A Des Moines woman who hanged her boyfriend’s dog, Lillie, in the couple’s garage and watched it die will not serve any prison time for her crime.
Police say 28-year old Sheena Cornwell showed no remorse after being arrested back in April.
Friday, she faced a judge but animal rights advocates say the punishment does not fit the crime.
“The intent that was involved in taking the leash and collar out to the garage, the work to get the collar on the dog, the leash around the rafter then to string the dog up and let it suffocate and watch it suffocate till it was dead. Just that sort of activity, that sort of planning, that sort of carry through was really frightening to me,” says animal control officer, Jay Wilson.
In court, Cornwell told Judge Joe Smith “I really confused a lot of people. I love animals. I want to figure out why I did what I did it.”
Even though the prosecution pointed out an evaluation that showed Cornwell had no psychological problems, Judge Smith said, “I can`t imagine anyone in their right mind doing this.” Before adding that that prison wouldn`t do her any good.
Judge Smith says he does not believe Cornwell is a danger to anyone but the ARL disagrees.
“People who commit violence against animals are more prone to commit violence against people,” Wilson says. “It`s been seen time and time and time again. It`s been presented to the police, the prosecutors, the judges. It`s important for the judges to realize that this is a pattern that`s undeniable.”
“I’m very worried she`ll do this again,” says Tom Colvin of the Animal Rights League. “We don`t know if this has actually happened before. This is the one she got caught for.”
The ARL is even more worried about what message this sentence sends.
“I’m very afraid that that’s what it’s saying – is that someone can torture an animal with no consequences,” says Colvin. “So what are the consequences here for Lillie? For Lillie’s death?”
In addition to probation, Cornwell must continue psychiatric treatment and cannot have any pets for the next two years.
The ARL plans to push the legislature to make crimes like this a felony.