The United States Declaration of Independence signed by our founding fathers bestows rights described as inalienable,meaning they can’t be taken from us or given away by someone else. Anyone in the USA understands this clearly and many people have died to preserve those rights. But what about animals?
It seems “self-evident” to most people that all animals have certain “rights” even though they may not understand what the fuss is all about. Their pursuit of happiness is satisfied with a tasty treat, a scratch on the belly or a warm lap.
They also deserve to be free of pain and abuse at the hands of a neglectful or cruel owner who, for some reason, chooses to whip, beat, starve and deprive the animal in a violation of basic human decency and perhaps some laws that beg to be enforced.
Enter retired judge Michael Cicconetti of Painesville, Ohio. He used to dispense justice to animal abusers in ways that were a combination of the Code of Hammurabi ( an eye for an eye etc.…) and the old axiom “What goes around, comes around” to give offenders a taste of their own “medicine”.
No, the judge did not poke out anyone’s eye or chop off a hand, but he did teach a lesson that is more likely to remain in the offender’s conscience much longer than a fine or a short stay behind bars.
Judge Cicconetti, pictured below, was known for making his punishments for animal cruelty match the offense.
One woman was ordered to spend a night in the woods alone after doing the same to 35 kittens.
A day spent in the delightful aromas of the town dump was one woman’s punishment for keeping her dog in filth.
Check out the Judge talking to this defendant.
We will probably never know why the woman in the picture decided to abandon the 35 kittens or why she had that number of kittens in the first place. Judge Cicconetti realized that aside from some professional help, the woman needed to truly understand the error of her decisions. The sentence of a night alone in the woods with the admonishment that she needed to experience the howling of the coyotes, the rustling of raccoons, and the feeling of unsatisfied hunger would, in the judge’s opinion, serve as justice and also teach a much-needed lesson.
The best example of “what goes around, comes around” is the 8-hour sentence at the city dump imposed on a woman who had kept her dog in a filthy environment. The Judge demanded that she find the “stinkiest, smelliest, God-awful odor place they can find in that dump” and sit there for eight hours. We doubt if the woman brought lunch to “enjoy”during her day at the dump.
It should come as no surprise that Judge Cicconetti simply adores animals. His first “best friend” was a Dachshund named Herman and he now has a 10-year-old Bernese Mountain dog named Kasey.
The Judge came to realize that sending people to jail for these types of offenses was not effective in changing their attitudes and might even turn someone into a repeat offender. He wanted to make sure that the punishment fits the crime and that is why he doles out some most unusual “creative sentences” for animal abusers and other minor crimes.
Let’s look at a list of cases where Judge Cicconetti doled out some unusual punishments:
- Discussing child safety at a school while dressed in a dog outfit was the punishment for a man charged with child abuse.
- In a community service type of punishment, some defendants were ordered to clear snow from the walkways at a retirement home.
- Getting sent to the morgue to view corpses was one eerie punishment for a man who was caught with a loaded gun,
- One young man stole a bicycle and instead of being sent to a juvenile institution he spent 10 days riding a bike in support of a local charity.
- One very apt punishment was to a man who shot a dog. He was sentenced to donating 40 lbs. of dog food on every holiday to the Lake County Animal Shelter. Let’s hope he was made to buy a brand name and not some cheap generic brand.
- A couple of teenage “Grinches” scrawled the number 666 (a number associated with the devil) on a figure of Jesus at a nativity scene. The Judge directed that they parade through the streets with a sign apologizing for their misdeed.
- Spending their allowance on a picnic for primary school children was the consequence for some teenagers who decided to flatten tires on a school bus that was scheduled to take the kids on an outing.
- Better not call the police “pigs” with Judge Cicconetti administering justice or you may end up standing on a street corning with a 350-pound pig carrying a sign that reads, “This is not a police officer” as one man was ordered to do.
- Breaking the 7th commandment (Thou shalt not steal) and possibly a few others by stealing “literature” from an adult book store will earn you a stint outside the entrance of the shady establishment wearing a blindfold and carrying a sign that says “See no evil”. We hope that the 18-year-old male who committed this deed chooses better reading material in the future.
- Displaying signs are a big part of Judge Cicconetti’s brand of justice. Just ask the three men caught soliciting sex who were ordered to wear chicken suits and hold signs that read “No Chicken Ranch in Painesville” referring to a Nevada brothel of the same name.
- About 12 years ago,Cicconetti sentenced a man to spend 24 hours as a homeless person after the man had stolen $250 from a red Salvation Army kettle.
- We are almost positive that parishioners of a local church were able to forgive a woman who pilfered funds from their church, especially after the Judge ordered her to spell out the sentence “I stole coins from this church” entirely in coins and apologize to each worshipper as they entered the church one Sunday morning.
- Don’t try to skip out on cab fare in Painesville, Ohio or you might get the choice between spending a few nights in jail or walking a distance equal to the “free” cab ride. In this case, a woman had to walk 30 miles in 48 hours. Let’s hope she had a good pair of walking shoes.
- What can you do about someone who is guilty of assault and who uses pepper spray on the victim? Judge Cicconetti gave one woman this choice: 30 days in jail or only three days in community service with one condition, that she spray herself with pepper spray. She chose the latter and while the anticipation of a blinding stinging spray may have terrified the woman, the spray she was given was only water. No one got hurt and the lesson was learned.
- The last one on our list is a nannyaccused of hitting a boy with a belt. She did not have to stand on a street corner holding an embarrassing sign in a silly costume but she was ordered to read articles on the consequences of child abuse, and then discuss them in the courtroom in front of the judge, the victim’s mother, and spectators.
What do internet users think of Judge Cicconetti’s brand of justice? If the comments below are any indication, then most people think the Judge is “spot on” with his unusual sentencings.