Guy kicks dog, gets jail time. Now what?


I have to admit, straight away. I am NOT a  nice person. I am not personable. I do not suffer fools gladly. I am sarcastic, and snarky.  But I am funny, and I am  compassionate in an intellectual way (as Temple Grandin is).

I have always liked animals, been curious about them, and I’ve always been interested in justice.  I am to the left of center.  I am aghast at the  goings on in this country that  are not fair, but are legal—like the guy exonerated for a rape & murder he did not commit after 15 years in jail.  His face—mugshot, is up on a website called  WWW.MUGSHOT.COM &  they will not take it down unless he pays them. I’d call it extortion—but until the owners of the website are prosecuted for extortion, it  is legal.

However, some things are a judgement call. We have to  err on the side of caution.

There is a group in my area, started by both dogs lovers and people interested in justice and addressing violence.  It is http://www.D.A.W.G. org   They work with another group called http://www.SafeHumaneChicago.org .  I knew one of the people who started the group, and felt the concept was  what I wanted to support, but, being an independent contractor, and having an odd work schedule, I could not commit specific hours or days.  However, I could be a court advocate/ observer.

You just have to show up in court and wear a badge. Sometimes, the prosecuting attorney will acknowledge you, sometimes not.  Sometimes, they will give you a history of the case, and what they know about the judge.

In Illinois, the least experience attorneys are assigned to  prosecute  these cases.  However, they are not jaded, they have integrity, ans we are all working for justice.  I urge you, in any locality, to contact your local police, local sheriff,  the district or state’s attorneys, work with others, form a group, and  ask that violence towards animals be taken seriously.  & if you can, volunteeer at Domestic Violence Court as well.

I am changing a few of the  facts of this case to protect a bunch of people, but  because it made the news, and was not  totally plausible, here is what happened:

The dog kicker was walking down the street with some friends. He did not know the police were  on the street in an unmarked vehicle, behind him. They were not watching him, they were just on random patrol in an inner city neighborhood.  Statiscticly, that is where crime occurs.  They saw the guy kick something, it went high into the air. The police did not know what it was until it landed, and then they realized it was a puppy.  So, they immediately got out of the car, & pulled the guy over.

Now, in Chicago, as in many inner city neighborhoods, the police don’t immediately tell you if you are under arrest, or why they pulled you over—especially if you are walking while Black.  They usually use some pretty insulting language as well. They presume you are guilty until proven innocent. This is a fact, every person of color knows this.  He was searched for weapons & drugs, and the police even looked around the vicinity to see if there were any drugs hidden. Nobody went up to the animal, which crawled a few steps & laid down (so you know it wasn’t compassion that made the police stop).  The guy could not believe he was being arrested for kicking a dog, and even  said to the police  that there were 5 murders in the neighborhood that week, and  he was incredulous about his arrest.

Granted, all the people involved—the defendant and the police, need charm school. A lot of swearing ensued, and the police were rough. But the fact is they arrested this guy for animal cruelty…..but  it was a little more complicated because….the dog kicker was out on parole for felonies.

There are a bunch of reasons he could have been on parole. His crimes were non-violent, and are jails are full.  But that  arrest for anything was an immediate go directly back to jail card.

I am not going to defend this guy’s behavior, but the fact of the  matter is—he didn’t have a clue. In some communities, violence is the norm.  I have  lived in Africa and Asia, and what people do to  animals—hey—what they do to women  and kids —is shocking.  Michael Vick, the football player/dog fighter, can tell you this. This is not adefense. It is  real, and that is why we are working on all aspects of the problem.

So….dog kicker had a trial, and got more jail. Now what?  Because he is going to get out of jail, and be the same loser.  He is not going to Lake Forest, or Beverly Hills, or the Hamptons. He is coming back to inner city Chicago.

& this is why I am looking  at restorative justice and alternative sentencing, so we can work with these individuals and try to correct his perception that violence against  those weak is ok.

I urge you to look up the concept of Restorative Justice, if you want to deal with  the bad guys.  Someone asked me if we wanted the dog fighters and those accused of cruelty —punished.  We want justice served.  We want our communities made whole.  Punishing will not solve the problem. having these guys live in a community of neighbors who let them know that violence is not tolerated, and why empathy & kindness is what we do, is part of the solution. Then, if they don’t ‘get it’—that’s what jails are for.

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One Response to “Guy kicks dog, gets jail time. Now what?”

  1. Frankie Says:

    That’s really interesting Robyn – makes you wonder about the whole system of so called justice doesn’t it. Incidentally, do you know what happened to that poor little puppy and its owner? Humans can (mostly) look after themselves but our animal friends need our protection not abuse. I do hope it was OK.

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