Felony Sentencing

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, December 2004:

Circuit Judge Wyatt Saunders of Charleston County, South
Carolina, on November 23, 2004 sentenced David Ray Tant, 57, to
serve 40 years in prison, after Tant pleaded guilty to 41 counts of
dogfighting and assault and battery. Tant could get 10 years off if
he pays the estimated $150,000 cost of impounding 49 pit bull
terriers seized in the case, pays court costs, and covers the
medical care of a surveyor who in April 2004 tripped over a
booby-trap near Tant’s premises and was hit by a shotgun blast. The
dogs, held since April 2004 at the John Ancrum SPCA, were killed on
November 24. Their presence had reportedly obliged the SPCA to kill
many other impounded dogs, due to lack of kennel space. Prosecutor
Jennifer Evans told Sammy Fretwell of Associated Press that Tant must
serve most of 30 years in prison before winning parole, but
Charleston Post & Courier staff reporter Herb Frazier wrote that
“Tant could be eligible for release in about eight years.”

John W. Witham, 27, the first person charged with felony
cruelty to an animal in Maine, is expected to appeal a four-year
prison term issued on December 2 by Augusta Superior Court Justice
Joseph Jabar. Witham was already serving nine months in jail for
heroin possession, with three years suspended, when convicted at a
jury trial of deliberately running over a pet carrier in which a cat
kept by the daughter of estranged girlfriend Jessica James was having
kittens. Witham was on bail at the time for allegedly assaulting
James and was under a court order to stay away from her. Defense
attorney Andrews Campbell objected that, “The usual sentence for
animal cruelty is 60 days.” In Dakota County, Minnesota, District
Judge Leslie Metzen on December 10 issued only a 60-day sentence to
Joseph Donald Leir, 30, of Hudson, Wisconsin, who in a parallel
case was convicted of felony cruelty for killing two cats kept by
former girlfriend Jennifer Berquist.

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