Flaws in the laws

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, July 1996:

Calls to reform Massachusetts
child neglect law rose on May 23 when Essex
County authorities filed cruelty charges against
Heidi Dreher, 25, of Hyannis, and Kenneth
Reader, 25, of Windham, New Hampshire,
for leaving a border collie locked in a hot car,
but were unable to charge them for leaving two
small children in the same vehicle. Police officer
Albert Inostroza did arrest them for possession
of crack cocaine. Reader was also
charged with assaulting Inostroza; Dreher was
additionally charged with disorderly conduct.
The children were turned over to the state
Department of Social Services, while the dog
was taken to the Methuen shelter of the
Massachusetts SPCA. State senators Frederick
Berry and James Jajuga said on May 28 that
they were drafting appropriate legislation.

“I spent about eight years in the
field, and am currently on the board of the
Arizona Humane Society,” Gary Wilkes
recently posted to the America On Line Animal
Control Officer Forum. “We microchip. We
scan. But one of the things that sinks the
whole concept is the ever-increasing punitive
nature of animal control. As long as city councils
and prosecutors threaten big fines for leash
law violations, the owners who are really the
problem aren’t going to put any identification
on their dogs.”
Pasadena, California municipal
judge Elvira Mitchell on June 4 dismissed a
charge of violating the leash law filed against
Kalyn Baker, 36, for allegedly allowing her
pet pig to “wander at large” on walks, on
grounds the law pertains only to dogs.
Sheboygan, Wisconsin, is updating
animal cruelty statutes last revised in
1987. The Common Council Public Protection
and Safety Committee has recommended that
the fines for cruelty or torture be increased
from the range of $25-$100 to $250-$500, and
that the fines for neglect or abandonment be
raised from the same range to $50-$100.
Alderman Peter Govek originally sought the
same increases for both categories of offense,
but deputy police chief Ralph Marcheske
reportedly objected that $250 is too high a
penalty for leaving an animal without water.

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