It has been ten days now since Ray Emmanuel Potter of Dimondale was sentenced in the abuse case of Tatiana. Any one following her story will remember she was the dog found last January (2011), with her legs hogtied with electrical tape, her muzzle taped shut, severe head injury from blunt force trauma, and thrown down an embankment and left to die in the freezing cold weather. No, Tatiana did not die that day or did she? Will she ever really be ok? If you went through what she went through would you be ok? Will she be placed in a loving forever home? For Tatiana it has been a year now of waiting for the courts to decide her fate. Her abuser received ninety-three days jail time with only forth-five days served, one year probation, and $10,000 restitution to be paid to Capital Area Humane Society for her care over the past year and her ownership was not decided on January 9, 2012. Her owner refuses to surrender Tatiana. YES, as unbelievable as it sounds, Tatiana could be returned to her owner.
There are no words which can effectively sum up this horrific act of abuse, an outrages tragedy does not come close. A slap on the wrist is what that barbaric, cruel, vicious, monster received. Justice refers not only to a fair trial but also to the just retribution for victims of a crime. I ask does Judge DeLuca have any understanding of animal abuse. Anyone who could do such things to an animal is likely to commit violent crimes against people too, that is a proven fact. The sentence sends a really bad message like its ok if you abuse or neglect a dog. To me the sentence was a slap in the face to Ingham County Animal Control officers who worked so hard on the case and to Capital Area Humane Society staff who worked so hard to save Tatiana and who provided her care for the past year.
I am sure if Tatiana could talk she would have told Judge Frank DeLuca how much pain she was in that day, how scared she was, how cold she was, and that she does not want to go back to her original owner. This is not justice, and if this is accepted in our society, then that’s completely sad. The severity of the horrors she endured and the fact that Ingham County Prosecutor Stuart Dunning’s decided to go for misdemeanor not a felony…. actually the charge was animal abandonment (seriously do they think Tatiana hog tied herself, beat herself in the head then jump down the embankment to stay out in below freezing temperatures all night long in severe pain), and then Judge DeLuca did not give the maximum sentence to this dangerous, violent, ruthless, brutal, savage, creature. I for one am saddened that society sits back and watches it all like it’s nothing, just another dog abuse case in the Lansing area. We all failed Tatiana; she is the one who paid the ultimate price. It astounds me as to how the criminal justice system works and how the elected officials do their job. It is just so sad, makes me angry and hurts my heart.
There are numerous examples to cite of the misfiring of criminal justice, this being one of them. Have the time fit the crime. There is no way the financial restitution will be paid; I will say that Capital Area Humane Society will never see any money. What an injustice for Tatiana, forty five days in jail and one year probation. Why do we not take these crimes seriously? We don’t punish animal abusers adequately because we, as a society, don’t deem animals worthy of the same amount of justice. Forget humane and moral reasons for punishing animal abusers. It would be sufficient enough for us to sentence based on the statistics of future violence alone. But we haven’t and we won’t, not until judges start delegating responsibility for others’ actions appropriately. I have said it before and will say it again. Words are inadequate, actions are powerful. We need to change the laws in Michigan for animal abuse and neglect. Be the voice for the animals who have no voice of their own.