Currently under state law pets are regarded as property. Thus, the penalty for loss, injury, or death of a pet that is caused by another individual is compensation for the market value of the pet (usually a few hundred dollars). In our society, pets, especially dogs and cats, are often regarded as members of the family; pet owners usually have very close bonds to their animal. A few hundred dollars does not seem like an appropriate enough disincentive to deter individuals from willfully causing harm or loss to a beloved pet, and it certainly does not seem like a just punishment for the crime. Conviction should always have the potential for time in prison.
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