Saturday, March 28, 2009

Officials Praise Animal Abuse Sentence? Why?

Trinity, the abused American Bulldog who suffered horribly at the hands of her abuser, and eventually lost a leg....

They are happy with this sentence? The guy got little more than a slap on the hand. Abuse like this dog suffered should be a felony, not only based on the suffering of the animal, but as to the callous indifference regarding same by the heartless owner. How much did the owner have to pay towards vet bills? Close your eyes, what do you see?(Nothing)For shame on that judge.
I thought New Mexico was "leading the way" in animal law reform?

Officials praise animal abuse sentence
By Holly Wise/Sun-News Bureau Chief
Posted: 03/28/2009 01:00:00 AM MDT

SILVER CITY — A Grant County man pleaded guilty to a charge of cruelty to animals Monday in an incident that left Trinity, an American bulldog, mangled and abused 18 months ago.

Phillip R. Narvaez was charged with cruelty to animals on Aug. 21, 2008, in Grant County Magistrate Court. He pleaded not guilty during his arraignment but changed the plea on Monday when he appeared, along with his attorney, Mark D'Antonio, before Judge Ron Hall.

According to documents, the court found Narvaez guilty of the charge and he was sentenced to 200 hours of community service and 364 days of unsupervised probation in lieu of 364 days in the Grant County Detention Center.

Narvaez was also instructed by the court to be screened by a mental health organization within 10 days of Monday and to follow any recommendations of counseling. Proof must be shown to the court, according to documents.

A fine of $1,000 was lowered to $300; Narvaez's fine, including court costs, totaled $367.

The case has been ongoing since August 2007, when Trinity was found on Ridge Road by Mary Billings, an advocate of abandoned pets and animals. Trinity's right hind leg was mangled and nearly two inches of bone was exposed; her foot had rotted and turned black.

As a result of her injuries, her leg had to be amputated.

Now two years old, and a year-and-a-half after her rescue, Trinity is home with Ray Davis, a Silver City man who adopted her after reading about her ordeal in the Sun-News last year.

"She must be a very forgiving animal, because she seems to like everyone, even after being tortured and abused," said Davis in an e-mail to the Sun-News.

The case breaks new ground in Grant County and Silver City, where animal cruelty has recently grabbed the attention of local leaders.

"What it really means for Grant County and Silver City is that we have a judge who is not going to be lenient to people who abuse animals," Davis said.

City Councilman Tom Nupp is at the forefront of completely rewriting the town's animal ordinance and addressing issues of animal cruelty.

"It specifically addresses many animal cruelty issues," he said, and will provide animal control officers some "teeth" when dealing with these cases.

A good portion of the ordinance deals with the proper care and control of a pet, such as the dimensions of dog houses and the size of yards. A committee has worked on the ordinance for six months, Nupp said.

"The ordinance I'm working on will come to the council on April 14 for the first reading," he said.

Davis thanked Grant County Crimestoppers for its help in posting fliers and offering a $1,500 award for incriminating evidence against the perpetrator.

"They were really instrumental in keeping this going," he said.

Sandra Suhr, president of the Grant County Crimestoppers, said she was in court on Monday during Narvaez's hearing.

"I would have preferred he got some of that jail sentence imposed and not all suspended," she said. "But overall, I think it was pretty fair."

Crimestoppers was responsible for reviving the case nearly a year after the incident, she said.

"I hope it sets a precedent for a little more prosecution of animal cruelty cases," she said. "I hope to get more people to come forward in these cases."

Monica Garcia, communications manager for Animal Protection of New Mexico, said she had the "privilege" of meeting Trinity.

"She's a beautiful creature," she said. "We think it's a shame the perpetrator didn't get jail time, but we're glad that he was sentenced."

"Animal Protection of New Mexico is delighted to have made an outreach in the Silver City area that will hopefully mean a stronger relationship between the residents of Grant County and APNM," she added.

Holly Wise can be reached at; (575) 538-5893

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