There is a deeply disturbing case of Illinois where Josephine Bell, 71, is accused of killing her granddaughter’s cat and four kittens with a hammer to teach her grand kids a lesson for not cleaning their rooms. The case again raises the question of the proper punishment for cruelty to animals separate from the obvious abuse of this 13-year-old child.
The trauma for the granddaughter must have been incredible when she opened a freezer to retrieve a snack only to find the dead bodies of her cat and kittens. She texted a relative and police were called.
When police arrived, Bell explained that the kids refused to clean their rooms so she apparently considered massacring all of the pets in the house to be a proper and logical response.
She is charged with Aggravated Animal Cruelty. Illinois has one of the more protective laws but it is still only 1-3 years in jail. However, the police say that, given her lack of criminal history, she will be likely allowed to walk with a fine and probation. I am surprised that she was not also charged with child abuse in this circumstance. I find it astonishing that she could savagely kill these animals and torment these children and not spend time in jail.
Notably, the week before the family dog was taken from the home out of concern for its well-being.
What do you think? Is probation enough? Should her age be a determinative factor in avoiding jail time?