Crime Trackers

Apr 29, 2013 7:45 PM by Lupita Murillo

Animal abuse sentencing doesn't fit the crime

TUCSON-Laws are on the books to protect animals from abuse. But are those laws tough enough and do they keep these people from doing it again?

"It was one of the most horrible things I have ever seen, says Pat Hubbard who was the operations manager at the Southern Arizona Humane Society in 2008.'

"There were dogs with eyes hanging out. There were dogs with rotten mouths. There were dogs with rectal infections."

Dogs were stacked in crates and pens at Wanda Jones' Avra Valley home."

Hubbard says, "They (dogs) were so frightened and so scared and so unsocialized."

Tulip was one of those dogs five years ago. But she got a second chance at life when she was adopted by Terri Caminker , "

"I don't know if I saved her, or she saved me. She's added a lot to my life."
Wanda and Billy Jones received three years probation.

Under the conditions of probation Wanda Jones can have no more than five pets, and is subject to random inspections from the Probation Department and Pima Animal Care. Her husband Billy has since passed. The prosecutor says so far she's been in compliance.

In another horrible case of abuse in 2008, Hector Raul Trujillo was convicted of trying to kill a police dog. The crime caught on tape. His punishment? One year in prison. We wanted to know why the sentences didn't seem to fit the crimes?

Rona Kreamer prosecuted both cases.

She says, "No sentence is ever going to be enough for these victims, these poor animals. But this is the sentence available under the law."
We went to State Senator Steve Farley to ask why the laws aren't tough enough for these criminals. He says, "I am outraged but sadly not surprised." That's why he adds, "i've been trying to change them. In fact I have had an animal abuser registry bill this year. It's bill 1161 which has not gotten a hearing even though I have bi partisian support on the bill. "

Senator Farley blames the ranching lobby.
"The ranching industry has routinely opposed any increases in stringencies on animal cruelty laws."
News 4 Tucson reached out to the Arizona Cattlemen's Association, they issued the following the statement: The Arizona Cattlemen's Association, does not tolerate any animal abuse and those found convicted of animal abuse should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. The association is always willing to discuss statutory changes to address animal abuse issues.

An invitation that Farley would certainly entertain. "When people have cruel acts against animals they are likely to have cruel acts against humans."

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