leifertlaw November 30, 2012 Animal Cruelty
An 82-year-old man from Fort Lauderdale was recently sentenced to three years in prison because his dog attacked and killed a cat earlier this year.
Specifically, he had been convicted on charges of animal cruelty and trespassing.
Our Fort Lauderdale criminal defense lawyers believe three years is excessive, despite the fact that another animal lost its life. This case illustrates why it’s so critical to secure an experienced criminal defense attorney, no matter what the charges against you, as there is often a great deal at stake.
Part of the problem, in this case, was that the defendant had recently been released from jail pending his arrest for a charge of aggravated battery. There were certain conditions of that release that prosecutors said were violated by virtue of the fact that he had committed another crime. We don’t have the details on that earlier crime, and we do know that he is still awaiting trial on that charge.
In the newer case, surveillance video reportedly showed the elderly man walking his dog on a leash on S. Andrews Avenue. Then, while in front of a business, the man reportedly walked his dog up the driveway to the porch where the cat was resting. At that point, the dog began to maul the cat. At one point, the video seems to show the defendant stepping on the cat in order to pull the dog away from it. The defendant then left with his dog, and the cat, which was a pet and not a stray, later died of its injuries.
Florida Statute 828.12 defines animal cruelty as any person who unnecessarily overloads, overdrives, torments, mutilates, kills or deprives of food or shelter any animal in a way that is cruel or inhumane.
This is considered a first-degree misdemeanor, punishable by up to one year in prison UNLESS the person intentionally commits an act that results in a cruel death or the repeated infliction of pain and suffering to an animal. In the later case, it’s considered a third-degree felony, which is punishable by up to five years in prison.
A jury, in this case, found the defendant guilty of felony animal cruelty and sentenced him to two years less than the maximum. In addition, the man will not be allowed to possess a pet when he is released from prison – at the age of 85. Also upon his release, he must serve two years of probation.
Even in cases where animal cruelty charges are filed as a misdemeanor, it’s wise to consult with a criminal defense attorney. Even if you aren’t anticipating jail, there is no guarantee of that and this is the type of charge that could prevent you from getting into certain schools, landing certain jobs and could even result in your being fired from the job you have, depending on your career field.
If you have been arrested in Palm Beach or Broward counties, contact the Law Offices of Leifert & Leifert, a Partnership of Former Prosecutors, for a free consultation to discuss your rights. Call 1.888.5.DEFEND.
Fort Lauderdale man arrested in dog-on-cat attack, Nov. 15, 2012, By Wayne K. Roustan, Sun-Sentinel
Leifert & LeifertNA