Boyne City, Michigan man given 9 month jail sentence for spray painting a cat

Boyne City is a town in Charlevoix County, Michigan. The population in the 2010 census was 3,735, so it’s a community where people are likely close. Please read about this case, and comment below as to whether you believe this cat got justice when the abuser was sentenced to jail.

The case began in 2015 when a cat was found injured and spray painted. The injuries to the cat’s tail required amputation. Paul Wicker, 40, was charged and in May, 2016 he pleaded guilty to one count of attempted animal torture. He was also initially charged with one count of witness intimidation, which carries a 15-year felony charge. That charge was dismissed when the prosecution concluded there wasn’t enough evidence to support the charge. Wicker admitted to finding the cat in a trap in his yard. He held the cat by the tail and spray painted it.

Boyne County man

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Wicker was sentenced last Friday by Charlevoix County Circuit Court Judge Roy C. Hayes III to serve nine months in jail and to pay $1,005 in fines and court costs. Included in the restitution are $457 for the cat’s medical care.Wicker could have faced a two-year sentence, but even given nine months is a step in the right direction. He can have this sentence cut back to six months if he successfully completes a program at the Charlevoix County jail called “Thinking Matters.” Because he pleaded guilty, separate animal cruelty charges of a four-year felony and a 93 day misdemeanor were dismissed.

A lot of people will think this isn’t nearly enough time for Wicker to be incarcerated and think about what he did. Since I cover so many of these cases, I’ve learned ANY jail time is a victory for cats. In most cases the charges are dropped and the abuser goes free. Or law enforcement fails to gather enough evidence to stand up in a court of law. The Julianne Westberry case is a good example, where dozens of cats were found dead or in horrific condition. Westberry made a plea deal that resulted in no jail time, despite an army of animal advocates who worked diligently to see her punished.

Are six months (he’ll likely complete the “Thinking Matters” program) and a fine enough to teach this man a lesson? Does this sentence send out a positive or negative message for animal abusers? Personally, I wish judges would give the maximum sentence allowed by law. Because there are far too many reports of someone given a slap on the wrist sentence going on to harm or kill a person.

If you add it all up, Wicker should be serving six years and 93 days, the maximum allowed by Michigan law for a crime he admitted to commiting. Your comments are encouraged.

Elisa

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11 thoughts on “Boyne City, Michigan man given 9 month jail sentence for spray painting a cat”

  1. Out of curiosity I googled this story. After reading it I think the man should have gotten the full 2 years.
    He deliberately trapped this cat and spray-painted it’s face with a HEAVY coat of red paint. In order to do that kind of damage to the tail he did more than hang the cat by the tail while attempting to kill it.
    Raise your had if you think this is his only animal victim???

    Reply
    • True. You make a good point. He’s almost certainly done something similar before, because the desire is fixed inside him, but it has gone unnoticed as a lot animal cruelty does. I would guess that 80% of animal cruelty is invisible to the authorities.

      Reply
  2. What I REALLY don’t understand is the way animal cruelty laws read “if convicted MUST serve no less than and a fine of no less than.” It doesn’t read “at the judge’s discretion, or perhaps the convicted person should serve or pay. So how can judges get away with not enforcing the laws in their state? Must means must, in my opinion.

    Reply
    • Sentencing is a controversial issue. I sense that most law abiding people both in the USA and in the UK believe that judges under-sentence criminals. There is a trend nowadays to sentence more lightly partly because the jails are full and partly because jail time does not rehabilitate, it makes them worse.

      Perhaps we should stick them in the stocks and throw rotten eggs at them. And the parade them through the street and mock them.

      Then force them to work in unpleasant jobs for a long time. In other words find some other forms of punishment which are relatively humane although personally I’d like to deal with this thug in an inhumane way just like he dealt with the cat.

      He seems to be a serial criminal. Someone the world does not need. Get him off the planet, please. I don’t care how it is done.

      Thanks for this Elisa.

      Reply
      • The trouble with sentencing is it’s not politically correct to designate some degenerate as having no redeeming human qualities and give them life without the chance of them inflicting themselves on society again and look at the person who prison is pointless and community service and supervised release is the sensible route. There are those that just missed the boat in being human and aren’t worth spending more than semi adequate housing and enough food not to starve. You are right prisons don’t rehabilitate. They should be places we put ‘things’ not worthy of the light of day.

        Reply
  3. Take victory where you find it.
    I know many people and groups think prosecuting someone who is charged with animal cruelty is a waste of tax payer money. Since cruelty to animals is so closely linked with crimes against humans It think they should 10X more aggressive when animal cruelty is on the table.

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  4. No, I don’t think this sentence is enough, but at least it’s a start, meaning it’s an example to other potential abusers and also judges. And I am glad he has to help pay for the cat’s medical bill.

    Reply
  5. Although 9 months doesn’t seem like a long time, it is when so many cases are being dismissed or thrown out of court. 10 years ago none of these animal abusers would have gotten jail time in any sense of fashion. I think judges should be giving out max sentences but any sentence at all is better than a slap on the wrist. He will have to deal with jail and everybody inside who hate animal abusers.

    Reply

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