I read with familiar frustration in the March 22 Herald about another dog who died when his unthinking caretaker left him in the sweltering oven of a car.
But I had a new reaction to this story. The offender, a 20-year-old man, may receive a prison term when sentenced March 31.
While I am glad that our society treats cruelty to animals very seriously, I hope this person is not sentenced to prison. He is young and has no prior record.
This is an opportunity to help him develop into a good man, and a prison stay is not likely to accomplish that. If I were his judge, I would sentence him to community service at an animal shelter.
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I would require him to demonstrate an understanding of why empathy with the suffering of any living being is crucial to maintaining a civil society.
And, if sentencing guidelines allow, I would require him to complete career counseling and then at least one class that would introduce him to the next tier of whatever level of education he has already completed.
Let the tragic end of one being's life lead to a new beginning for another.