Animal torturers should pay

If the intention of the justice system is to rehabilitate those members of society who are incompatible with common peace and prosperity, who’s better suited for incarceration than some sicko who tortures a puppy to prove a point to his wife?

In case you missed it, Sept. 19’s Deseret Morning News contained a picture that would penetrate the heart of Satan himself.

The picture, provided by the Humane Society of Utah, portrays Henry-a black Chihuahua-mix-with bandaged legs, a missing eye and sparse tufts of hair on his tiny chest.

According to the article (“Torturer of dog pleads guilty”), Henry made the unforgivable mistake of nosing into an argument between his owner and her husband, Marc Vincent.

As a result of the heated exchange, Vincent decided to chase Henry with a leaf blower before putting him in the oven for five minutes.

Pretty logical guy, huh? The Utah justice system seems to think so. It regarded Vincent as no worse than a minor drug offender when the case went to court because cases of animal violence are not classified as felonies under current state law and rarely, if ever, result in prison time.

Henry’s “claws were fused together from the heat, and he will never be able to walk normally,” the article said. Yet, somehow, Vincent’s maximum penalty is a simple misdemeanor. Because of the current lax Utah guidelines, he will likely receive no more than a fine and a short stay in jail-at most.

If this injustice makes you furious and you’re feeling the urge to avenge Henry’s misfortune, there is something you can do.

On the docket for the 2006 general session, and not for the first time, is a bill addressing this very issue, calling for higher criminal penalties for animal cruelty. It’s a no-brainer that we should support House Bill 61 (although it is unclear why there is an exemption provided for training hunting dogs and zoo animals). That means actively engaging your legislators, because the same motion has somehow failed in the past.

It may not seem like a huge deal in everyday life, but a man who is willing to put a harmless, innocent dog through living hell over a petty disturbance constitutes a pretty clear danger toward society.