Kid who rammed soap dispenser in dog's body has charge dropped; court says law used against him meant only for people

The Supreme Judicial Court today dismissed a teenager's conviction for causing "serious bodily harm" to a friend's dog, ruling that the phrase "serious bodily harm" in state juvenile laws is only intended for cases involving people.

The then 14-year-old had been charged in 2015 with ramming a soap dispenser in a dog's vagina, causing serious internal injuries that required surgery (the court notes that the dog survived).

The Suffolk County District Attorney's office sought to use the state's "youthful offender" law against the teen, rather than the "delinquency" law because the former allows for the potential of time in a jail or prison for a serious enough offense, while teens judged delinquent are only supposed to get rehabilitative care in the custody of DYS. The court said prosecutors could retry the teen as being delinquent.

Although the law does not specifically limit the use of the term "serious bodily injury" to people, the court said it clearly was limited that way, because the legislature has always "directly and unambiguously" written specific laws related to animal cruelty, so laws that don't mention animals are not meant for incidents involving them.

The Commonwealth has not pointed to any Massachusetts statute, and we have not found any in our review, that has ever been interpreted to cover animals where the statutory language did not include the word "animal" or a specific type of animal. Had the Legislature intended the general criminal statutes to protect animals, it need not have enacted animal cruelty laws at all. ...

By and large the statutes that prohibit the infliction of serious bodily injury apply only to human beings

The court also noted that the current youthful-offender law, passed in 1996, was spurred by a 13-year-old killing a woman, not anything having to do with an animal.

The justices continued:

We do not discount the seriousness of the extremely disturbing allegations against the juvenile; they raise grave concerns about the juvenile's mental health. Nor do we wish to downplay the suffering the dog went through during and after the attack. ...

Although the juvenile will not be treated as an adult and face criminal penalties, the Commonwealth certainly may proceed by way of a complaint for delinquency in the Juvenile Court, where the flexibility to order mental health treatment exists.

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The court said prosecutors

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The court said prosecutors could retry the teen as being delinquent.

Why isn't this double jeopardy?

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Different law

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With different penalties, even. So he wouldn't be charged with the same offense.

That only applies on an

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That only applies on an acquittal.

The Supreme Judicial Court doesn't acquit people; they rule on lower rulings. In this case, they affirmed a dismissal of the case. When a judge dismisses a case, the State can re-bring the case in light of new evidence, under new theories, and so on.

Not saying I agree with it, but that's how it works.

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Not really

A judge's job is not to decide whether or not the defendant is a bad person who should be punished. A judge's job is to determine whether the law under which the defendant was charged, applies to the facts of the case.

If you want to be pissed off at someone, it's the prosecution.

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Yeah, I know.

And it was damn funny; we need the "thumbs up" button. It just reminded me of a pet peeve relating to people complaining about judges, and one thing led to another.

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Well, That Means Nothing

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You said we shouldn't take ANY post on here by you seriously or factually.

So any claim that you weren't or were being serious should not be trusted.

It's more like you try to play both sides and it only becomes a joke or satire after you get schooled.

We're on to you.

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Ooh, you're on to me

I hope I don't get my license to post on UH suspended!

Also, note how the commenter literally directly above you acknowledged that he picked up on the ruse. I would argue that the flaw is with your intelligence, not mine.

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Why?

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Why be pissed off at the prosecution? It doesn't sound like they did anything to charge the case improperly or keep it from being prosecuted the way the SJC says it should be done. If I read this correctly, they thought it merited serious punishment and the SJC agreed but said the "youthful offender" law needs a legislative fix. Without it, the case goes back to juvenile court where it started.

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not to worry

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he'll move on to abusing humans soon enough and the law will then be applicable.

terrifying.

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Back in the day...

I remember back in NYC the boys took a rat and tied him spread eagle suspended from the last four rows of pews in a church in the middle of the night naked. They then tied some fishing wire around his balls, gagged him and tied the other end to the large church doors. When the priest opened the doors with a little more effort than usual, he then had to clean up the blood, the shit and the guys balls off the floor after EMS left.

That fate would be too good for this kid.

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Uh-huh.

Great to know that I have met the definitive authority on mob violence in NYC.

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They must've been Eagle Scouts!

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To be able to tie a knot around a rat's testicles like that. I know they have big rats in NYC but wow that must've required some Eagle Scout skills!

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Animal abuse

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Because this is about animal abuse, my first (poor) comprehension was, 'how did they stretch a rat across 4 pews?'

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Especially if those sad boys

Especially if those sad boys who marched this weekend get a hold of him. They want a race war and attractive women who do what they are told, just like Manson!

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Is it weird

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that I get angrier about people who abuse animals than I do about people who abuse people?

