In Sterling Heights, Michigan, a judge has thrown the book at a young
man for animal cruelty. The story is beginning to gain national
attention because of both the crime, and the punishment.
Jason Kraft, 22, pleaded guilty in March to the charges that were
brought against him in court. He admitted to starving his two-year-old
German shepherd to death. He refused to feed the dog even though there
was food near by.
He also refused to give his dog water or medication that was suggested
for the dog. The pet slowly died while caged in Kraft's apartment.
Kraft then illegally buried the animal against city and state
The Macomb County Circuit Court judge has ordered Kraft to serve
ninety days in jail, and perform 500 hours of community service upon
his release. Kraft is also required to pay nearly five thousand
dollars in court fees and fines.
Kraft will be on probation until May of 2010. During that time, he
will not be able to live in a home with an animal, or attempt to take
care of an animal. Doing so will add more penalties, including jail
Many news sources outside of the Metro Detroit area are beginning to
pick up this story because of both the cruelty of this case, and
because of the sentence that Mr. Kraft was levied. Many are debating
the sentence to see if it was just, or unjust.
Some human rights groups are pushing to have the sentence overturned
because they believe that it is excessively harsh for the crime. They
point to the fact that many violent crimes go without prosecution, and
that there should be more of a focus on these crimes.
An animal rights supporter that I know has stated that she believes
that, "any crime against animals should be prosecuted to the full
extent of the law. Anyone who brutalizes an animal is not that far
away from brutalizing a person."