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CA: Petition seeks toughening of animal cruelty laws

Discussion in 'Dog Ordinances & Laws' started by Vicki, May 23, 2010.

  1. Vicki

    Vicki Administrator Administrator

    Petition seeks toughening of animal cruelty laws
    BY JASON KOTOWSKI, Californian staff writer
    jkotowski@bakersfield.com | Saturday, May 22 2010 12:00 PM

    Last Updated Saturday, May 22 2010 12:00 PM

    The person who started the petition asking for the harshest possible penalty against a man accused of hogtying a pit bull is now hoping to gather 50,000 signatures to convince lawmakers to strengthen animal cruelty penalties.

    Karen Marousek of the Friends of the Kern County Animal Shelters Foundation said the current maximum sentence of three years in prison is not enough.

    "Most of the time people don't end up spending any time in prison and just get a little slap on the wrist," Marousek said.

    She said she's not sure what the most appropriate sentence would be, but she's getting some attorneys involved to write something up. As of Friday evening, the petition had 828 signatures.

    Kern County Animal Control Director Guy Shaw said he thinks petitions are good because they will bring more attention to animal cruelty cases and the need for more severe laws. The law should be structured so that someone convicted of killing an animal is given more time than someone who hurts an animal but the animal survives, he said.

    "When (animal cruelty) happens and people get probation or a light sentence, it doesn't get the message across that you shouldn't do this," Shaw said.

    Assistant District Attorney Michael Saleen confirmed that the maximum sentence for felony animal cruelty is three years in prison and a $20,000 fine.

    The issue of animal cruelty has been in the spotlight since James D. Worley, 52, was arrested April 26 and charged with two counts of felony animal cruelty for allegedly hogtying a pit bull and leaving it in a field southwest of Lamont. He is also charged with a misdemeanor count of dog abandonment. He pleaded not guilty to all the charges.

    Worley admitted to investigators that he dumped the pit bull in a field after it bit someone and the property owner told him to get rid of the animal, investigation reports say. He denied tying the dog up.

    A pre-preliminary hearing has been scheduled for July 15, according to the Kern County Superior Court website.

    The dog, named England, was picked up by an animal rescue group associated with actress Katherine Heigl with the intention of rehabilitating him for possible future adoption.

    Petition seeks toughening of animal cruelty laws - Bakersfield.com

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