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.