Even law enforcement officials and courts have agreed that 32-year-old Redwood City man (name withheld in order to protect the privacy of the accused) must be in need of psychiatric assistance. He spent weeks torturing, and finally killing, his girlfriend and her daughter’s (4) young terrier puppy (4 months), Lucky. Finally suffocating the pet, he placed the pup in a sack and carried him off in some kind of sack. Before that, however, the woman and her young daughter watched as he hung the puppy from a showerhead in a duffle bag just to hear it whimper and whine, sprayed toxic cleaners in its eyes, punched, and kicked it. He was arrested on charges of animal cruelty and given the maximum 3-year sentence in county jail. However, as he has already been incarcerated for 2 of those 3 years, he was sentenced to serve out his last year of the term in a psychiatric facility, where he will hopefully receive the treatment he needs.
In California, some say that, though charges of animal cruelty are taken seriously, the penalties are not nearly harsh enough (CA Penal Code 597). Under this law, domestic animals, as well as strays, wild animals, and farm animals are protected. However, most cases of animal cruelty in the state are not as ‘cut and dry’ as this case. Often, individuals are wrongly prosecuted under this law, especially when over zealous activist groups get involved. There are so many different ways in which to violate this law that even prosecutors and law enforcement officials have a difficult time determining whether actual abuse has occurred. Animal torture is a serious thing indeed and when an animal is beaten, mutilated, or otherwise tormented or tortured to its death, it is the responsibility of law enforcement to protect these innocents. Yet, how, when, and whether abuse has actually occurred is a far more difficult thing to figure out, leading to false accusations and wrongful imprisonment.