Jail Time for Animal Abusers

Posted by Scott Heiser, Director of ALDF's Criminal Justice Program on February 3, 2010

Two horrific cases involving the abuse and neglect of several dogs have recently come to a close, both ending with jail time for the abusers. Thank you to everyone who sent emails and supported these cases!

Brunette Convicted in Dog Abuse Case
In July 2008, Robert Brunette of Santa Cruz County, Calif. was arrested after approximately 40 starving dogs and puppies were seized from filthy and dangerous conditions on his property. Reportedly found by authorities were the various remains of an unknown number of dogs, including a severed head which hung from a tree branch.

On January 22, 2010, Brunette was sentenced to a year in county jail and five years probation during which time he is to have no dogs. He is required to participate in mental health treatment and must pay over $100,000 in restitution to Santa Cruz County Animal Services. On Friday, December 11, 2009, a jury found Brunette guilty on all 10 counts of animal cruelty – two felonies and eight misdemeanors.

Animal and Child Neglect Go Hand in Hand
Allegedly training dogs for fighting at his home, Lennis Stephens of Daytona Beach, Florida faced felony charges of child neglect as well as animal cruelty. The reported deplorable conditions of his property made it dangerous and uninhabitable. Stephens’ five-year-old daughter moved in with relatives and child protective services conducted an investigation. In August 2009, eight chained and reportedly starving dogs were found outside the house, while a ninth was discovered inside.

On January 15, 2010, Stephens was found guilty by plea on six misdemeanor counts of animal cruelty. He was sentenced to 48 days in jail with credit for time served, and one year of probation with orders requiring community service and prohibiting him from owning, possessing or having contact with animals.

Take Action!
Help keep animal abusers away from potential new victims by contacting your state legislators today and ask them to support a "First Strike and You’re Out" law for those who are convicted of animal neglect or cruelty.

ALDF’s First Strike and You’re Out law provides another tool to help combat animal neglect and cruelty by mandating that those who are convicted of a violation of their state animal protection laws are prohibited from owning or having contact with animals for a set period of time, ranging from five years for a first misdemeanor offense up to the lifetime of the offender following a second felony offense.