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« Apparent fatal dog attack in California | Main | Updates: Two dog attack fatalities in one day in separate incidents »

August 24, 2010

Comments

H Houlahan

Errrr ... judges don't prosecute cases.

Donna

Well crap. I'm sure the judge saw the same photos that we've held in confidence (mostly, a pile up of dusty dog crates stuffed full of mummified dog remains), so it's REALLY hard to think that 90 days was seen as a fitting punishment for this psycho-freak boy. I guess that part of the country has a ways to go still.

Someone from Oklahoma .. .Tell me. Is this ruling progress? I need a reality check.

Thanks for the news, btw. And rock on Boomer...You beat more odds than most cruelty victims ever hope to get.

Brent

Donna, I can't imagine this is progress. Here's the one thing I can't get clarification on. Back in January, Southern's lawyer pushed to lessen his bond (which they did). I don't know how much jail time he served before it was lowered -- or even if he's been in jail this entire time (which is possible). But even so, it seem the ruling would be for, say, 2 years, with credit for time served. It doesn't quite add up. But yes, it's one thing to have laws -- it's quite another to actually get appropriate sentencing for those who continue to violate them. I'm really disappointed - not only in his sentencing, but for the messaging it sends at how important we think harsh sentencing is.

-----

Alas H. Yes, prosecutors prosecute, judges hand down sentencing. And such is a mistake in typing from someone who has a fulltime job and blogs as a hobby. I think most people get the meaning of that. 3 months = not a long enough sentence for a repeat offender who created mass suffering for more than 100 dogs. Twice. The judge is responsible for that.

YesBiscuit!

It would be nice if at least OK would do like KS and forbid him from ever owning dogs again. Then's he'd only have 48 more opportunities for cruelty.

Donna

I spoke with the assistant DA this morning and got some insight. Will probably post a blog later today since there are several lessons connected with this case worth mulling; some good, some not so happy. Thanks again for bringing this to everyone's attention, Brent. It does feel good to see this chapter closed, even if it wasn't nearly the outcome we all wanted.

Brent

Thanks Donna -- look forward to it. I've been hearing some mixed reports on this this morning as well....so looking forward to what you found out.

Pamela

Most (if not all) laws addressing animal treatment in the U.S. consider animals to be personal property. Part of the education we need to do until that changes is to demonstrate that cruel treatment of animals hurts humans too.

Brent

Pamela -- laws that consider animals to be personal property is not such a bad thing. In many cases, for people who care for feral cats or for dog owners of certain breed types of dogs, property rights are the only things that stand between the dogs being instantly killed by authorities and owners getting due process (which is still ignored in too many cases, even with the animals being 'property'). So in many ways, not wanting animals to be property is a be careful what you wish for sort of thing...because without those protections, many more animals would be unjustly killed by some of the cities out there.

Tom K

I have to agree about the property rights sometimes having the effect of preventing animals from being killed.

I don't agree with sentencing someone to five years for each animal. I'm not sure that I agree with sentencing him to five years for destroying his own property by negligence or by abuse. This is a slippery slope that different states have been down before and it is why laws have been repealed before, including in Oklahoma.

Oh, please drag out the accusations that I'm a friend of Jerry Southern's or that I enjoy animal abuse. That's childish. I think that the real reason that Southern got such a "lenient" sentence is because the judge is sick of the antics of the different animal rescue groups. These antics include contempt of court by the act of hiding animals so that the judge can't force them to be returned. What kind of crap has the judge had to deal with from different rescue groups in the Kay County area?

I'm beginning to think that the Bad Rap could be legit but I've heard to many bad things about SPCAs and the rest of the alphabet soup. You will of course understand that I am not going to take any evidence at face value. This impression is not improved by complaining that the judge is notoriously lenient, it makes Bad Rap sound as if it is just as whiny as any fly-by-night group that wanted cheap dogs or dead pit dogs.

