Animal lovers come in all shapes and sizes. Some of us take care of them in the little ways that we can but one judge has the power to take care of animals in a unique way. He is giving unusual sentences to animal abusers in Ohio to change their ways.
Judge Michael Cicconetti presides over cases in his hometown of Painesville, Ohio. His interesting judgments have made him famous across the country and even around the world.
There is one particular type of criminal that really gets him upset and that is when they abuse animals.
Thankfully, the judge has a compassion for animals that is easy to see in the courtroom. Not only is he stopping people from abusing animals, he is doing it in a way that sends a clear warning to others who might consider doing it.
It started when Judge Mike began noticing a repeat criminal behavior for those who were abusing animals. He finally had enough and decided he was going to do all he could to stop it.
The standard approach of doling out fines or short prison terms was not changing the behavior. Judge Mike decided to get creative and it is getting people’s attention.
In one particular case, a woman had been charged with animal neglect. Her dog, Moose, was found living in horrible conditions.
Rather than giving the sentence of the night in jail, the judge decided on something much more apropos. He gave her the option of taking on one of these unusual sentences. Perhaps she thought that it was the easy way out but she soon found otherwise.
“I want you to go down to the county dump, to the landfill, and I want them to find the stinkiest, smelliest, God-awful odor place they can find in that dump and I want you to sit there for eight hours tomorrow, to think about what you did to that dog while you smell the odor. If you puke, you puke.”
Some people say that Judge Mike is doing this for publicity but nothing could be further from the truth.
He wants to raise awareness of animal abuse and he is using his office as a judge to make it happen. With new animal rights legislation on the horizon, it may be that we will soon see more of this.
The judge has been a friend of dogs since he was a child. He had a family dog, named Herman.
Herman was a mixed breed Dachshund and his best friend. Even though he has been known for years, the judge still continues to love dogs very much. He now has a Bernese Mountain dog, Kasey that was given to him from a dying friend.
This isn’t only something that is happening with dogs. In one particular case, a woman had abandoned some 40 kittens in the woods and he delivered one of his epic sentences.
He didn’t want to stop with just giving her a fine and jail time. He also wanted her to feel what they felt.
He ordered her to spend a night in the frozen wilderness by herself to ponder over what she had done. Before he did so, he grilled her on her lack of compassion.
“How would you like to be dumped off at a metro park late at night, spend the night listening to the coyotes … listening to the raccoons around you in the dark night, and sit out there in the cold not knowing where you’re going to get your next meal, not knowing when you are going to be rescued?”
The judge has received a considerable amount of publicity and is hoping that it will teach people about the consequences of animal abuse. He wants the harsh sentences he is passing down to reflect what may be behind the scenes, the possibility for domestic violence and child abuse.
Judge Mike wants people to think about animal rights and is in the process of creating a registry that could label people as animal abusers in the same way that it labels sex offenders. It would keep people from getting animals when they have a history of abuse.