URGENT ACTION ALERT: September 13, 2002
Sentencing on Monday scheduled for cold-blooded cat drowning
Please respond before Monday, September 16
Matthew Morris, who tied up and drowned a trusting stray cat on April 11, 2002 (see background below) has pled guilty as charged to his felony conviction of animal cruelty. His sentencing date is Monday, September 16. Letters are urgently needed to the judge to encourage a sentence of appropriate jail time. Currently, the judge's position is leaning towards a sentence of a weekend or two in jail.
Judge John J. Brunetti
Onondaga County Court
401 Montgomery St.
Syracuse, NY 13202
Re: Matthew Morris
Although the judge has stated he favors a lengthy probation with supervision, the jail sentence is totally unfitting for such a cold-blooded crime. Morris's actions constitute a methodical act of torture. He stood by and watched how long it took the cat to flail and drown. His crime was a "prank," carried out for the sheer "fun" of it. A light sentence will teach him that this is something he can get away with.
Please write to the judge to urge that he impose a more appropriate jail sentence. The maximum Morris could get is two years. While probation with supervision is important, Morris should get that *in addition* to jail time, not instead of it. As always, polite letters carry the most weight.
Matthew Morris, a 17 year old from Syracuse, NY was arrested on April 11, 2002 for drowning a stray cat. The incident occurred on April 8 when he was asked by a woman to assist her in helping place the stray cat. The woman,
apparently very ignorant about how to handle this matter, asked Morris to bring the cat to the Parks Department. She placed the very tame, trusting cat into a carrier and gave him to Morris. Morris then went off, removed the cat from the carrier, tied up all four of the cat's legs and tied the cat to a spare tire. He then threw the tied-up animal into a lake where he drowned. A necropsy later confirmed that drowning was the cause of death.
This case was not covered in the media and has received little attention. Though indicted for a felony, Matthew Morris has been granted youthful offender status because of his age. Letters are urgently needed to the judge to
inform him of the seriousness of the crime and the necessity for appropriate punishment, regardless of his age.
The current judge is leaning towards a minor sentence of a weekend or two in jail. This is not enough to address the calculated and cold-blooded way in which he tortured and killed the cat and the fact that his age predisposes him to
repeat this type of behavior again.
Because of Matthew Morris' age, letters should specifically request that he receive extensive probation with psychological counseling, in addition to a stiffer sentence of jail time.
In Defense of Animals
131 Camino Alto
Mill Valley, CA 94941
It is the policy of In Defense of Animals to no longer use language that accepts the current concept of animals as property, commodities and/or things. Rather than referring to ourselves and others as "owners" of animals we share our lives with, we now refer to ourselves and others as "guardians" of our animal friends and to animals as "he" or "she" rather than "it." Guardians do not buy or sell animals; instead they rescue and adopt. We urge you to do the same.
"Live in peace with the animals. Animals bring love to our hearts, and warmth to our souls."
"He who is cruel to animals becomes hard also in his dealings with men. We can judge the heart of a man by his treatment of animals." Immanuel Kant
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