Washington D.C. Kitten Declawer Finally Sentenced
But does the punishment fit the crime?Published February 26, 2013
Washington Humane Society
Last May, in one of the most gruesome acts of cruelty to animals, 39 year-old South Washington, DC resident Eric Felipe Gaskins took it upon himself to rip out the claws of his daughter's two eight-week old kittens at his home in order to preserve his furniture. Gaskins was arrested in September 2013 and charged with two counts of felony animal cruelty. If he was found guilty he faced a sentence of up to five years in prison and a $25,000 fine.
Gaskins pled guilty to two felony animal cruelty charges in the District of Columbia Superior Court last November. His sentencing was scheduled for February 1, 2013. However, the sentencing was delayed since Gaskins and his attorney requested more time to review the prosecutor’s report that contained the kittens’ veterinary medical records and sentencing recommendations.
Due to the severity of the kittens’ injuries, which veterinarians determined to be untreatable, they had no choice but to euthanize them humanely
On Friday, February 22, according to NBC Washington, Gaskins once again made a court appearance. Superior Court Judge Patricia Broderick sentenced Gaskins to 180 days in a half-way house, three years of supervised probation, and a $100 fine to go the Victims of Violent Crimes Fund. Upon his release he must complete 40 hours of Community Service. Additionally Gaskins will undergo a mental health assessment, attend a parenting skills group, and will not be allowed to own any pets for the duration of his probation period.
Investigators of the case from the Washington Humane Society’s Law Enforcement Department expressed mixed emotions about the sentence passed on Gaskins by Judge Broderick, noting that Judge Broderick had chosen not to follow the recommendation of a 360 day jail term made by the prosecutor.
Vice President of Officer Scott Giacoppo, the External Affairs and Chief Programs Officer said, “This remains one of the worst cases of animal cruelty I have ever encountered in my more than 20 years in animal welfare. We are pleased to have justice for Simba and Pumba; however, we are disappointed that the judge chose to disregard the prosecution’s recommendation for the maximum punishment allowable for this heinous act.”
This writer is highly disappointed with what I consider Judge Broderick’s “slap on the wrist” sentence for a horrendous act of cruelty to animals. It makes me wonder if and when crimes of this nature will be taken seriously enough to render sentences that truly “fit the crime”. Additionally what about Gaskins’ daughter’s emotional wounds that this cruelty created? Are they beyond healing?
What is your reaction to Judge Broderick’s sentence? Tell us in a comment.