Thursday, March 6, 2008

Where's the justice?

Let me start by saying that I'm a dog lover and the proud "father" of three great "boys." (That's a "baby" picture of our youngest, above) Pretty much every day, I read things in the newspaper that turn my stomach, but there isn't much that sickens me more than stories about people mistreating defenseless animals who rely on them for food and kindness. The latest such story, about James and Lore Massey of Centerville, was especially disturbing. The facts of the case were revolting enough, but the relative slap on the wrist these criminals received multiplied my outrage. The Masseys, who admitted to denying food to 60 dogs and allowing 25 others to die at the illegal kennel at their Old National Pike home, pleaded guilty Wednesday and were ordered to pay $2,651 in fines and court costs. What about their jail sentences, you might ask? Yeah, I had the same question. The answer: They aren't doing any jail time. Not a single day. The Masseys were allowed to walk out of the courtroom and go home and eat dinner - something the dogs in their care apparently didn't get to do very often. The heroes of this story are Dan and Kathy Hull of Carmichaels, who alerted authorites after they went to the Masseys' home last November to buy a dog and were confronted with the sights and smells of starving and dead dogs. "There was a blind dog chained up and starving," Dan Hull said after the Masseys' court appearance. During the subsequent search, state and county dog officers seized many Jack Russell terriers that had been offered for sale by Lore Massey's company, Calico Creek Critters. Dachau for Dogs is more like it. Here are the next few lines from reporter Scott Beveridge's coverage of the Massey hearing: "Also discovered were dead or starving dogs in the couple's vehicles and basement, as well as in a makeshift kennel in a tent. Some animals were in cages filled with feces or the remains of dead dogs." And the appropriate punishment for that sort of inhumanity is $2,651? Here's another bit of insanity. The Masseys were allowed to keep three of their dogs. Why?!? These people haven't shown the fitness to own a goldfish. Let's stop for a minute and just think about the suffering of the dogs at the Masseys' "kennel" as they waited day after day for the people they were relying on to bring them food and water, or maybe even show them some love. Dogs have an unconditional trust and affection for their "people." We can only wonder what they feel when that trust is so cruelly crushed. It hurts to think about it. But the Masseys can just write a check and, as their attorney said, "put this unfortunate situation behind them." Unfortunate situation? These people starved other living beings. There's a scene in the great Al Pacino movie "And Justice for All" in which Pacino's character, an attorney, goes nuts in the courtroom and screams, "Let's make a deal! Let's make a deal!" Well, the Masseys got their deal, one they certainly didn't deserve. If it were my decision, I would slather them in A-1 sauce and put them in a cage with hungry wolves, but at the minimum, a little jail time would have been appropriate. Then they could experience how it feels to be stuck in a cage, dependent on someone else to feed them.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

Unfortunately, the prevailing logic in such cases is "Well .. thy were ONLY dogs." But how people treat animals is a reflection of their inner workings. Making them work for a year at a human society kennel would have been a decent starting punishment.

March 6, 2008 at 12:32 PM  
Blogger PRIguy said...

Kudos to the Hulls for turning these sickos in to authorities. I'm a huge believer in "an eye for an eye." As such, the Masseys would best be punished by chaining them up and denying them any sort of contact, and more important, food and water.

Brant, your "baby" is adorable. He has his father's eyes!

March 6, 2008 at 1:25 PM  
Anonymous Long-suffering wife said...

hey priguy, that "baby" now weighs close to 90 pounds. Don't let his cute face fool you... he is a beast! he does has his "father's" eyes .... and his father's gas!

March 6, 2008 at 2:18 PM  
Blogger Tracy J. said...

I agree with you Brant. I would even personally buy the A-1 sauce. I have two boys of my own a chocalte lab who is 11 and a yellow lab that is 8. I can't imagine how anyone can anyone mistreat such innocent creatures. My heart always goes out to children and animals that are in similar situations. Hope these people will get what they deserve somehow.

March 6, 2008 at 2:32 PM  
Blogger Greg said...

I had read somewhere that you were the anti-Christ. You do have a heart. Haha! Here's hoping the Masseys never have a chance to own another pet.

March 6, 2008 at 8:30 PM  
Blogger Scott Beveridge said...

Brant, I should have mentioned in the story that the humane society has complained that Pennsylvania's dog law is weak, and leaves its officers with limited power to file criminal charges.
As a result, the Masseys were looking at citations that looked similar to traffic tickets.
The law is the law.

March 6, 2008 at 11:05 PM  
Blogger Brant said...

Actually, the law did allow the Masseys to be sent to jail. According to the Western Pennsylvania Humane Society Web site, even the lowest-level summary offenses of animal cruelty, which includes depriving animals of shelter or food, carry a potential penalty of up to 90 days in jail. If the Masseys were sentenced to consecutive 90-day sentences for each count against them, instead of getting a virtual slap on the wrists, they could have spent quite a while behind bars. I do agree that the law is too weak, but it DID allow for these people to be sent to the big house.

March 6, 2008 at 11:55 PM  
Blogger PRIguy said...

Long-suffering wife, you have my utmost sympathy.

March 8, 2008 at 5:52 AM  
Anonymous Maribeth said...

I wish I'd seen this news earlier so that I could have contributed my personal experience to this article... Honestly, it sounds like she just had too many dogs on her hands. I actually adopted a dog through Lore in April 2007. As for the deceased pups, it sounds like she got a litter of very, very sick puppies and couldn't do enough in time to save them. And it also sounds like her health got in the way of her properly caring for the dogs overall. She didn't get much help from her housemates as far as I could tell. Just from my own dog's experience with her, he had a broken leg when she rescued him, and she took him to the vet, got him all of his shots and got the leg splinted and taken care of, and today he has use of that leg. She kept excellent records of the vet visits, and although she seemed overwhelmed by the amount of dogs (there were two kennels, one of which was against the house and allowed the dogs access into the basement). She seemed to be struggling with health issues back then, and I remember that my dog severely needed a bath. She had been in the hospital for a few days prior to when I got there, and said, "I usually would have bathed and trimmed him, but I can barely bend over" and apologized profusely. NOT a bad, abusive lady. DID take her animals to the veterinarian. Obviously needed more space and help with her rescue operation. I feel terribly that this has happened.

May 3, 2008 at 9:04 PM  

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