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.
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.
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