It appears as though a New York man who tortured his family pet to death
may be getting off with a slap on the wrist. According to the New York
Daily News, Timothy Guider admitted to dousing the family parakeet in
hairspray and setting her on fire to burn to death. His grisly deed was
reportedly uncovered when he showed the dead body off at a New Year's Eve
party and then posed with the dead body for photos, which were posted on
Despite the clear evidence and despite the fact that under New York law
aggravated animal cruelty is a felony, there are reports that authorities
have only charged Guider with misdemeanor animal cruelty, believing birds
are not protected by the felony law. However, New York's felony aggravated
animal cruelty law (which pertains to conduct intended to cause "extreme
physical pain," or cruelty carried out in an "especially depraved or
sadistic manner") is meant to cover all companion animals—including birds.
Furthermore, criminologists agree that it is the severity of the crime,
not the identity of the victim, that is most important in cases of cruelty
and abuse. Allowing such a vicious and depraved act to be charged as a
mere misdemeanor is not only inappropriate; it sets the stage for future
terrible crimes against birds and other animals.
WHAT YOU CAN DO:
Let District Attorney Thomas Spota know that you look forward to a full
and aggressive prosecution of Timothy Guider for felony–not
misdemeanor–animal cruelty. Respectfully remind him that parakeets are
companion animals who are clearly protected under New York's aggravated
animal cruelty law.
District Attorney Thomas Spota
Building 77, N County Complex
Veterans Memorial Highway
Hauppauge, NY 11787
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