Meet the judge who imposes “creative” sentences against animal abusers
Justice Michael Cicconetti is no ordinary judge. When sentencing, he usually brings a touch of creativity that he hopes will give offenders a good lesson.
We particularly appreciate the judge’s treatment of people who mistreat or neglect animals. Whether it’s spending the day in a dump or spending a night alone in the wild, Judge Mike’s punishments make people think twice before breaking the law.
In a telephone interview, the judge of the Municipal Court in Painesville, Ohio, told iHeartDogs that his first dog had made him the animal lover he is today. His family’s dachshund, Herman, was a loving childhood companion, which he said was the best pet a child could ever ask for.
Fast forward to today, and the judge is a proud dad-dog for a 10-year-old Bernese Bouvier named Kasey. He explained that the puppy was given to him by a friend who was dying of cancer, a gift to the Cicconetti family to remember him.
With his compassion for animals, Judge Mike tries to give abusers a taste of their own medicine, but he must remain within the parameters of the law. That is, he cannot inflict “cruel and unusual” punishments or endanger anyone, and he takes into account the mental stability of each offender. But, he says, that doesn’t mean he can’t handle a little discomfort and discomfort.
For example, a careless woman who made her dog live in the dirt was ordered to spend a day in the dump. Justice Mike stated at the hearing:
I want you to go to the county dump, to the dump, and I want them to find the stinkiest, most fragrant, most horrible smell they can find in that dump, and I want you to sit there for eight hours tomorrow. , to think about what you did to this dog while you smelled it. If you vomit, you vomit.
Another, who abandoned 35 kittens in the woods, had to spend herself a night alone in the snowy wilderness (with a prison sentence and a fine). He told her:
Would you like to be dropped off in a subway park late at night, spend the night listening to the coyotes… to listen to the raccoons around you in the night, and sit there in the cold without knowing where you’re going to have your next meal, not knowing when you’re going to be rescued?
The Goddard Act, which came into effect in Ohio last September, makes the crime of pet abuse a crime, which Justice Mike strongly supports. While this is a big step in the right direction, he hopes that animal abuse laws will continue to improve.
On the one hand, offenders need to have access to more information. He told iHeartDogs that careless children and drunk drivers should take mandatory classes as part of their sentence – why not those who harm animals? He stressed that while some animal abuse is malicious, others are pure ignorance, especially in cases of neglect. Yes, leaving a dog tied out in the heat of summer is incredibly stupid, but was it done with bad intentions, or out of sheer negligence?
That said, Justice Mike hopes that mental assessments will become mandatory for all those responsible for animal-related crimes. He thinks there might even be a registry for animal abusers, as is the case for sex offenders. Thus, neighbors who have pets could be even more careful if an abuser lives nearby, and shelters could check potential adopters.
Although the judge never made a conscious decision to start distributing his now-famous sentences, he said he began concocting them after seeing repeat offenders early in his career. Since they were not learning from fines or prison sentences, he decided to take a different approach. However, the judge does not premeditate his sentences; he says that after hearing all the details of the case, he pronounces them spontaneously.
In addition to making criminals think about their actions, Justice Mike said his headline sentences raise awareness of crimes and consequences. He hopes that people will realize that abuse and neglect are crimes and that those who witness it should call the police.
And then, of course, there is the question of being paraded in the courtroom; Perhaps criminals will think twice if they know they will have to deal with Judge Mike with his sentences of unpredictable intelligence.