Two Cases In The United States and Australia Raise Questions Of Punishment For The Torture Of Animals

Qokka_by_the_Hotel_Rottnest,_WA,_Rottnest_Islandmoose-John-J-MosessoThere are two more disturbing cases highlighting the abuse of animals and the limited sanctions available in such cases. In Anchorage, three men were arrested after they allegedly killed a yearling moose after tormenting it in a public park area. In Australia, two men were arrested for trying to burn a small protected animal alive for fun. In both cases, there is a considerable gap between the horrific actions and the penalties under the law.

Anchorage police arrested Johnathan Candelario, 25, James Galloway, 28, and Nick Johnston, 33, on felony animal-cruelty charges in connection with the case. Police are familiar with the men. Candelario has prior convictions for fourth-degree assault, unauthorized entry and criminally negligent burning. Johnston has at least eight misdemeanor assault convictions as well as a lengthy record of arrests for domestic-violence offenses. Galloway has the lightest record with just traffic charges.

Witnesses say they saw the three men jumping on the moose, kicking it and stabbing it with a large knife. The men were reportedly apprehended covered in blood and knives were later found. They were charged with charges of animal cruelty, wanton waste of big game and tampering with evidence.

The first charge could carry the longest sentence for cruelty as opposed to “wanton waste of big game.” However, most such crimes are treated as a Class A misdemeanor subject to a $5,000 fine and 1 year in jail. Alaska Stat. §12.55.015 It is only with a third offense of animal cruelty within 10 years that the offense becomes a Class C felony punishable basically by up to 5 years in prison and a $50,000 fine. Alaska Stat. §§12.55.125,12.55.035 It can also become a Class C felony if the abuser has 2 prior convictions within 10 years for involvement with dog fighting. Alaska Stat. §11.61.145(a)(1),(2). The reports do not mention animal cruelty charges in the past so it is possible that these men could face a year or less in jail.

1429581569845In the meantime in Australia, Thibaud Jean Leon Valette, 24, and his cousin Jean Mickael Batrikian, 18, were found guilty of animal cruelty for burning a quokka with a homemade flamethrower fuelled by a deodorant can. A quokka is a small macropod about the size of a domestic cat. It is a harmless herbivore. For this truly heinous act, they were ordered by a court to each pay $4000 or spend a week in jail as punishment. That’s it.

The two however are staying in jail despite the fact that they have thousands in cash earned as cleaners on Rottnest Island with $12,000 between them.

Coverage claims that the Valette, a budding journalist and is the son of a police officer. It was Batrikian who operated the deodorant-can flamethrower. However, Valette sarcastically described his experience in Australia following the quokka incident as “awesome.”

The quokka survived the ordeal but was spotted with a half burnt body.

The Alaskan case will likely generate more significant penalties but the treatment in Australia shows how the torturing of animals is still treated as relatively minor offenses in most places in the world. Even in Alaska, the code appears to require multiple offenses to kick up to a Class C felony. That is still an improvement from a few years ago when the state was one of those with no felony provision for animal cruelty.

23 thoughts on “Two Cases In The United States and Australia Raise Questions Of Punishment For The Torture Of Animals”

  1. The burning of an animal is a sign of mental problems. They should be held until psychiatrists decide. The pay for those psychiatrists will come from the burners.

    How do you know how old an animal is? Dumb is dumb and we can’t change that. Cruelty can be dealt with equally. I will pour the water.

  2. Stay strong, Karen. Squeeky has been doing superbly not taking the taunts or drinking troll poison.

  3. It is BEAUTIFUL when a troll taunts someone and it is IGNORED! Just BEAUTIFUL!

  4. Nick

    It has been more than forty-five years since I travelled the back roads of Northern Alberta and many of the US States, but I remember the signs used as target practice almost everywhere there was no one around, in Texas, Alabama, Wyoming, Montana, almost anywhere. I hitched the back roads cuz the freeways were scary and sometimes it took all day to get a ride. The people I met and the stories I heard didn’t come from the freeways.

    There is a big difference between Banff and Northern Alberta. Banff is in the southwest, next to BC. Jasper is in the middle. This would be like seeing signs full of holes in Orange County or god forbid, San Diego. My Dad was stationed in Edmonton at the Navy’s recruiting center. We lived there for my Junior High School Days and the family of six camped in the Rockies every summer. I can still smell that damp war surplus tent.

