Remember "the punishment fits the crime?" At least as far as I'm concerned, it doesn't in this case. And that speaks to how broken Iowa's animal cruelty laws are.

42-year-old Jason O'Neil Johnson of Independence was convicted in August of beating the family dog, Daisy, in May. Daisy is a 2-year-old pitbull/boxer/mastiff mix who had reportedly chewed up a pair of his sunglasses. Not only did Johnson hold down and beat the family dog with a belt and closed fist, but he also made his son videotape part of it. Johnson wanted to be able to "send to his other children as a warning of what happens when they failed to securely kennel Daisy."

In the video posted by the Buchanan County Attorney's Office, I counted at least 15 punches to the dog, while Johnson screams in a rage nearly the entire time. All the while, the terrified dog is wailing. WARNING: The video is very graphic and visually and audibly shows animal abuse. If you want to watch it, you can do so here. I don't advise it.

Johnson was sentenced on Tuesday. He faced up to two years in prison and a fine between $625 and $6,250. According to a release from the Buchanan County Attorney's Office, here's Johnson's sentence from a District Court Judge:

  • Suspended minimum fine of $625
  • 30-day jail sentence. Only 7 days imposed and the remainder suspended while Johnson complies with one year of probation supervision, a psychological evaluation and treatment, and 16 hours of community service.

Animal Torture, First Offense, is an Aggravated Misdemeanor in Iowa. Lawmakers in Des Moines: Not only CAN we do better. WE MUST.

Here are the current Animal Protection Laws of Iowa, provided by the Animal Legal Defense Fund.