On July 7th, 2008, an Ogden man was sentenced to five years in state prison for abandoning 14 puppies - all but one of which died - in a trash bin behind a Riverdale store in December during sub-freezing weather, as well as possession of methedrine. Full story published in the Salt Lake Tribune, the Deseret News, the Ogden Standard-Examiner, and KSL Channel 5.
The sentencing scheme is a bit complicated, so read carefully. The Salt Lake City Weekly's Salt Blog already screwed it up and mistakenly reported 13 years in their post. Second District Judge Roger Dutson sentenced Michael Ray Howard to one year in prison for each puppy that died, and six months for the suffering of the puppy that survived. Total 13 1/2 years for misdemeanor animal cruelty. Then Judge Dutson made all the sentences concurrent, reducing the total time to one year.
Then Judge Dutson also sentenced Howard to five years in prison for felony possession of methedrine. The judge then made the puppy sentence concurrent to the drug sentence. Total maximum time to be served: Five years.
Defense attorney Daniel Drage argued in favor of jail time and probation, rather than prison, claiming Howard had never been given an opportunity to obtain treatment for his drug-addiction problems. [Ed. Note: That's an excuse, asshole. Howard could have CHOSEN to enter rehab ON HIS OWN any time he wanted; he's just a weak sister with NO BALLS.]
According to court documents, Howard, 36, told a Riverdale police officer he was unable to care for the terrier-mix puppies, who belonged to someone whom he refused to identify. Howard told police he intended to kill the puppies by putting them in a heavy duty plastic bag and leaving them to suffocate overnight in his backyard on December 8th. The next morning, believing all the puppies were dead, Howard placed the bag in the trash bin, where a store employee discovered them. Howard was linked to the abandoned dogs by anonymous callers.
Howard pleaded guilty in June to 13 counts of class A misdemeanor animal cruelty in connection with the puppies that died, and one count of class B misdemeanor attempted animal cruelty in connection with the puppy that lived. In the separate drug possession case, he pleaded guilty to one third-degree felony.
Commentary: The sentence might appear stiff for someone who save the taxpayers money by pleading guilty and not forcing a trial. But a previous KSL story provides a hint as to why he got five years. On March 10th, Howard no-showed a hearing, prompting the issuance of a bench warrant. Undoubtedly, this was factored into the sentencing.
So for all you libertarians and hippie trash out there who want to legalize personal drug usage because you consider it such a "victimless" crime, better think again. There were at least 13 victims of this meth-head. You libertarians want to know why the war on drugs costs so much? It's not because the war on drugs is wrong. It's because the agencies involved only do just enough to perpetuate a continuing need for their existence. For the law enforcement agencies, the war on drugs is good business, giving them an endless supply of fancy toys. When we start holding law enforcement financially accountable, and get rid of asset forfeiture, which is nothing more than government theft, then we will begin to see REAL progress in the war on drugs.