused animals come into our local shelter, and rarely does the news media find it worthwhile to even report it. When a rescue group two counties over took in a dog with an imbedded collar it made the news, but for some reason they aren't interested in the similar cases we see on an almost weekly basis. We took in a small dog that was so matted the feces had packed in along the length of his tail and back legs and was filled with maggots. (I can tell you first hand that was not a fun clean up job.) When the family was eventually identified they were even given their dog back with the only charge that stuck being having and unvaccinated dog.
We had a major bust of a dog fighting ring a few years ago, actually caught in the act! The local DA made plenty of claims about how he was going to handle the case himself and make sure everyone got the maximum penalty, until the press died down. He then passed it off to a junior attorney in the office. We held the 11 dogs (and a group of puppies born three days later) for 18 months. Some of the animals were seriously dangerous (one in particular.) Four (breeding females) were quite nice dogs, including the mom and a puppy that was seized in the original raid. I was ready to ship out mom and the pup as soon as the court released the dogs, but my friend who ran the rescue passed away just 3 weeks before the resolution (she was 42.) We euthanized all the dogs after the court released them. The ring leader, known to be one of the top breeders of fighting dogs IN THE WORLD, got three weekends in jail and was told to pay for the dogs' board for the 18 months ($21,000). He never paid a penny. Authorities from all over the region have been trying to catch him and another major fighting dog breeder, and this is all he got.
All to often the courts impose light sentences on even the worst animal abusers, even when stiff sentences are within the guidelines.