Target: Sonoma County Judge Robert LaForge
Goal: Give man who starved horse to death a stronger sentence
A man in Windsor, California was recently found guilty of starving a retired racehorse to death. His sentence was a mere 3 years probation and community service. Penalties this weak are the reason animal cruelty continues and it needs to stop being tolerated now.
Mark Ross was originally charged with felony animal cruelty after he starved his 6-year-old horse to death in December 2010, but recently pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor animal cruelty charge and was sentenced immediately by Judge Robert LaForge. The reason for the discrepancy in the charges is because Ross agreed to plead no contest to the lesser charge because of the cost of an estimated 5-7 day trial. So rather than receive the sentence he deserved, which would have resulted in a prison term and a large fine, he was given community service so that the court could save money on the trial.
The deceased horse was brought to Ross by his niece who neglected it as well. She also received probation and community service. Siobham Duff, a representative from In Defense of Animals, said the outcome of the case was “horrible and atrocious.” Animal rights activists around the country have been speaking out vehemently because Ross had other horses on the property, which he fed properly. There was simply no excuse for it, although his lawyer claims the horse refused to eat.
This case is a perfect example of what is wrong with animal cruelty laws throughout the country and why these horrible acts continue. Mark Ross starved a horse to death, and rather than receive the felony charge he deserved, he received informal probation because the court didn’t want the trial to last longer than it had to. It shows a complete lack of respect for the lives of animals.
Please sign the petition below to demand Mark Ross receive a stronger sentence and also show that this complete lack of compassion for animals in the judicial system will not be tolerated.
Dear Judge LaForge,
You recently completed a trial in which you sentenced Mark Ross, a man found guilty of starving a horse to death, with a misdemeanor, a sentence in which the penalties were mere probation and community service. To make matters worse, the charge was originally a felony but he was offered a reduced sentence because of the cost of what was estimated to be a 5-7 day trial.
This is precisely the reason animal cruelty continues to be so prevalent. Those who abuse animals are rarely given the sentence they deserve, or which the laws stipulate. Far too often the lives of the animals involved are given very little compassion or consideration and the guilty party is set free or given weak misdemeanor charges for acts of violence that are unimaginably cruel. I urge you to reconsider your decision in this case and charge Mark Ross with the felony he was supposed to have been given so that animals will be given the protection they deserve.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: valeehill via Flickr