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You Be the Judge

Story ID:11309
Written by:Suzana Margaret Megles (bio, contact, other stories)
Story type:Musings, Essays and Such
Location:- New York usa
Year:2017
Person:Stefanie Heath Higgins
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Mistreating either humans or animals is always a despicable act - but
doubly so when the victim is young, small, and helpless.

On FORCECHANGE.COM this title caught my eye: “Punish Man Accused of
Dragging and Beating Puppy.” People of sensitivity would naturally cringe
after reading this title.

A man in Syracuse, NY who had been accused of abusing a puppy seemed
likely to get off with nothing more than probation. This was unacceptable
to animal advocates. This was unacceptable to any person of compassion.

Steven Bryant was charged with two counts of animal cruelty by Syracuse
police after being tipped off from a witness. He or she called authorities
after seeing Bryant drag a puppy down the street with a leash. As the puppy
couldn’t keep up with the man’s large strides, this cruel insensitive man
dragged him down the pavement on his stomach. He also hit the poor
puppy with a board.

And indeed afterwards- the police found the puppy suffering from “road
rash.” Police also found a grainy surveillance footage where the puppy was
seen struggling to keep up with the man’s pace. He also fell numerous times.

Bryant pleaded guilty to animal abuse in exchange for three years probation.
Animal rights advocates said this was not enough punishment and was merely
a slap on the wrist. I agree.

Animal advocate Stefanie Heath Higgins told broadcaster LocalSYR “It
was a horrendous, horrendous piece of abuse,”

This is part of the petition letter to Judge Derek Thomas that she and others
asked people to sign:

“All too often, animal abuse cases simply aren’t prosecuted to the fullest
extent of the law. Indeed, in New York - animal abuse misdemeanors can carry
a maximum penalty of one year imprisonment and/or a fine of $1,000, Even
the Onondaga County District Attorney’s Office says Bryant should face jail
time, and is pushing for a penalty of 10 months behind bars.“

They concluded: “Indeed, the footage of Bryant dragging the poor puppy is
shocking enough, but what’s more shocking is the prospect of him getting off
with nothing more than probation. Therefore, if found guilty, we urge you to
prosecute Bryant to the fullest extent of the law, and put him behind bars. This
will send a strong message that animal abuse isn’t welcome in Syracuse.”

People of compassion have spoken and their argument of harsher punishment
is justified. I hope that Judge Derek Thomas will agree with their petition. Hurting
the very young and vulnerable – whether human or animal is a terrible crime. If
he could treat an innocent puppy so cruelly, can anyone else be safe with him?

Years ago I read about other cases involving animal cruelty, and I was often
shocked by the court’s lack of proper judgment and punishment to perpetrators of
animal suffering. Few judges sought justice for the poor animal victims. However,
today- I believe we have turned a corner in this regard and animals are finally
receiving more than a small measure of justice.

I hope this puppy will never have to face this man of cruelty again, and will find
himself now in a loving home where the remembrance of his pain and suffering
will disappear forever.