Someone Who Shoots Another Person’s Dog
A man shot a dog and was arrested and convicted of mistreatment of an animal. The man admitted to shooting the dog, although he originally claimed that he hit the dog with his car. The man believed that the dog was wild. The vet who examined the dog found bullet fragments in the dog’s brain and nasal cavity but no damage to the dog’s nose, which led the vet to conclude that the barrel of the gun was inserted into the dog’s nose before the dog was shot.
The magistrate court ordered a sentence of six months in jail with work release. The judge found the conduct to be cruel, malice, and no purpose. The judge stated, “I don’t think I can imagine a more senseless, meaningless gesture.” The magistrate then concluded that a jail sentence would serve to deter others from such conduct in the future.
The court noted that a sentence of confinement is reasonable if it appears at the time of sentencing that confinement is necessary “to accomplish the primary objective of protecting society and to achieve any or all of the related goals of deterrence, rehabilitation or retribution applicable to a given case.”
The man argues that because his act did not threaten the safety of a person, but was an act against a dog, he should not be subject to the punishment imposed by the court. We do not believe society’s legitimate interest in punishing and deterring the inhumane acts committed by the man is so slight as he suggests.
Despite the man’s most recent account that killing the dog was merely an instance of poor judgment or recklessness, we emphasize that the man pled guilty to acting “maliciously.” Moreover, the physical evidence introduced at the sentencing hearing shows that he intentionally committed the act of shoving the barrel of a gun up the nose of a dog he happened to find, and firing it. The impact of this type of conduct upon dog owners is often traumatic, particularly where, as here, the dog was regarded as a member of the family.
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