In 2012, there were 4,168 cases of animal abuse that were prosecuted by the RSPCA. This number had increased by more than 25% from 2011 and these numbers only reflect the cases that were not only reported but also prosecuted in a court of law. But what happens to the cases that are reported but not prosecuted?
Not every animal can be saved by charities and the circuitous legal system whose provisions treat animals as property. So, when one woman witnessed what appeared to be a case of abuse, she took immediate action. Nancy Glassman, a 50-year old retiree, was visiting a bagel shop when she noticed an unusual visitor. The cat seemed to have an ear infection and other physical markings that caused concern; when she asked about its health, she was told to take the cat by an employee.
Mere hours after dropping the cat off at an animal clinic, Glassman received a visit from two detectives from the New York Police Department. After Glassman identified the cat, she was arrested and put in handcuffs. In a state of disbelief, she was informed that she was under arrest for stealing the cat from its owners whom were running the bagel store.
Laws Are NOT Made to Broken
Glassman was charged with theft for stealing the cat from the property of its owners. The owner, who owns the bagel shop, was using the cat to hunt mice that were plaguing the store.
Infestation was one of several violations the shop had been recently reprimanded for by the Health Department. Ironically, the cat itself is also a sanitary violation that has not been enforced.
The owner of both the shop and the cat, Yuval Aroety, pressed charges against Glassman, who spent a night in jail immediately following the ordeal. After being released, she was offered a plea bargain of six months of probation and no jail time; however, Glassman turned down the offer with the earnest belief that she has done nothing wrong.
The case is being brought to trial with a maximum punishment of seven years in prison if Glassman is convicted. Despite the risks, Glassman feels that the cause is worth fighting for and the charges against her encourage a culture that freely inhumane action for the sake of rule of law. Currently, itís the case that even when witnessing a clear case of abuse the most one can do is report it to the police.
Arrest Appeasement for Abuse- Not Animal Activists
Though Glassman did not initially report the case of suspected abuse to the police, this is effectively the only legal channel by which a citizen might hope to remove an animal from an abusive situation. Once the report is filed, the average citizen canít do much more to ensure that the matter is investigated, the animal is taken care of, and the abuser is prosecuted.
Glassman is taking a tremendous risk by fighting the case in court. According to the letter of the law, she is guilty of theft, but her lawyer argues that the case is absurd and that the charges should have been dropped even before she her initial stay in prison. However, because she was offered a plea bargain which involved no jail time- itís reasonable to believe that the judge might look unfavorably upon her decision to take the case to trial.
The cat, which has been reportedly diagnosed with a congenital deformity, has since been returned to its owner. Due to the catís condition, it will likely pass away before the case is decided. Regardless of what the judge and jury decide, Glassmanís actions were done in good spirit. So, do you think Glassman should be punished or is the law pursuing the wrong person? Leave a comment and let us know what you think.