It is a simple fact of human existence that people love their pets – oftentimes, just as much as they love other human beings. Pets become official family members, extremely important to our well-being and happiness. Yet, many of us have also had to deal with that sad moment in which we have to decide between our own desire to keep our pets around and their quality of life. Making that decision can be one of the most difficult things we have to deal with in our lives and it often comes at a high emotional price. Still, we refuse to let the animals that we love suffer and we take that necessary step out or respect for our companions. However, a 34-year-old man from Santa Rosa (name withheld to protect the accused’s identity) was recently arrested on charges of felony animal cruelty when he attempted to euthanize his pet dog, Shadow, on his own, instead of with the help of a veterinarian.
According to California law, there is a vast difference between offering a respectful and peaceful send-off for our pets and animal cruelty. This past March, Shadow was found in a shallow pool of water with neck wounds and legs tied. It has been assumed that this case is one of animal cruelty and not one of an effort to end a beloved pet’s life as peacefully as possible.
If convicted, an individual charged with animal cruelty could face several different penalties. Technically, this crime is considered a ‘wobbler,’ meaning that it is up to prosecutors as to whether to treat it as a misdemeanor or a felony (CA Penal Code 597). A felony violation of the aforementioned law could result in up to 3 years in state prison and a $20,000 fine. Additionally, if it can be proven that there was extreme cruelty in the case, then there may be an additional year added to the sentence.