Eastern Iowa Man Gets Slap on Wrist After Brutal Beating of Family Dog
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.