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It's not atypical

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But I wonder if we (humans/people) were less callous toward the plights of our fellow human beings, would the world in turn be a kinder, gentler, more civilized place for both humans and the animals that live with us...

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Yes

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Your perspective or priorities are messed up. People are qualitatively different from animals. A dog is not a furry little person.

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Well you did ask if people

Well you did ask if people think it is weird to be angry over animal more than people... The use of "furry little people" is reflecting on a paradigm on a thinking the normal thinking is caring about humans more than animals is the normal. Thus to be reversed means viewing animals a "furry little people"

In short, Lunchbox short answer is simply "yes" with just more words around it giving explanation.

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You asked...

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I think it's a serious failing among many in our society that they can ignore or disregard the suffering of other humans, yet focus on the suffering of a mere animal. Humans are different from animals. We have the capacity to reason, to make moral decisions, to grow. Animals cannot. A dog will always be nothing but a dog. It's friendly because of centuries of selective breeding by humans. If the dog was in the wild, then it would be a feral predator.

The "furry little people" comment wasn't meant to insult. It's a distillation of how many people view dogs - anthropomorphizing them into thinking they are more than just an animal, ascribing thoughts and emotions to the animal that aren't really there.

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I blame Disney

For over 80 years, Disney Corp. has been indoctrinating children to believe that animals of every sort are just like humans, with different bodies.

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First off....

You must have the world’s worst therapist. Secondly,how many animals do you see killing millions in unecessary wars for oil?

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Hey! Hold on a minute, Lunchbox!

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Animals have feelings too, so please, don't dismiss them as "mere animals" The fact that animals are less able to defend themselves than humans is another reason why they shouldn't be abused.

I say this as a pet owner; as the owner of a 7.5 year old pet Congo African Grey Parrot named Aziza.

Do you have any pet(s) at home? Just curious. If you did, I bet you wouldn't be saying things like that.

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Mere animals

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I have spent 25 years as the personal servant of an African Grey Parrot who shall remain nameless (she’s in the Parrot Protection Program), and I concur. She is certainly a mere animal, but so am I, and so are you, and so most definitely is this Lunchbox person. The difference is that neither you, I, nor either of our parrots is a pontificating Internet cretin. Well, I am sometimes, but this is my day off.

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Pain is not an emotion

Pain is not an emotion.

Do you have a scientific basis for your statements? Or are you just defaulting to years of theological nonsense that amounts to "WE ARE SPECIAL BECAUSE GOD! SO THERE!"?

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Except you are "just an

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Except you are "just an animal" too.
People suffer, animals suffer.
Whatevs.

Soap dispensers don't plug up do vaginas, people (not dogs) do!

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Animals are "innocent" even

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Animals are "innocent" even when they're misbehaving - they're just trained badly, or hurt, or scared, and there's no malice in their actions. Whereas people can be serious pieces of work, and most everyone has some mental/moral line where if another person is willfully pushing past it, we'd push back. Perhaps even physically.

Same reasons why hitting a three year old is morally wrong under all cases while hitting some dude who just sexually harassed your girlfriend is considered justifiable, if not laudable, in many circles.

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Yes it's weird

And is it all animals, or just dogs? In my experience a lot of people who get really, really upset about animal cruelty only seem to get upset when it involves dogs....not sure why. Of course, animal cruelty is completely horrible and evil, but not caring about cruelty to humans is weird.

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Cats too

Cows, Pigs, Goats, etc... Not so much.

Many people go nuts when they hear of someone leaving a dog in a car to roast but think nothing of eating a meat lovers supreme pizza.

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Dogs

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In our relationship with dogs, humans are caught in an evolutionary trap of our own making. We bred dogs for obedience, trustworthiness, and docility. In doing so we selected for the dog’s ability to elicit a protective instinct in us. When a dog looks up at us with trust and expectation, it does so because for thousands of generations we have been selecting those puppies that exhibited the most trust in us, which we judged by their ability to evoke an emotional response in us, a response related to the parenting instinct. Those puppies that did not retain the ability to elicit this protective response in us into adulthood were not protected, and did not reproduce under our care. Thus we bred dogs for this ability to manipulate us emotionally, and it is no surprise that we are subject to it.

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Mental health???

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Why hasn't anyone near this "child" mentioned the fact that most childhood animal abusers are really mentally ill and in any normal setting(school) would be referred to counseling or in patient treatment???
This poor soul is well on his way to being the next BTK killer...

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Shows how much you know

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Just try to find a therapist for a kid that age - and then try to find one that any insurance will actually cover unless it is to shove pills down their throat and call that mental health therapy.

I'd love to live in your dreamworld where all this takes place. Better world than what we have.

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