Total professionalism is the only way that Bad Rap will even have a chance to recover from the well-deserved bad reputation that some rescue groups have earned. Myself I am perfectly able to throw out the bathwater with whatever is in it because too often it's just bathwater and soap in my eyes.

Brent

Tom,

I think your commentary is a sad testimate to where we are in animal welfare issues right now.

I think too many people (and it sounds like you are one of them) have put in clearly defined boundary lines -- with one side being on the extreme "dogs are property, I can do with them as I please side" and the other thinking that everyone who breeds a dog is a criminal. I think both groups have been quick to put everyone in either group.

My experience has been that the vast majority of people on "both sides" really do care about animals. Yes, there are extremists on both sides, I'm certainly not naive to that -- but I certainly don't think they are the "norm".

I don't think anyone really expected Southern to get 360 years in jail for this -- but the reality is, he is a repeat offender of very extreme cruelty. And anyone who really does care about animals, on either "side" should want the guy to get a pretty harsh punishment for this - certainly more than 90 days worth (or, the deferred sentence which may have been the other option).

It seems so easy to typecast people as extreme in one group or the other -- but I think most people are out there trying to do the right thing. And I think when people attack groups that really are trying to do the right thing and try to defend someone's right to "destroy his own property" is not an argument that is going to sway many people that you are not part of the polar fringe that you are so quick to put others into.

EmilyS

and it's exactly the attitude of people like Tom that "animals are property and therefore we can do anything to them, including "destroying" them as if they were furniture.. and even if the destruction involves extreme cruelty" that has driven the success of the "animal rights" movement which in so many ways a threat to OUR rights (not to mention in the case of PETA, a threat to the animals themselves).

MichelleD

Hey Pot, its Kettle calling...

You're comment about Bad Rap as "whiny as any fly-by-night group that wanted cheap dogs or dead pit dogs" - Wow, that may just be the most ignorant comment ever posted on this blog. You just proved to everyone that you don't have any idea what you're talking about and apparently can't use google.


Tom K

The reason that our rights are going away like they are is because too many animal owners are willing to give them up to a bunch of freaky little arsonists every time something like this happens.

Brent

It also doesn't help when the opposition to all of the laws that target animal owners is defending people who are cruelly treating animals (to the point of killing them) and saying it is his right to do with his 'property" as he pleases. It sure makes an easy sell that the only people who are against the laws are nut-jobs -- even though that isn't necessarily true.

Tom K

So it isn't necessarily true that the people who are against these bad laws are nut-jobs. Damning all of us with faint praise?

Tom K

It also looks like the dogs needed more rescuing from their rescuers (perhaps not counting Bad Rap) than they did from their owner. Most of them wanted to kill the dogs for being pitbulls. Their use of the cruelty statutes was to gain access to kill the dogs. This does not make them better than Jerry Southern.

Brent

Tom, no one is denying that there are some out there "rescuing" dogs that are not really helping the dogs at all, just dooming them to a different type of death.

That said, beating a dead horse in a thread where clearly the comments don't apply isn't exactly the best way to keep from putting yourself in the 'nut job' category.

Tom K

Or participating in this blog at all, apparently.

Political correctness will destroy us.

Brent

I guess if I were in your situation, I wouldn't go somewhere and criticize and organization that a) I apparently knew nothing about, b) about a situation I knew nothing about and c) was doing the right thing and expect to be warmly received after said criticism.

And in light of that, I think I've been more than fair about letting you have your voice -- and yet you still are using it to criticize groups not involved in any way in this situation.

Tom K

You're being more than fair with me and letting me have my voice?

Don't bother.

Brent

Half the world would have just started deleting your comments for the baseless accusations...

Tom K

I do question whether there is a right to prosecute anyone for what they do to their own property. If you want to characterize me for asking that question, then I will be suspicious of your motives and the motives of others. Maybe you are capable of dealing with this subject like an adult and maybe not.

