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Animal abuser sentenced to decade in prison as the nation tightens laws

June 9, 2013
by
Wikimedia Commons

Wikimedia Commons

Source Examiner.com
By Pam D’addio

A South Carolina man has been sentenced to 10 years in prison for the killing of two dogs and the attempted killing of another. His sentence is reflective of tightening animal abuse laws nationwide.

Bobby Joe McConnell, 47, pled guilty to the incident that occurred on July 2, 2012.

Fishermen on the International Paper canal in Georgetown found and rescued one dog, a Labrador Retriever, who had been bound with duct tape and thrown into the water. Later named Dara by the Saint Frances Animal Center, the dog was struggling to survive with her mouth and legs bound and was rescued just in time. Unfortunately, two other dogs were soon found who did not survive the same abuse and had drowned.

The three dogs belonged to McConnell’s mother-in-law and daughter. McConnell pled guilty to two counts of ill treatment to animals, telling Judge Hyman, “I have said I was guilty since day one.”

The good news in this sad story is that the nation is progressing each year toward stronger laws and penalties for animal cruelty. The Animal Legal Defense Fund releases an annual report on the animal protection laws of every state based on their relative strength and comprehensiveness. The report states that 75% of all states have improved their laws in the past year with 25% of all states having improved 2-10% and 55% of all states having improved 11-50%. Mississippi showed the most improvement with 78% tightening of its animal cruelty laws.

The 2012 report lists the states with the toughest laws and penalties as:

  1. Illinois
  2. Maine
  3. California
  4. Michigan
  5. Oregon

The 2012 report lists the weakest animal cruelty laws and penalties in:

  1. New Mexico
  2. South Dakota
  3. Iowa
  4. North Dakota
  5. Kentucky

McConnell’s attorney, Ronald Hazard, argued that McConnell is a “good man” who was high on alcohol and drugs the day of the killings but Judge Hyman handed down the maximum sentence for the two dogs, which is 5 years each, consecutively, and a $10,000 fine, of which half will be given to the organization caring for Dara, the Saint Frances Animal Center. Judge Hyman said McConnell’s actions were “the product of an evil heart” and added,

“I can imagine those dogs flopping around trying to swim. I do not know what those animals did to make you think that was appropriate. What would you do to a person who offended you?”

**(Research now shows the incredible link between animal abuse and violence perpetrated on humans. To read more about that link and the progression to human violence, click here.)

Since most animal abusers have received from only months to up to 2 years behind bars, this case shows the improvement in the system to protect innocent animals. Thousands of abuse cases, from that of Michael Vick to this story, are moving the protection of animals into the spotlight and evolving the laws and penalties. We have a long way to go but we are headed in the right direction!

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harsh sentences for abusers
is a must,
so in justice there can finally
be some just!!!!

Karen Lyons Kalmenson


18 Comments leave one →
  1. June 9, 2013 11:32 am

    Excellent news….The only better would have been that the son-of-a-bitch had been shot.

    Like

    • June 9, 2013 11:36 am

      I’m all for corporal punishment of criminals! Thanks, Dave.

      Like

    • June 10, 2013 8:57 am

      I agree with tougher punishment or same punishment for these scum who think they can dispose of animals because they no longer want them,either give them to someone else or do not have animals in first place,animals are for life..

      Like

      • June 10, 2013 10:59 am

        “Animals are for life” perfectly well-said! Thank you Marguerite.

        Like

  2. June 9, 2013 11:59 am

    IT IS VERY GOOD TO READ THAT AT LONG LAST THE PUNISHMENT IN MOST STATES IS NOW BEING TREATED VERY SERIOUSLY, I HOPE THAT ALL THE OTHER STATES WILL FOLLOW THIS EXAMPLE QUICKLY.. PEOPLE MAY NOT LIKE DOGS BUT THIS IS NEVER NEVER ANY EXCUSE FOR THE HORENDOUS CRUELTY & LACK OF CARING THAT HAPPENS.. PEOPLE HAVE GOT TO LEARN THAT THEY WILL BE SEVERELY PUNISHED..THE POLICE & PEOPLE IN POWER MUST BE AWARE & ON THE LOOK OUT ALWAYS… EACH CASE IS SAD & HEARTBREAKING READING ABOUT THE SUFFERING THE DOGS HAVE BEEN THROUGH..

    Like

    • June 9, 2013 12:06 pm

      Thank you, Shireen. The inconsistency is unacceptable, but like you wrote, hopefully other states/judges/prosecutors will follow this example.

      Like

  3. June 9, 2013 12:11 pm

    Reblogged this on Carinas space and commented:
    Det kallar jag straffskala!! Djurplågeri är banne mig allvarligt och ska dömas därefter! När ska Sverige vakna??

    Like

    • June 9, 2013 12:21 pm

      Thank you so much, Wolf is my Soul. I had to Google translate that, and I agree. Hopefully other parts of the US will wake up, too.

      Like

      • June 10, 2013 3:53 am

        Thanks for following my posts, Stacy! Sorry about the Swedish language, I usually write my thoughts in English, but in this case I just reacted and the words came in Swedish, lol. In my country there are no serious consequences legally for animal abusers, often just a slap on the wrist and it really has to change, urgently. The problem in Sweden is how animals are viewed – in legal terms animals are property of owner and as such the definition when dealing with animal abuse is did the animal (property) sustain any physical or mental pain and is the animal (property) aware of it being abused? The burden of evidence falls on veterinarians who have a hard time convincing the courts that animals (property) can and does feel pain and is aware of abuse they are put through. It’s a flawed legal system and animal welfare rights has to be re-evaluated and new laws passed. Sorry about the lengthy answer. Have a good week!!

        Like

        • June 10, 2013 11:03 am

          Thank you for explaining, I completely agree the system needs to be reevaluated. Here, animals are viewed as property, too, except in some rare cases where they are considered companions and owners as guardians. Most animals, those used for food, have no protections whatsoever and are not covered under the broad Animal Welfare Act. That’s 10 billion animals killed per year with no consideration. There is a lax Humane Slaughter Act, but that is a joke: killing can never be humane in and of itself. So the US definitely has some catching up as well – in most cases, the only penalty is the cost of the animal (such as a rescued animal – if he is killed, the only penalty would be how much the adoption cost, usually less than $100). But there are some good strides happening, such as this example, which is awesome. It would be better, of course, had no animal been abused and killed, but the penalty, as it is, is welcoming to those who fight for animal rights. Thank you for your comments and for sharing, always a pleasure.

          Like

  4. karenlyonskalmenson permalink
    June 9, 2013 2:54 pm

    harsh sentences for abusers
    is a must,
    so in justice there can finally
    be some just!!!!

    Like

  5. Doreatha Penn permalink
    June 9, 2013 3:23 pm

    AMEN! It’s about time. Now hopefully we can get the same protection for wolves that dogs and other animal have. After all wolves are animals too! Lock the Rednecks up who are killing and gunning down all of our wolves.

    Like

  6. June 9, 2013 3:42 pm

    Reblogged this on Sherlockian's Blog and commented:
    Finally, justice is catching up to the abusers and criminals.

    Like

  7. December 30, 2013 7:29 pm

    It is good that states are toughening animal cruelty laws!! They need to start sending these heinous individuals to prison for quite along time. This judge Hyman is a good judge. Hopefully, this will send a message out if you abuse or harm animals- You are going to prison for quite a long time.

    Like

  8. December 30, 2013 9:07 pm

    Reblogged this on "OUR WORLD".

    Like

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