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Crime and punishment

October 26, 2011
By George J. Bryjak

The torture killing of a great blue heron this past summer triggered outrage on the part of Tri-Lakes residents, with many calling for more severe punishment for this cruelty-to-animals offense. While I agree that the state penalty for this misdemeanor offense - a MAXIMUM $1,000 fine and/or up to one year in prison - is far too light (misdemeanor convictions often result in a fine and no jail time), simply increasing the severity of punishment will not result in a significantly lower incidence of these crimes. ("Buster's Law," so named for an abused cat, was passed in 1999 and carries a prison sentence of up to two years for inflicting "serious physical cruelty to a companion animal with aggravated cruelty.")



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