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jca's avatar

Do you think there should be mandatory minimum sentences for people who torture and/or kill animals?

Asked by jca (36043points) September 29th, 2014

Today’s NY Times article on a local man who kicked a cat several feet into the air.

The article discusses several other cases of abuse, and has links to links about people stomping and killing feral cats, a man who dragged a donkey behind his vehicle, and other awful things.

What do you think should be the punishment for people who commit such acts?

Should there be mandatory minimum sentences for crimes against animals?

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32 Answers

Here2_4's avatar

There are sentences, at least in some places. Unfortunately, people have been caught up in a situation with it when not intending any special harm.. I read of a man who had to serve a mandatory jail sentence because he killed a rat which had frequented his property.
With intentional harm to non threat animals, I believe the penalties should be stiff. I also feel they should befit the crime. I am not sure what that would be. Perhaps jail time, and a percentage of their wages for two or three years to go to the local animal shelters.

ragingloli's avatar

Death should be the minimum sentence.

Dutchess_III's avatar

SOMEthing needs to happen. At the apartments where my daughter lives, her kids caught 3 or 4 toads. She made them keep them in a shoebox outside until they let them go.
Another kid in the complex took the toads and cut their heads off, and left the bodies on the playground equipment.
The kids buried the toads, and the creeper dug them back up and did something else with them. I forget what.
The kid should have mandatory counseling, IMO.

marinelife's avatar

Yes, animals are helpless to protect themselves from man’s cruelties.

Darth_Algar's avatar

Mandatory minimums are bullshit no matter what the crime.

dappled_leaves's avatar

Sure, animal cruelty should carry harsh sentences. It’s kind of a no-brainer. I’m sure that the slowness to encode and enforce such sentences has much to do with the meat industry. Imagine how quickly conditions for the animals we eat would improve if we worked towards that.

Espiritus_Corvus's avatar

I don’t think there should be mandatory sentences period. If we don’t trust our judges to mete out justice to our liking, we should insist on being able to elect the ones we want to serve. In many places these elections are simply popularity contests among the local members of the American Bar Association. Change that. Let the people elect their judges, as it should be. Then throw the bastards out if you don’t like them.

But if the people insist on mandatory sentencing, then why go to the expense of having judges in the first place? A jury can determine guilt or innocence. The bailiff can hold order in the court. The clerk of court will ensure all the rules are followed. Just get a computer, feed in the charge and guilty verdict, and out will come the sentence. Easy peasy. And cheap. And incredibly ham-fisted.

Why are we so bent on living in the old Soviet Union? And why have we no confidence in our judicial system as it was originally constructed?

The last question isn’t rhetorical.

dappled_leaves's avatar

@Espiritus_Corvus You talk about mandatory sentences as if this is a new idea. There are dozens and dozens of mandatory sentences in effect in the US. I’ll agree that it shouldn’t be used for every type of crime, and indeed, it isn’t. Your comment, “why go to the expense of having judges in the first place? Just get a computer, feed in the charge and guilty verdict, and out will come the sentence” is comically hyperbolic.

Surely, the point of a mandatory sentence is that judges are selected through what you call “popularity contests”. A mandatory sentence means justice on an equal basis, regardless of which judge you draw. It’s unclear why we should expect that “popular” judges would be more consistent.

Anyway, this is getting off-topic, so I’ll say no more on the subject.

ucme's avatar

Donald Trump should do life for the merciless cruelty of that poor, long suffering chihuahua perched atop his ugly bonce.

Espiritus_Corvus's avatar

I’m well aware that mandatory sentences have been with us for quite some time, and my statement concerning the computer was meant to be comically hyperbolic. I’m so relieved that you were able to grasp that. Please be assured that I will sleep better tonight knowing this.

We don’t need judges if the sentence is a no-brainer. That’s the point. A judge is there to weigh each case as an independent event. If we won’t allow judges use their training and experience—their expertise—to determine sentences, then what are we paying them for? It doesn’t require a highly paid person to recite a pre-determined sentence. A member of the cleaning staff can do that. How’s that for comical hyperbole?

dappled_leaves's avatar

@Espiritus_Corvus “How’s that for comical hyperbole?”

It’s not very impressive, to be honest. You’ve offered no new argument, and I’m certainly not convinced of your point.

Here2_4's avatar

I think the word minimum is being overlooked. The question is not about a mandatory death sentence, or an exact mandatory sentence, but a mandatory minimum. That is simply a starting off point.

tinyfaery's avatar

I’m not really a believer in minimum or maximum sentences. However, the laws should be much more strict and enforceable for minors, as well.

Response moderated (Flame-Bait)
longgone's avatar

The laws should certainly be much stricter.

Darth_Algar's avatar


Because if there’s one thing we’ve proven it’s that strict laws eliminate crime.

Pandora's avatar

I think it depends on the animal. If it is an animal that is considered a pest, like rodents or squirrels, and they are a possible threat because they may carry disease and infest your home, than I don’t see why you can’t kill them. Only if you are doing so, it should be carried out as humanly as possible. You can’t relocate these pests. They will find their way back to your home or simply infest another home once they have become accustomed to living in a home.

