On Monday, the Supreme Judicial Court, in a unanimous decision, ruled that juveniles cannot be charged as adults for physically torturing animals because the legal term “bodily injury” only applies to human beings.
According to the Boston Globe, the court ordered the dismissal of animal cruelty and bestiality charges against a 14-year-old boy after he allegedly forced a soap dispenser into the animal’s body causing “serious internal injuries to the dog.” Prosecutors indicted the teen who remains unnamed because of his age, as a youthful offender which meant he could have faced punishment as an adult if convicted.
In the decision, the court stated the charges were “extremely disturbing” however the state Legislature did not explicitly include animals in 1996 when creating the youthful offender process for minors accused of violent crimes.
State Senator Bruce Tarr stated he will propose to amend the law.
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