Target: Recorder Judge David McFarland, Belfast, Ireland Crown Court
Goal: Praise sentencing of man who burned family dog alive
Many of us could never imagine harming a defenseless animal, especially a beloved pet, but 23-year-old Andrew Stewart of Northern Ireland had no problem viciously attacking a three-year-old border collie named Cody by dousing the animal with diesel fuel and setting him on fire. After much public outcry, to the tune of 60,000 who pledged support for the Justice for Cody Facebook campaign, Stewart was sentenced to 20 months in prison and banned from owning a pet for 30 years.
The horrific crime, which Stewart actively denied executing, took place in a County Antrim quarry nearly two years ago. According to published reports, Cody was burned so severely that her rib cage was visible through her charred skin. The once playful and energetic border collie survived, miraculously, for nearly two weeks before veterinarians concluded that she would never recover from her injuries. She was later euthanized.
The case, which sent shockwaves throughout Northern Ireland, is said to be the first time an individual has ever been found guilty of animal cruelty offenses. The sentencing comes after much debate about animal cruelty crimes prompted legislation to be drafted in late 2011.
For years, individuals have escaped jail sentences for crimes against animals and, at one time, there simply were no reprimands in place to address animal welfare issues. Today, thanks to Judge David McFarland of Belfast’s Crown Court, offenders can now expect to face the full power of the law.
Sign the petition to thank Recorder Judge David McFarland for his valorous efforts in seeking justice for Cody.
Dear Judge David McFarland,
This letter is to thank you, wholeheartedly, for your efforts in the fight for justice for border collie and beloved family pet Cody. The ridiculously heinous crime committed by Andrew Stewart is simply unforgivable. To viciously attack a defenseless animal, especially when he posed no threat, is unjustifiable and I am grateful to know that you agreed with the public’s outcry for retribution.
Animal welfare is an issue that has been largely ignored for many years. As East Belfast MP, Naomi Long, expressed “the custodial sentences and…the judge’s decision ha[s] set a precedent.” Previous offenders have eluded jail sentences and many animals have been exploited, abused, or worse, killed, because there were no consequences for violating an animal’s welfare. Today, animal rights activists, pet owners, and animal caretakers of Northern Ireland and beyond can breathe a sigh of relief as animal abusers are now prosecuted to the full extent of the law.
Your efforts are truly appreciated, and I am delighted to know that Andrew Stewart will never have the opportunity to hurt, maim or kill another animal again.
[Your Name Here]