Dog Mauled Child in Phoenix
Here is a little background on the story: Recently, a four old child was viciously attacked by a pit bull in Phoenix Arizona. In cases such as this one, the animal is normally ordered euthanized. In this matter, the judge determined that the dog’s life would be spared. He further ordered the animal, neutered, defanged, microchipped, never eligible for adoption and held in a secure facility for the rest of his life.
I am including the link bellow for our readers who want a more in depth review of the facts.
The story has garnished a lot of interest across the internet, animal lovers defending the dog and on the other side, those demanding the dog “be put down.”
When I first read the story, I did not know exactly how I felt about the judge´s decision. I am confronted with life and death stories everyday in my profession. I represent men and women that face serious penalties for their alleged trespasses. Therefore, though to some this case may seem trivial, I found it interesting and thought provoking for the parallel to the way we treat humans who commit violent crimes.
I was not surprised to read that the case attracted the attention of a top team of death penalty lawyers.
There are important elements to the story. In my opinion, it is not the dog’s behavior or punishment, that present a philosophical question, it is the judge´s evaluation of the circumstances around the attack that I found of interesting.
On the periphery, there is the babysitter´s responsibility for permitting the child to play near an animal she knew was aggressive and the owner´s role in fostering the dog´s aggression and keeping the gate to the yard open, even though he posted a sign that read Beware of the Dog.
Of course, the most important component to the story is the young boy. He is the one who was mauled and will probably have many fears to contend with for the rest of his life. Our hearts go to him, because he has lost those precious essential components of childhood: innocence and trust.
But to me the point is that everyday men are women are accused of crimes of passion and anger. Even though many say that a person has the ability to think and a dog does not, a person actually suffers more when punished, whether that is to a lengthy prison sentence or to the ultimate penalty: death.
Certainly this story is important, but we must never lose sight of the thousands of men and women prosecuted for crimes of passion. We should spend as much time analyzing their situations and tailoring sentences individualized to the person and the crime, as this judge did in sentencing this dog.
Just punishment is warranted, cruel and unusual punishment is prohibited by our Constitution.
I am Attorney Martin E. Regan, jr. and these are my personal thoughts.