I would rather have people have the complete legal right to do whatever to their own animals without interference than the current situation because the right to do whatever is more humane overall. The theory is that most owners will be humane as best they can but with the bad laws the authorities can come and get away with all kinds of cruelty. It is also cruel to prevent people from nurturing animals based on breed or species.

Laws against cruelty to animals may not be the best way to guarantee the most humane care for the most animals.

The mob mentality that governs the current phony anti-cruelty movement poisons everything that it touches so that if I want to know for myself if Bad Rap told the truth or did the right thing, well, I have the right to be suspicious and to ask for evidence. I have the right to suspect people who give me crap about it, not just on principle but because of the pattern that has been set.

What we do have are hundreds, maybe thousands of groups invading people's homes using the cruelty laws as a pretense. I have no way to verify the information that they put out, but many times the photographs are of perfectly healthy animals. Many times the stories that they tell are of things that just don't justify confiscations or use of raids. Jerry Southern is a singular case. So if you want to say that I am baselessly accusing someone because I ask leading questions, that's your problem. I'm not going to believe a word of someone telling me that my rhetoric is why AR is succeeding. AR succeeds by bribery, by lying and cheating, and occasionally by setting people's homes on fire.

And a lot of the things that I see wrong with the Jerry Southern picture may be there and have nothing to do with Bad Rap. But if you want to try to act like I'm seeing something that looks bad because I'm a "nutjob" I won't care what you think about anything.

How does anyone get at the truth? I'm abandoning the crime and punishment format and fighting it with everything that I have because I am convinced that it is corrupting and totally self-destructive. Go ahead and call me names. The world is burning and falling down around our ears because some people are looking for someone to blame for everything that goes wrong and they're setting the world on fire to get at those alleged miscreants.

There are other, better ways, but people are going to have to put the desire for vengeance aside.

Brent

"I do question whether there is a right to prosecute anyone for what they do to their own property."

And there's the problem. They do have the right to prosecute anyone for what they do to their property. The law couldn't be more clear on that.

The U.S. Constitution only guarantees you the right to own property - -and the right that it cannot be seized from you without due process. It does not guarantee you the right to do with it as you please.

As a society, we have collectively decided that there are minimal standards by which property should be kept. In most cities, houses have to be kept in a certain amount of repair and paint in order to aviod codes violations. Lawns must be mowed at a certain height. Someone cannot build a meat-packing plant in an area that is zoned for residences. Automobiles must pass inspections to be sure they meet emissions standards. It is a felony to burn down your own home.

We accept these limitations on property because it is beneficial for us as a society.

Dogs are no different. We accept that even as property, there are minimum standards by which the dogs must be kept - which means we cannot starve them to death and leave them with no shelter in the freezing cold in a field in Northern Oklahoma.

The law couldn't be more clear on that.

And trying to defend someone for doing so based on property rights he doesn't have only creates more reason (in their minds) for the folks who want animals removed from "property" status and moved to guardianship. And when that happens, the rights you are guaranteed will be lost.

Yes, you have every right to question everyone -- and every reason to.

But there is no "right" to do with your 'property" what you want to with it. You may think it should be that way, but legally, that ship has long sailed.

Tom K

You seem to have failed to notice that it sailed with all of our property rights. Almost none of the abuse prosecutions these days are for genuine abuse anymore. They are for the purpose of stealing the animals.

All of this tricky-dicky stuff means that people really don't own their own property. It can be taken away at a whim. I think that it is laughable to call it "legally" because the people who steal it don't do it legally but they pretend that it is legal.

Feel free to totally defeat your own purposes by allowing and encouraging that ship to sink.

Brent

But wouldn't you rather fight based on the property rights you really do have (Like freedom from illegal searches and seizures) than based on rights that you don't?

Because fighting based on rights you don't have is a losing argument.

And yes, no animals should be taken from someone without some form of due process. And no one should be allowed to charge someone with animal cruelty without having the legal authority to actually do it.

That's a far different argument than "i should be able to do with my property what I want" -- which will lose every time, and rightfully so.

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