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Animal Rights Activists Seek Tougher Cruelty Penalties

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ)—When a Siberian Husky was shot and killed at a Severn dog park by an off-duty federal police officer, animal lovers were outraged. After the officer was convicted of misdemeanor charges, there was a call for stiffer penalties for animal abuse.

Mike Schuh reports on a tougher law working its way through Annapolis.

Bear-Bear, the Siberian Husky, died in Severn after he was shot in a dog park. But what happened to him is being felt in a packed, standing-room only hearing room in Annapolis.  

The changes to Maryland’s animal abuse law would include liquids to set animals on fire. It was written in response to Phoenix the dog. In 2009, she was burned after something flammable was poured on her. Likewise, the recent Mittens the cat case would also be covered.

If this law were to pass, the fine would go from $1,000 to $2,500 and time in jail would go from 90 days to six months.

Before the hearing, Bear-Bear’s owner Ryan Rettaliata urged lawmakers to move fast.

“After my incident, there must’ve been eight or nine other incidents around our country, let alone the state of Maryland, where this has happened,” Rettaliata said. “So I have to lend support for my dog and for the situation I’ve gone through.”

Bear-Bear’s death happened in Anne Arundel County. Its county executive pushed for the changes.

“We’re not going to tolerate the abuse of animals,” said Anne Arundel County Executive John Leopold. “This abuse of animals is usually a precursor for serious crimes committed by juveniles against human beings. So it’s important to try to nip this in the bud.”

The companion bill will be introduced in the Senate next week.

More from Mike Schuh
Comments

One Comment

  1. aimee says:

    ‘The greatness of a nation and its moral progress

    can be judged by the ways its animals are treated

    ~ Mahatma Gandhi’

    Something for all to think about.

    1. gary says:

      thats a great point, india, where millions of people are starving, but you walk into one of the temples and there are gold saucers and gold plates full of honey and milk for ………………..rats, yes they worship them
      outside the temple cows freely walk around the starving people, why ? because of religion, that cow might be your late uncle harry, so the cow lives and the people starve to death
      I have been to india many times, I’m just reporting what I have seen
      Mahatma Gandh would be proud

  2. Debbie says:

    the jail sentence should be even longer and the fine even higher maybe people would think twice before doing such violent acts. This is just cruel , animals can’t speak for themselves.

  3. Anne says:

    About time. Maybe justice will finally be served for these and other poor innocent animals and the perpetrators will get the maximum sentences.

  4. bernard F Mc Kernan says:

    I don’t see any real big changes forthcoming as most of the abuse comes from under age 18 & is considered minor. Put the parents in jail for teaching or allowing this abnormal behavior.

  5. Virginia Peiffer says:

    YES WE NEED MUCH STRONGER LAWS WITH ANIMAL CRUELTY. AND WE NEED TO DO IT NOW NOT TOMORROW BUT NOW. WHILE WERE AT IT……………WHAT IS OUR RESPONSIBILITY WHEN ITS COME TO THE ANIMAL SHELTERS OF THE ASPCA……WHY ARE THEY ALLOWED TO KILL INNOCENT KITTENS AND PUPPIES BECAUSE THEY CAN’T FIND THEM HOMES!!!!! THEY CAN IF THEY DO THE RIGHT THING AND THAT IS PLACE THEM IN GOOD HONEST PET SHOPS. NOW THINK ON THIS TOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  6. gary says:

    I think Animal Activists should be declared illegal in this country
    what a waste of taxpayer money

    1. Lee Bowling says:

      YOUR NOTHING BUT A BIGOT. GOAT SUCKER

  7. brady says:

    Can I just say that shooting a dog point blank and it dropping is NOT animal abuse. That is successfully dispatching an animal.
    Before euthazol and ‘animal rights’ nazis, people shot their dogs to put them down. In fact, many still do. Do it right and it’s actually much more humane than euthanasia.
    Also, this case was NOT about animal abuse, it was about the debate concerning whether or not the person was right in shooting the dog. It was never considered abuse.

  8. susan says:

    I agree, it’s about time for stricter penalties. Even if they are younger than 18 they should be tried as adults because they knew what they are doing. If some states can charge a 8 yr. old for murder as adults then we should because in a sense those so-called kids are attempting murder when they do these terrible acts to animals then they can do it to adults.

  9. bernard F Mc Kernan says:

    Susan, How many eight yr. olds do you actually know or heard of that were tried for murder & it was always plea bargained & there is no Judge that will sentence an 8 yr to life or death. Get real. A mental institution where he can then learn to become a better criminal is what will happen.

  10. D Rodriguez says:

    We do need stricter penalties for People who feel they have a right to harm ANY animal.We Need more help.The ASPCA cannot do everything on there own.We need to step up and help any way we can. Let’s all help get stricter laws for animal rights and NOT just a slap on the wrist. I still think its not right that a police goes into a FAMILY Dog park With a Loaded GUN. Hello!!! Children, Park!!! And Just A Slap on the wrist,No Jail time.If this would have been Joe Blow He would do Jail time&Money and Maybe Loose his Job.

  11. MIKE says:

    LOVE YOUR PET. PROTECT YOUR PET. TRAIN YOUR PET. BE RESPONSIBLE FOR YOUR PET. SPAY,NUETER AND EUTHANIZE TO CONTROL POPULATIONS. ALWAYS PUT HUMANS 1ST ! ENFORCE THE LAWS ON THE BOOKS AND LET THE COURTS BE THE JUDGE. MANY WRITE THAT ANIMAL ABUSE IS A PATH TO BECOMING A SERIAL KILLER AND CALL FOR CAPITAL PUNISHMENT FOR THOSE INVOLVED. I AM MORE WORRIED ABOUT THE MENTAL STATE OF THOSE WHO RUSH TO JUDGEMENT AND CALL FOR EXTREME PENALTIES BECAUSE THEY LET THEIR EMOTIONS TAKE OVER WHEN CALLING FOR PUNISHMENT.

    1. carol says:

      Thank you. Could’ve done without the all caps, but I completely agree with what you said.

  12. A says:

    This case was not about animal abuse. It was about if the person had the right to shoot the husky because he felt in danger.

  13. larry says:

    Here is a video on animal rights: http://meat.org

  14. linda says:

    Need very high fines & very long jail time

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