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Why Is Death By Starvation A Misdemeanor?

I just read the story about a young German Shepherd, Ella, who was left by her owner to purposely starve to death. I was appalled...

Horst Hoefinger  |  Jun 5th 2009


I just read the story about a young German Shepherd, Ella, who was left by her owner to purposely starve to death. I was appalled to learn starving your dog to death in Florida is a misdemeanor?

I don’t understand how you can purposely leave your dog to die and it not be a felony. If Ella was a child Abrams would have been charged with murder? It just goes to show how little value is placed on the life of a dog.

Christine Abrams was arrested March 12, 2008, after prosecutors said she moved out of her Cocoa home and left Ella in a cage in the living room for several months, with an unopened bag of dog food and a bottle of water only feet away.

According to police, Abrams — discovered less than a mile away at a friend’s home — said she moved out because her water had been cut off and that she didn’t take Ella with her because her new roommate didn’t like dogs.

Prosecutors argued that police searched the home fearing Abrams might be in need of immediate medical attention after peering through a window and catching sight of Ella’s carcass.

Abrams pleaded no contest to two counts of misdemeanor animal cruelty and was sentenced to 12 months of probation, eight of which she was ordered to spend in jail. McKibben also sentenced Abrams to 80 hours of community service and a $5,000 fine, plus other court costs. Abrams was banned from owning animals during her probation period.

She had faced up to a year in jail and a $5,000 fine if convicted at trial.

Abrams entered the jail on Dec. 19 — meaning her release date would have been on or about Aug. 19 — because she did not pay 10 percent of a $5,000 bond that would have allowed her to remain free pending her appeal.

Let’s recap, this woman got out of jail early, didn’t pay her fine because she’s appealing her case, and isn’t allowed to own an animal “during her probation period.” How about never being able to own an animal for the rest of her life? How about at least making her serve her full sentence? Which was a joke to begin with.

Abrams is fighting her conviction on the basis that the police searched her home illegally because there was no warrant. During that search police found the decomposing body of her young dog Ella who was locked in a cage. It is speculated by Blaise Trettis, who is the Brevard executive assistant public defender, that Abrams wants to avoid the remaining six months of probation and fines imposed by the court. Trettis is not involved in this case.

I am sickened at the thought of this poor dog left to starve, locked in a cage, helpless. As far as I’m concerned, Abrams should spend a number of years locked in her very own cage. Preferably with food and water placed just a little out of reach.

Pictured above is Christine Abrams with her beautiful dog Ella. All I can say, if you see this woman, keep your dog out of her reach.

* Pic courtesy FLORIDA TODAY