The University of Utah's Independent Student Voice

The Daily Utah Chronicle

The University of Utah's Independent Student Voice

The Daily Utah Chronicle

The University of Utah's Independent Student Voice

The Daily Utah Chronicle

Write for Us
Want your voice to be heard? Submit a letter to the editor, send us an op-ed pitch or check out our open positions for the chance to be published by the Daily Utah Chronicle.
@TheChrony
Print Issues
Write for Us
Want your voice to be heard? Submit a letter to the editor, send us an op-ed pitch or check out our open positions for the chance to be published by the Daily Utah Chronicle.
@TheChrony
Print Issues

Animal cruelty should be a felony

By Nicholas Pappas

Mark Vincent is a free man. On March 7, he was released a month and a half before the end of his sentence. His time served amounted to four-and-a-half months.

If you don’t know who Mark Vincent is, allow me to paint a picture. Imagine a baby’s eye being gouged out. Now imagine putting that baby in an oven and hearing him or her scream and burn. It’s a painful image. It happened to Henry. Mark Vincent blinded him with a snow blower and stuffed him in an oven. Henry will always walk with a limp-his paws were melted together.

Henry is a Chihuahua. Some would say it’s ludicrous to think of him as a child, but I do not. Animals should be protected. They, like humans, can be friends, even best friends. They have personalities. They care.

During coffeehouse discussions, people like to bring up the hypothetical lifeboat. Would you save him or her, this or the other? It seems obvious if the question is a man or a dog, but if Mark Vincent is the man, I’d repeatedly hit him on the head with an oar.

Realistically, you always choose the man because of worth and intelligence. A dog will never write a book, invent a light bulb or cure cancer. The flaw is that a dog doesn’t have the capacity to invent an H-bomb, or-on a smaller scale-put someone in an oven.

Philosophy aside, anyone who has the capacity to commit a crime of torture against an animal is also more likely to do the same against a person. It’s been statistically proven. Take Mark Vincent-he has a history of abusing his wife, too. You’re either a violent person or you aren’t.

Our Legislature, for the nth year in a row, ignored logic and voted against a bill making animal cruelty a felony. Legislators instead held the hands of nearsighted ranchers. The ranchers are worried a “tree-hugger” will scamper up to their porch and throw handcuffs on them for branding cattle, killing a coyote or accidentally catching a cat in a skunk trap. They shiver under rawhide blankets and tell their children about a boogeyman called The Humane Society.

To put it in their terms, it don’t make a lick of sense. It leads back to the lifeboat and the question of intelligence. Let’s look closely at the legal process. An elected county attorney has to file a charge-The Humane Society or a neighbor cannot. There’s no way a case of a farmer branding cattle would make it through the process in a county made up of farmers.

Even if it did go to trial, a felony must be tried before a jury. It must be decided beyond a reasonable doubt that the accused has tortured an animal. I imagine an old county courthouse and a jury of peers reading “not guilty” while spitting simultaneously into a spittoon.

On the other hand, anyone could open the gates of the farm, murder his or her prized cow, remove the horse hood from the stud or start a chicken fight. The maximum sentence? A year in jail and payment of $2,500 in monthly installments. Ranchers should be more worried about protecting their animals from real harm, not themselves from impossible convictions. They aren’t. Their thought processes are as long as their branding irons.

Forty-one states already consider animal cruelty a felony. I have no doubt that in future sessions this bill will come up again and again. And again.

It should pass once and for all. Unlike Henry, we have two eyes. It’s time we opened them.

Leave a Comment

Comments (0)

The Daily Utah Chronicle welcomes comments from our community. However, the Daily Utah Chronicle reserves the right to accept or deny user comments. A comment may be denied or removed if any of its content meets one or more of the following criteria: obscenity, profanity, racism, sexism, or hateful content; threats or encouragement of violent or illegal behavior; excessively long, off-topic or repetitive content; the use of threatening language or personal attacks against Chronicle members; posts violating copyright or trademark law; and advertisement or promotion of products, services, entities or individuals. Users who habitually post comments that must be removed may be blocked from commenting. In the case of duplicate or near-identical comments by the same user, only the first submission will be accepted. This includes comments posted across multiple articles. You can read more about our comment policy at https://dailyutahchronicle.com/comment-faqs/.
All The Daily Utah Chronicle Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *