Columbia, SC—The Animal Welfare Institute (AWI) commends the Honorable Thomas Cooper of the Richland County Fifth Judicial Circuit for sentencing 28-year old Adan Gonzalez to three years in prison for throwing Lady, a 12-week-old boxer puppy, on the burning hot coals of a grill last October. Lady was treated for severe burns on over sixty percent of her body but died a few days later.
Mr. Gonzalez, who lived in the same mobile home park as Lady and her guardian, pled guilty to one felony count of animal cruelty this week. He faced up to five years in prison along with a $5,000 fine under South Carolina law. In a letter, AWI urged the Attorney General’s Office to request that Judge Cooper hand down the maximum sentence.
"We appreciate the efforts of Attorney General McMaster and his staff in aggressively pursuing the prosecution of Mr. Gonzalez," said Tracy Silverman, an attorney for AWI. "There is absolutely no justification for cruelty to animals and heinous acts such as the one Mr. Gonzalez committed against Lady in this case must be prosecuted to the fullest extent under the law."
The sentence against Mr. Gonzalez sends a clear message to both citizens and prosecutors that animal cruelty should and will not be tolerated. AWI will continue to expose cases such as this to advocate better treatment of animals and stricter penalties for animal abusers across the country.