When justice is served in an unconventional manner, one Ohio woman will likely think twice before she neglects her dog again. As judges have become more resolute when handing out fines and prison sentences for animal cruelty and neglect cases, perhaps when the punishment actually fits the crime, there is more of an impact on a society where slaps on the wrists have become too commonplace.
Take for instance Painesville, Ohio Judge Michael Cicconetti, who decided the fate of admitted animal abuser, Alyssa Morrow. The woman had abandoned her seven-year-old pit bull, Moose and left him alone in the house with no food or water. When animal control officers arrived, they found the dog living in abominable filth and squalor crammed with junk and filled with feces and urine. According to AbcNews, Moose was emaciated, and lucky for the pooch, authorities were able to remove him from the egregious conditions and slowly bring him back to health.
Morrow could have been fined or sent to jail, but Judge Cicconetti, known for his unique method of sentencing, decided to give the woman a taste of what it must have been like for Moose.
“You know, I can’t interpret the feelings of a dog. But, boy, if dogs could tell you how they felt – scared, frightened and sick, maybe you should get a little taste of that? I’m going to let you have a choice here, and the choice is I want you to live like Moose,” stated the judge as Morrow and her attorney stood for sentencing.
And so Judge Cicconetti ordered Morrow to go to the county dump and find the worse, stinkiest place in the landfill and sit there for eight hours.
“Just think what you did to that dog while you smell the odor,” the judge told her.
If Morrow refused to go to the dump, she would have been sentenced to 90 days in jail, and so the next day she arrived at the city dump dressed in rubber boots and a fluorescent jacket as movie cameras from AbcNews followed her for the day; with Morrow admitting she rather would have been at the dump picking up garbage than having been locked up in jail for the next three months.
Cicconetti said he doesn’t believe the law as it is written can really be the only way to serve justice.
“A judge can simply follow the law and if somebody committed the crime, here are the possible penalties. How much of that do I impose? Sure, you can do that and you go home and you can rest easy. Or you can take each case a little more personal and still apply that same law.”
Other sentences that have gone viral, include Judge Cicconetti telling defendant Victoria Bascom she could choose between a 30 day jail sentence or a 30 mile walk after she left a cab driver high and dry by not paying him. Once the judge ordered an 18-year-old to wear a chicken suit in public to shame him after he stole pornography. And the unique way the judge dispenses justice must be working, because his recidivism rate is only 10% as compared to the national average of 50%.
What we do know about animal cruelty is making punishments more severe is the only way to send the message this will not be tolerated.
And yes, Moose has since recovered and adopted to a wonderful family.
(Photos of unconventional sentence handed down to animal abuser)
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