Well, today was the day.
I was at the Napa County Courthouse this morning so I could make a statement at the sentencing of my neighbor, aka TheBadMan.
For those new here, TheBadMan lives right next door to me here at YeOldHouse, where I live during the week (and most weekends too, as of late, due to the busy kid schedule). TheBadMan was charged with Felony Animal Cruelty by The People of California because last fall he shot my dog Riley with bb-gun for barking too much (and the pellet went into my dog's eye).
remember this sad sight??
This whole ordeal has been anxiety producing, and that is the understatement of the century. I thought I might pass out in the courthouse waiting to be called up to speak. It was completely unnerving to have to get up and speak publicly with TBM standing next to me (TheBadMan...that's the verbal cue I've trained Riley to respond to when the neighbor is home and I want my dog to be quiet outside and quickly.) I am so thankful to TheMostImportantGuy for taking time off work to accompany me and steady my nerves (he showed up in one of his hot new suits, too...lookin' all lawer-ly and all that LOL).
TheMIG said I gave a good statement, and the judge really seemed to understand the gist of what I was saying: Sure, give TBM jail time, make him pay restitution, keep him on probation...that's all good. But what about preventing future incidences? I mean, I know the court can't wave a magic wand and protect me, but can there not be a system in place for him to do something first before "having a lapse in judgement," as it was referred to? Could he call or text me if the dog is bothering him? Or call the property manager? Or call the police with a noise complaint? Rather than shoot the dog as his first course of action like he did last time??
I had been advised that part of TheBadMan's probation would supposedly include a "no contact" clause. Well, true. I don't really want any contact with the guy, at least not face to face (or dog to face). But don't you all agree that I should want TheBadMan to have contact instead of doing something rash again? Am I right??? I mean, had he just contacted me in the first place, could all of this not have been averted? I am sure the judge heard that, and she gave a bit of a mini-lecture to the TBM about all of it, a couple of times referencing things I had said during my nervous little speech. The DA who was present today heard my request, too.... and she is going to pass that contact/no contact recommendation on to the probation department.
TBM still shows no remorse, and he even still claims he didn't do it. It was stated today that he claims it was a target practice accident. YAH RIGHT. Like, what? You were aiming for the dog's ass and only accidentally hit his eye?? Screw you. Gimme a break. (and let us not forget that TBM admitted to the investigating police shortly after the incident that he did it, which is on the record.)
Anyhow. The court delayed sentencing until next week, giving TBM time to pay restitution (even though he has already been given that time). The DA wanted him convicted of the felony today because TBM had not paid yet (and he should have done so before today), but the defending attorney claims they didn't know the amount (but I think they did). Because TBM has the squeekiest of clean records, the court gave him the time, and he has to reappear next Tuesday. I don't need to go. But I think I might. Why not.
The judge stated that next week at sentencing the court will probably reduce the sentence from a felony to a misdemeanor, but get this one: when the judged asked the defending attorney why he wanted it reduced, TBM's attorney had the audacity to say that if his client had a felony conviction on his record, he wouldn't be able to own firearms.
~ le sigh ~
Anyhow. Even if only convicted of a misdemeanor, the TBM should still have to serve a small amount of jail time (the DA is asking for 30 days, but that really means 15 for good behavior, I think). He will have to pay restitution, and he should also have a long probation period (3 years is what the DA is asking for) including community service hours working with animals. I'm not sure what agency involved with animals would be crazy enough to accept a dog shooter in their midst for community service (you'd never let pedophiles volunteer in a classroom) but in my deepest fantasies, I'd love to see TheBadMan having to spend hours upon hours picking up many huge piles of dog poo while listening to a symphony of howling and yapping dogs.