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Maximum Sentence Allowable By Law

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Burke County, GA  There were 5 dogs kept in a barn across the street. They were all dead and apparently had starved to death. Although Mr. Crooms states they aren't his dogs, each of the dogs' collars has his name and telephone number on them. Then police were alerted to some more dogs beside his trailer. There were 5 dogs in a pen with no food or water. One of the dogs was already dead. All of his charges are misdemeanors and he was released from jail on a $3,750 bond. Crooms case is expected to be heard in February.

Burke County, GA has no animal control, no shelter, and police rely on locals to take in unwanted and neglected animals. Burke County is the largest county in GA and is the size of Rhode Island. The county is full of unwanted, neglected, and starving dogs. They attack livestock, people's pets, and even children. Yet, Burke County Commissioners see no need to put money in a budget to help alleviate the immense suffering of dogs and cats in their county. This petition is to get the word out and shine a light on this county and tell them how important it is to not only have animal control but to prosecute animal cruelty in their county.

GEORGIA LAW Regarding Animal Cruelty

Pursuant to O.C.G.A. § 16-12-4, a person who causes death or intense physical pain or suffering to any animal by an act, an omission, or intentional withholding of food and water is guilty of the offense of cruelty to animals.  The offense is considered a misdemeanor, and subsequent convictions incur enhanced penalties. O.C.G.A. § 16-12-4 (b) specifically states that:
 (b) A person commits the offense of cruelty to animals when he or she causes death or unjustifiable physical pain or suffering to any animal by an act, an omission, or willful neglect. Any person convicted of a violation of this subsection shall be guilty of a misdemeanor; provided, however, that:
 (1) Any person who is convicted of a second or subsequent violation of this subsection shall be punished by imprisonment not to exceed 12 months, a fine not to exceed $5,000.00, or both; and
 (2) Any person who is convicted of a second or subsequent violation of this subsection which results in the death of an animal shall be guilty of a misdemeanor of a high and aggravated nature and shall be punished by imprisonment for not less than three months nor more than 12 months, a fine not to exceed $10,000.00, or both, which punishment shall not be suspended, probated, or withheld.
 Pursuant to O.C.G.A. § 16-12-4 (c), a person is liable for the offense of aggravated cruelty to animals if s/he knowingly and maliciously causes death or physical harm to an animal by making part of such animal’s body useless or by seriously disfiguring the animal.  The punishment for the offense will be imprisonment for not less than one nor more than five years, and a fine not to exceed $ 15,000.00, or both.  Before sentencing a defendant for any conviction relating to animal cruelty, the sentencing judge may require psychological evaluation of the offender. 

This petition respectfully requests that if found guilty, Stephen Matthew Crooms be charged with the maximum sentence allowable under law, and that he not be allowed to own animals in the future.

Iniitial story of Mr. Crooms crimes can be seen on this Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/truecitizennews/photos/a.126941427511449.1073741825.126455720893353/337822973089959/?type=1&theater

This petition will be updated as more information becomes available including the court date, the judge and any other pertinent information. However, the intent will remain the same.



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