We have often discussed the low level of punishment meted out for the abuse or killing of animals in this country. Perhaps no case better illustrates the problem than the “prosecution” of Jeremy Shane Temple. A malnourished and flee-covered German Shepard Toby (later named Joseph) with teeth knocked out was found chained to a tree by Temple, his owner. Toby was left chained to the tree for four years and showed signs of abuse. The punishment thus far? A $25 fine.
At that rate, years of torturing and abusing an animal will cost you less than $7 annually. For those with a taste for torture, that is cheaper than a movie. Temple was released, though according to one report he will have to return to face charges of cruelty to a companion animal, unlicensed dog and improper chaining or tethering. Charges like have an unlicensed dog and improper chaining rarely generate significant penalties. That will leave the cruelty charge as the sole but unlikely hope for additional punishment. However, the Ohio statute provides only for an misdemeanor in my first reading. (“Whoever violates division (A) of section 959.13 of the Revised Code is guilty of a misdemeanor of the second degree.”).
Police say that when they asked Temple about the condition of his dog, he is quoted as saying the “dog is not a human.” Of course, most people would say that about Temple but such irony seemed lost on him as he left $25 bucks and walked free.