Judge Allows Mentally Ill Veterinarian Convicted of Cruelty to Animals to Have a "Small Dog"

 |  Oct 1st 2006  |   13 Contributions

What in the world is this judge thinking? The vet has already been convicted of cruelty to animals and the judge says, "hey, get a dog." What am I missing here? She abused big animals so let's give her a small one that's even MORE defenseless? Isn't that kind of like telling a child abuser who has hurt little boys that he can adopt a little girl because, hey, it's not the same thing?

This comes to us from the South Florida Sun-Sentinel.

Judge says vet who stole horse can get dog as companion

By Missy Diaz

A mentally ill veterinarian who stole three horses and spray-painted one of them to shield its identity can own a dog, but not a horse, a judge ruled Tuesday.

Since pleading guilty in 2004 to 13 counts, including grand theft and felony cruelty to animals, Cathy Crighton, 48, has returned to live in Illinois to serve her sentence -- two years on house arrest followed by eight years of probation. Additionally, Circuit Judge Jorge Labarga ordered Crighton to pay more than $100,000 in restitution to her victims and not to own any animals for two years. June marked two years and defense attorney Kelly Landers explained to the judge that his client needs companionship.

"She would rather spend time with animals than most people," the lawyer said.

Prosecutor Tim Beckwith objected to Landers' request, saying that Crighton, who says she's disabled, has paid just $400 in restitution, an amount he said equates to less than $15 a month, or about 50 cents per day.

He questioned how Crighton could afford to feed a pet when she apparently can't afford to pay her court-ordered restitution.

After pondering the request briefly, Labarga made his ruling: "I'll let her have a dog -- a small dog," he said. "She needs companionship. I understand that."

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