Teen Who Killed Dog in Home Invasion Given 20 Years in Jail

I saw this story out of Grand Rapids, Michigan of a 15-year-old boy who was sentenced to 20 years for invading a home and killing a dog. Jonathan Castelan said that when he broke into the home, the family’s 8-pound dachhound bit him and he killed it with a hammer.

What is interesting about this case is two fold. First, this is part of a plea despite the huge sentence. Second, the killing of the pet seems to have driver the demands for the long sentence as much as the home invasion. The fact that this is a teen would often factor into a lower sentence but (given the sentence and the release of his name) he appears to have been treated as an adult.

Owners Abel and Denise Soto actually complained that the sentence was too light because of the dog’s death.

The sentence is in fact quite long for the killing of a pet and also long for a home invasion in many states. We have often complained on this blog about the light treatment given the killing of pets. The community was enraged by the dog’s death in this case and it seems to have translated into a longer sentence.

For their part, the Sotos were given a new dachshund puppy by an anonymous source.

Source: USA Today

70 thoughts on “Teen Who Killed Dog in Home Invasion Given 20 Years in Jail”

  1. “However, the fact remains they are not human and you can run down and get a new one anyday. It is not human at all in fact, they put them down in most places if it doesnt have a home. ”

    This is not completely true any more and becoming less and less true. Just about every state has a dachshund rescue and a small dog rescue. In my city in a major metropolitan area, I can name a dozen dog rescues that rescue from shelters, and transport and foster until permanent homes are found. I can’t speak to the sentence because I have very little sympathy for the kid who committed this crime, probably for 3 reasons. The first and most important is, 30 years ago I was mugged by a kid his age and I have never felt safe on the street again. It basically ruins you for life to be violated that way. The second reason is, I was 15 once and I believe everyone knows by age 15 the difference between right and wrong. So when a 15 year old decides to break into someone’s house and kill their dog, he has given up his freedom voluntarily, because we’re just talking about how long, not whether he belongs in jail. The third reason is, I am a dachshund owner and if someone did that to my dog, I would go out and buy a gun and the conversation would be over. Or at least that’s what I would want to do. So, when you choose to violate others you deserve what you get. Oh and 4–He took a life. You take a beloved animal’s life, a pet considered a family member, and it’s highly possible to “graduate” to taking human life. Proven fact. I do feel sorry for the kid because there are no winners in this scenario, but my deepest sympathy goes to the dog who was protecting his home, and his mom and dad. Yes, mom and dad. I’m happy for them that they were given another dachshund puppy but it doesn’t erase the horror they went through. The living victims have a life sentence, because they will never 100% feel safe again and my heart goes out to them.

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  3. I’ll tell ya…a 15 yr old boy isnt making rational decisions. He is somewhat dumb, i do not feel 20 yrs is a justified sentence. He is just a boy. I do feel he should do time for his actions but not 20 years. We can look at our pets as family all we want. However, the fact remains they are not human and you can run down and get a new one anyday. It is not human at all in fact, they put them down in most places if it doesnt have a home. Think about that….and you want to give a 15 yr old little boy 20 yrs of his life for that bullshit? You people obviously have not done 1 day in jail nor have you felt what it is like to lose a 15 yr old. This boys life is now ruined completely. He will never get a decent job and in fact will probably be more of a maniac,,,getting out in 20(if he lives it out)..than he was going in. The dog bit him..id dropkicked its little ass across the room…but not killed it. Its only a weener dog. Anyway….The boy should be placed in a rehabilitation program without medicine. Simply reviewed,,and spoken to about his actions. A 15 year old boy is very impressionable. And this kid will most likely be determined by his sentence as well. Oh..i killed a dog..im doin 20. Sitting beside a piece of shit mothafucker doing 8…for homocide…on a human,,and if it were your brother…going away..or…dead…how would you feel? Im just saying,,you pathetic fucking morons…are the death…of America..get a life…or learn about others’s. Bye

  4. It is difficult for a country with too little compassion to pass sentences on crimes that would better be solved by some true rehabilitation. I am confident that if this young man stay in prison for 20 years, he may graduate to killing humans.

  5. we had a thing in a place called Dunblaine in 1996, where 16 small children were massacred by a guy who had a lot of weapons, all legally held and correctly licenced.

    in 1997 they amended the firearms act and virtually outlawed private gun ownership.

    only licenced shotguns and airguns (b-b guns) and a very few highly legislated long bore hunting weapons are at the moment allowed and since the recent Workington shootings I can see that being tightened up, because the killer used legally held and properly licenced weapons.

    Sayng that, if you want to pick a positive out of it, the UK has the lowest rate of gun homocides in the world and the police are not armed as a norm, so less chance of getting gunned down by a trigger happy copper

  6. Spam says
    In the UK where ordinary citizens cant be trusted to possess real firearms to defend ourselves.

    You aint allowed nothing at all?

    That’s just so damn wrong, even the Swiss are armed, I always thought the brits were more enlightened than that

  7. “I know a guy that almost shot the brains out of a little prick (no it wasn’t Bud) that broke into his house. The cops found hair and skin in the wall, grazed his head with a 9mm. Now that is a close shave. Lucky this kid didn’t break into the house of a gun loving, well armed citizen.”

    In the UK where ordinary citizens cant be trusted to possess real firearms to defend ourselves, we would have to catch the little fella in situ and then express ourselves rather liberally with a bat, or other blunt object to hand in order to protect our family and home from these “people”

    I suppose it’s all down to the interpretation of whose rights are the greatest, those of the homeowner to protect themselves and live in peace, or the housebreaker who makes an active decision to impose themselves on someone elses life and therefore (in my opinion) has any such rights diminished. As I said, a matter of interpretation

  8. To all the animal-loving pet keepers in here with the my-pet-is-my-brother-arguement in here.

    It is not.

    If your dog is like your brother, the spider, the fly and the fungus on your dick are too, but somehow… if it’s a bacteria, the sanctity of life doesn’t even seem to apply all of a sudden
    not true Jericho, http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/11/071106194009.htm ‘ bacteria are absolutely necessary to life, “Dr. Gerald Callahan, who studies bacteria and infectious diseases at Colorado State University, argues that all living things on earth must have infections to thrive, and society’s challenge is to sort the good infections from the bad infections.”.

    and St. Francis and St. Clare took the understanding even further, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CZZFO9F8FWU&feature=related

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