    When I worked the pipelines during two summers north east of Edmonton next to the Saskatchewan border, we would drive from bar to bar to the east because the time changed at the border so we could get in another hour. What I remember most vividly was four wheel turns and shooting signs. I also saw them everywhere on the back roads. Perhaps these times only exist now in Alaska. It used to be signs and gophers were target practice. It is strange how a road sign full of holes represents both some perverse freedom as well as plain vandalism, mustaches on models in magazines, graffiti, sneakers hanging from power lines, and so on.

  5. Did not see this in Alberta either. Do you consider Banff and Lake Louise northern? That was one of our favorite trips. Ate the best elk ever, followed closely by elk @ an Indian casino fine dining restaurant in Ruidoso, NM.

  6. Isaac, I have never observed this in Texas or Alabama, and I have travelled Texas extensively. Not saying it doesn’t happen, but I haven’t seen it. Between Anchorage and Denali we got off the highway and virtually all the stop signs were bullet riddled. I did not see this in the Yukon when we visited. My friend attributed the Alaska craziness to booze, long nights, and guns everywhere. My FBI friend hates guns. He was supposed to carry his off duty, but did not. Booze is a huge problem in Alaska. The indigenous people can’t genetically handle booze.

  7. Nick

    Lots of stop signs like that in Northern Alberta, Alabama, Texas…….., not sure what is specifically has to do with Alaska. My kid brother, wife, and son live in Whitehorse, very yuppy and not too many guns. However the fools are there too.

    1. issac – a former US Senator from Wyoming was convicted of shooting a mailbox. They are tempting targets when driving at 60 mph down a dirt road. It is not an easy shot. 😉

  8. The behavior in these two examples is indicative of a psychological disorder, which, if left untreated, could present a danger to humans encountering these criminals in the future.

    Yes. I does take a sick and depraved mind to think that these types of actions are just fun or pranks. These are likely the precursors to even worse actions. Many serial killers have started their careers by practicing on animals.

    I say lock them up and get some psychological counseling.

  9. Both Alaska and Australia have a Live Free or Die attitude. Not sure much is going to change.

  10. The law includes punishment but must surely be focused more towards prevention. It seems that there are enough reasons for all of these mentally deficients/challenged to force them to not only pay fines but undergo extensive psychiatric work. Two of the idiots in Alaska are prime candidates for causing harm and perhaps the murder of that other animal, the human. There are some lose screws here that need attention. Punishing them only fuels their engines. Society needs to address the drivers. Mandatory psychiatric treatment and monitoring for two to five years.

  11. Shave their heads and impose a tattoo of a rat on their head. This way if a rat head comes into your store, bar or restaurant you do not serve him. Rat Heads!

  12. Cruelty combined with a lack of empathy is an especially deviant mindset.
    People who commit acts like these are typically among the worst in scale of sociopaths or psychopaths and cannot be trusted as they are willing to act out on harmful urges.

  13. There was a time, not so long ago, when abuse of one’s children or spouse wasn’t taken particularly seriously. The laws will change as society evolves. I agree with DS, that citizens need to express outrage and pressure the legislature to toughen the laws. I certainly would not want to be in prison for animal abuse. I would imagine the punk would be viewed as similar to a child abuser and be subject to a lot of bullying.

  14. Darren smith discusses the possibility of locking someone up?? I’m surprised!! Liberty behind bar for all!!

  15. Such outrages can spur a legislature into action if enough citizens express their outrage. Washington’s animal cruelty law formerly only contained a gross misdemeanor provision. (It might have been a misdemeanor only but my memory escapes me as to which one.)

    Then there was an outrage in the early 1990’s after two guys burglarized a petting zoo, stabbed, then beat a donkey to death with a baseball bat.

    The court convicted them and maxed them out on the fine and the determinate maximum jail sentence. The judge stated that had Washington a felony animal cruelty law he would have sentenced the convicts to prison. In fact, the judge called upon the legislature to create a felony animal cruelty law which later came into being.

  16. Animals should not be tortured. Unfortunately when people treat the torture of other humans as nothing much and allow those who created the torture programs to walk scott free and offer advice onforeign policy, it I hard to understand why anyone gets upset about the torture of animals.

  17. I say, throw the book at them. In these cases, I say throw the moose and the quokka at them.

    The behavior in these two examples is indicative of a psychological disorder, which, if left untreated, could present a danger to humans encountering these criminals in the future. Where is the mandatory psychological treatment/therapy to guard against these cruel and vicious acts occurring once again? Next time, these sociopaths could target a person, as cruelty towards animals can be a precursor to the victimizing of humans.

  18. We’ve been told, “America does not torture”…
    Sure, the land mass known as the USA doesn’t, but people do.

    The perfect defense to torture is, “they’re the bad guy”.
    Try it in court… It worked for Cheney and Bush and Yoo.

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