Wild animals that may cause harm, like a poisonous snake too close for comfort or a wild animal that is attempting to cause you physical harm, should also be ok to kill.
I don’t believe it ok to torture any animal. That should carry a minimum sentence. The killing part should be only ok when in defense of your home or your person.

If you simply kill an animal for no other reason than you like to kill animals, or kill it by entering them in some cruel animal fight than you should get a maximum sentence.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

I don’t think so. There will be so much grey area that I don’t think we can make such black and white distinctions. Some people will see “pesting” as cruelty and others will not. It’s not going to be a one size all fits for this. Case to case and discretion will be needed. There is a massive difference between someone who wants the flying rats out of their yard and those who are intentionally cruel to cats or dogs. I would not feel bad killing a poisonous snake in my own yard but I would not feel too good about killing a garter snake or a black snake. I can’t even imagine what would posses someone to hurt a dog or a cat just for the hell of it. That’s where harsh consequences need to be implemented. I sooo wanted that story about Mike Vick getting mauled by a pit bull to be true.

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

Sounds good, but bottom line is why? Humans are to have dominion over the earth, and we do. Why punish someone for treating some animals shabbily but not others? Either all animal life is to be respected or none is more special.

Espiritus_Corvus's avatar

@Hypocrisy_Central That is not a universal belief, by any means. Your Bible tells you this and you choose to believe it, and that is fine. But you don’t get to assume everyone believes from the same book you do, or any book at all, for that matter. And you certainly don’t get to insist that they do.

Excuse me, but your chauvinism is showing… once again.

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

@Espiritus_Corvus Excuse me, but your chauvinism is showing… once again.
Let’s take pure logic, why is it more repugnant to kill a horse than a pig, wild boar, prairie dogs, whales, etc.? The only thing anyone has to offer is personal feeling. Is personal feeling really enough to make the killing of bats in your attic more justified than killing feral cats in your barn, logically, I mean?

Dutchess_III's avatar

We aren’t just talking about killing. We’re talking about killing for fun. Mutilation and torture and stuff.

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

@Dutchess_III We aren’t just talking about killing. We’re talking about killing for fun. Mutilation and torture and stuff.
Logically what difference does that make less how humans feel about how the animal came to its end at the hands of another human? If I slaughter a pig to eat or I just shoot a dear because I like the act of hunting but don’t like dear meat what logical difference is there apart from the emotions of some humans over the dear being shot just because I wanted to shoot it (I don’t hunt, so shooting Bambi or not doesn’t have any affect)?

Dutchess_III's avatar

The difference is some people are just sick.

ibstubro's avatar

Mandatory minimums for people who kill animals of any kind? No.

Mandatory minimums for people convicted of torturing animals? Yes let’s try it.

Feral cats as as far removed from our household pets as possums are.

Disclaimer: I did not and will not open the link provided unless called for the jury.

jca's avatar

@ibstubro: The link provided is just an NYTimes article about a young guy who kicked a stray cat a few feet into the air. The article details how animal rights activists, who used to be called “crazy cat ladies” are now more organized and advocating for stricter sentences. The cat was ok, rehabbed and found a home.

@Hypocrisy_Central: Some would say that shooting a deer (not a “dear” LOL) is not the same as torturing and maiming a cat, dog, or other animal. I saw some link today about how there are fetish videos being filmed in Thailand where girls as young as 12 are torturing kittens, stomping on them and killing them, for the fetish videos. To me, that’s not the same as shooting a deer, but others may feel differently.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Rick has a good friend who likes to bow hunt deer. He was telling us about this one lung shot and how long it took the deer to die. I said, “So, in effect the deer just slowly suffocated to death?” (I knew I was fairly safe because Rick detests hunting too.)
Guy just shrugged and said, “I guess!”
:( :( :( :( :( :( :( :( :( :( :( :( :( :( :( :( :( :( :( :( :( :( :( :( :( :( :( :( :( :( :( :( :( :( :( :( :( :( Those are all sad faces, btw

Coloma's avatar

I think cruelty to animals should have much more severe penalties than it often does.
I just came across a horrible video recently of a big woman, overweight, beating a tiny miniature horse to carry her. The poor little thing could barely stand under her weight, it went down and she then whipped it and then, bounced up and down on it;s back. This fucking woman had this tiny little pony down on the ground on it’s side bouncing on it’s body, right over it’s kidneys and it just lay there looking helpless and miserable.
She abused and sat on this poor little animal for over 20 minutes.

As a horse lover, owner, had I come across this witch I would have gagged her with a bridle, whipped her senseless and jumped up and down on her back! Bah!

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

@Coloma I just came across a horrible video recently of a big woman, overweight, beating a tiny miniature horse to carry her. The poor little thing could barely stand under her weight, it went down and she then whipped it and then, bounced up and down on it;s back.
A friend of mine came across that video several days ago, and had pretty much the same reaction. I think she flagged the video. I am thinking the fat lady thought it hilarious, like a cartoon, some tiny horse carrying a load of redacted. In the end, some people might think kit humorous. Bottom line is some see X as animal torture, others see it is nothing or OK.

Coloma's avatar

@Hypocrisy_Central No mistaking that video as anything but torture and abuse. Nothing funny about it. :-(

Coloma's avatar

Actually, they ( the woman and her partner that filmed the video ) were later arrested for animal abuse charges but it was in Denmark I think so I have no idea what happened.

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