What would you consider a "just" sentence for a pair who starved 14 animals to death and another 28 animals to the brink of death? Recently, a Louisiana judge ensured that two horrible animal abusers each served only a single day in jail, got a $1,000 fine (a fifth of the fine recommended for minimum sentencing), 160 hours of community service, and three years of probation. Let Judge Tony A. Bennett know that he has an obligation to ensure that psychopaths don't get away with murder!
On October 20, 2018, law enforcement and rescuers from Louisiana Humane Society from across Vernon Parish, Louisiana, responded to a report of an unresponsive miniature horse and dead animals in varying stages of decay laying in someone's front yard.
When they attended the scene, they discovered a hellish sight. In addition to the miniature horse, responders found 12 animals decomposing in "plain view." They seized nine dogs, eight donkeys, six horses, six dogs, and a goat from the property that day, all in a pitiful state. No food supplies for the animals were found on the property except for some rabbit food and a bit of hay.
The miniature horse miraculously survived, but a palomino horse and the pygmy goat who were both seized perished the following day from the dehydration and starvation that they had so hellishly endured.
The callous and negligent guardians, Steven Ray Jones and Holly Nicole Dowden, were arrested. Jones initially claimed someone was poisoning his animals. A veterinarian assessed the animals and determined from lab results that none had been poisoned; the animals died from sheer deprivation.
After rescuers spent months waiting for Jones and Dowden to pay for the abhorrent treatment of the abused animals, Judge Tony A. Bennett of Louisiana's 30th District Court committed a travesty of justice in his sentencing of the loathsome pair.
For the starvation of 42 animals, Judge Bennett charged the defendants with a single count each of aggravated cruelty to animals. The crime carries a minimum fine of $5,000 up to a maximum of $25,000, and/or prison time, with or without hard labor, for a minimum of one year up to ten years.
Despite the just law and fitting penalties for the heinous crime of aggravated animal cruelty, Judge Bennett imposed upon each of them a mere $1,000 fine, three years of probation, and the couple must return to court for psychological counseling to be imposed at their own cost. Worst of all, he thoughtlessly ordered them to perform one hundred and sixty hours of community service at a humane society; it's the equivalent to handing the keys of a daycare center to a pedophile!
Judges who impose ridiculously lenient penalties for horrific animal cruelty undermine the law and demean the years of work done by animal advocates, agencies, and the public to gain justice for abused animals. They encourage people to continue abusing animals, as without penalty, many people continue to behave in the same ways they have been all along, which is terrible for their animal victims.
We implore you to join us in making a lasting impression on Judge Bennett as we call him out for his egregious violation of his oath to uphold Louisiana law and failure to ensure justice for animal victims of crime.
1) Please make a call to Judge Bennett to let him know how disappointed you are with this horribly lenient sentence. Please be very polite to the receptionist who answers your call.
Judge Bennett — (337) 239-2147
You might say something like the following:
I am calling with grave concern for the lenient sentencing that Judge Bennett levied on Steven Ray Jones and Holly Nicole Dowden who pled to horrific animal cruelty. Please tell Judge Bennett that I'm very disappointed and hope that animal abusers will receive harsher sentences moving forward.
2) Send our letter to Judge Tony A. Bennett of Louisiana's 30th District Court.
Animal Abusers Should Get Maximum Sentencing Allowed
Dear [Decision Maker],
Sincerely,[Your Name] [Your Address] [City, State ZIP]
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