About 9 months ago, Bobby Joe McConnell, 47, of South Carolina duct-taped the legs and muzzles of three dogs belonging to his daughter and mother-in-law and threw them into a canal. Only one, a lab named Dara, was rescued in time; the two others drowned. McConnell has just been sentenced to TEN YEARS in jail for this — a far cry from the nothing-to-a-few-months sentences animal abusers have often received. His attorney said he was a good guy who was just high on alcohol and drugs that day. (Wow — maybe alcohol/drugs would be more tightly regulated if people knew they turned users into serial killers.) Judge Hyman, however, said McConnell’s actions were “the product of an evil heart” and he handed down the MAXIMUM sentence for the two dogs, which is 5 years each, consecutively, and a $10,000 fine, half of which is to go to the organization caring for the lone survivor, Dara. His sentence is reflective of tightening animal abuse laws nationwide. The Animal Legal Defense Fund’s annual report on animal protection laws shows that 75% of all states have improved their laws over the past year — some, like Mississippi, significantly. (At present, the state with the toughest animal abuse laws and penalties is Illinois, and the state with the weakest is Kentucky. Washington comes in 6th-best.)
Personally I think regression to an-eye-for-an-eye justice in the case of animal abuse would deal with the problem a lot more equitably and quickly, but I cannot always have my own way.