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First challenge of Maryland law making animal cruelty a felony results in acquittal.
August 22, 2002 9:23 AM   Subscribe

First challenge of Maryland law making animal cruelty a felony results in acquittal. Charges were dismissed against a landlord who forcibly removed two of his tenant's three cats and dispatched them with a 12-gauge shotgun. Judge said law's language fails to clearly define "cruel killing". Also on AP.
posted by LinusMines (16 comments total)

 
He could have taken them to the humane society, not killed them......

Where they would have been put down anyway!
posted by dr_dank at 9:57 AM on August 22, 2002


I thought the Humane Society was universally no-kill, but I can't find any confirmation or denial of that fact on the Frederick County Humane Society website.
posted by jennyb at 10:34 AM on August 22, 2002


"...two misdemeanor counts of destruction of property. "

Sad. "Property."

Excuse my point of view, but why didn't the sadistic bastard just evict the tenant?

"The greatness of a nation and its moral progress,
can be judged by the way its animals are treated."

-M. Gandhi
posted by Shane at 10:39 AM on August 22, 2002


I'm generally not in favour of lawsuits, but I think she's got to find the sleaziest, lowest hitting lawyer she can find and take this guy for a wad o'cash.

Done right, she'll be the landlord, and he'll learn an expensive (and necessary) lesson.

"He has killed more than 50 cats by using a shotgun, an accepted method in the farm community...".

Damn, I grew up on a farm, and never found it necessay to kill even one cat. Gives hicks a bad name, he does.
posted by Mutant at 10:52 AM on August 22, 2002


I thought the Humane Society was universally no-kill, but I can't find any confirmation or denial of that fact on the Frederick County Humane Society website.

In the US no-kill shelters are the rare exception, not the rule. No-kill shelters get a lot of animals dropped on their doorstep if people know where they are, so they usually don't advertise their locations. It is, ironically, the only way they can stay in business. Often, their main mission is saving animals from the Humane Society right before their time runs out. The only ones I've heard of are private; the best it seems that Humane Societies can do is having a really low euthanasia rate, which some of them do.
posted by dness2 at 11:01 AM on August 22, 2002


I think that the shotgun method used here is certainly ridiculous, patently "uncool," but ultimately not especially cruel. I doubt the animals lingered in pain.
posted by mikrophon at 11:14 AM on August 22, 2002


Fifty cats. Damn.

I can't even think about this. My f&^%ing grandmother lives in Frederick.

I'm just speechless.
posted by atavistech at 11:14 AM on August 22, 2002


I doubt the animals lingered in pain.

Not to quibble, but it really depends on how and where he shot them.

I dispatched lots of animals out there in the woods (pests all), and even if you are using a 12 guage (the kind of gun you go deer hunting with) if you just wing 'em they'll be in world of pain.

For all we know, a sadistic bastard like shot a leg off and let crawl away to die slow.
posted by Mutant at 11:33 AM on August 22, 2002


Incidentally, there is a volunteer organization called Metro Ferals who specifically assist with non-lethal control of feral cat populations in the Washington, D.C. metro area. They recently assisted a good friend of mine in trapping, spaying/neutering, and inoculating a large group of feral barncats living on her farm. This friend, incidentally, lives only a short drive away from Frederick, MD, which I feel effectively counters the potential argument that those fifty feral(?) cats had to be killed for the sake of population control. It sounds to me as if this individual just enjoys killing cats, and I find that utterly despicable.
posted by atavistech at 11:53 AM on August 22, 2002


It sounds to me as if this individual just enjoys killing cats, and I find that utterly despicable.

Probably enjoyed making the cats' owner extremely sad and distraught, as well.

With all the other alternatives available, his chosen option was to kill the cats? If the judge is too spineless to set the first precedent on a new law (which is obviously the case), the man should at least be prosecuted to the full extent of the law for everything else possible (breaking and entering? trespassing? theft? emotional damage to the owner? and destruction of "property"...)

Why is our society so quick to excuse (and so potentially encourage) animal cruelty?

(Thank you for the link to Metro Ferals, Atavistech -- ferals and their humane treatment is a hot topic lately.)
posted by Shane at 12:48 PM on August 22, 2002


Feral cats are a big problem in many areas. We've got our own several dozen here, which we try to systematically trap and spay / neuter, but it sure gets expensive.

If you kill a bunch of them, new ones will just come in from surrounding areas to take their place. The only thing close to a real solution is sterilization.

The one we got spayed just a few weeks ago has a limp and her right elbow is wounded. We had them do an x-ray while she was under for the spaying, and there were bullet fragments all embedded there.

The wound is old, her bones have fused around the damage, and she gets around okay so it's not worth it to attempt surgery (which probably wouldn't even help).

Seventy bucks for the x-rays alone.
posted by beth at 1:21 PM on August 22, 2002


This tenant should have gotten rid of the cats, period. It seems as though the tenant was going to do absolutely nothing about the situation, so the landlord decided to take matters into his own hands.
As for finding it unnecessary to kill feral cats, I will have to disagree. I live on a quiet little country road. As a result, lots of people drive in from the city and dump off unwanted dogs and cats, thinking " The people who own all this land can surely take care of my animal." ( actually not only dogs and cats. I have had 2 or 3 rabbits, 2 ferrets, and a hedgehog, of all things.)
There have been times where I have had as many as 40 cats hanging around the barn. A few cats are nice, I agree. They keep mice away from my home. But when they start multiplying and pile up, I start to take measures into my own hands.
The dogs that get dumped are killed automatically. I have no use for another dog to feed. ( I do not feed the cats either, they survive on their own quite well.
It sickens me that people would dump these animals off and somehow feel that everything will work out just fine. Many of them will starve to death or get hit by cars, while the ones fortunate enough to approach my yard get taken care of right away. I consider shooting these animals a hell of a lot nicer than what was done to them by the owner.
There is nothing worse than pulling out of my driveway and seeing a big beautiful dog, sitting there on the side of the road, waiting for his owner to come back. I have seen more than a few continue to wait until dying of starvation.
posted by bradth27 at 1:45 PM on August 22, 2002


Sad. "Property."

Nothing sad about that. If an animal can be said to be owned by someone, then it is their property. If it is their property, then they can be held responsible for damages it causes. Sounds like a good thing to me, generally speaking.

Excuse my point of view, but why didn't the sadistic bastard just evict the tenant?

Because that would take months, probably, and cost a lot.
posted by kindall at 2:06 PM on August 22, 2002


Please remember, folks, the guy was found innocent of cruelly killing the animals. If you have any respect for the most developed legal system in the world, you can't really slam this guy at at all. He is innocent.
posted by wackybrit at 5:08 PM on August 22, 2002


If you have any respect for the most developed legal system in the world, you can't really slam this guy at at all. He is innocent.

I don't understand at all. Neither the legal system nor this man's actions should ever be questioned?

I'm moving on now...
posted by Shane at 5:49 AM on August 23, 2002


Shane: Not by us, no. If the cat's owner wishes to file for an appeal then that's their decision, but the rest of us have no rights to contest this case. However, if you wish to change this law, then if you're a Maryland resident you may lobby the state to change the legislature.
posted by wackybrit at 6:04 AM on August 23, 2002


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