Meet Judge Michael Cicconeti, a municipal court judge, who got tired of the disproportionate (if any) punishments animal abusers received in his hometown of Painesville, Ohio.
Being a creative person, judge Cicconeti decided to give those convicted of animal abuse a choice – serve jail-time, or an unusual punishment aimed to “teach them a lesson they would never forget”.
As an upstanding respectful judge, Cicconeti never sentences the convicts to any life-threatening punishments, but he doesn’t shy away from causing them a bit of discomfort or embarrassment either.
In one case, judge Cicconeti sentenced a woman convicted of abandoning 35 kittens in a forest on a cold winter night, to spend the following night in the same forest herself. During a hearing regarding the case the judge said; “How would you like to be dumped off at a metro park late at night, spend the night listening to the coyotes … listening to the raccoons around you in the dark night, and sit out there in the cold not knowing where you’re going to get your next meal, not knowing when you are going to be rescued?”
In a different case, a woman was found guilty, after letting her dog live in complete filth and was sentenced by the judge to spend 8 hours at the county’s dump, or as Cicconeti’s phrased it: “I want you to go down to the county dump, to the landfill, and I want them to find the stinkiest, smelliest, God-awful odor place they can find in that dump and I want you to sit there for eight hours tomorrow, to think about what you did to that dog while you smell the odor. If you puke, you puke.”
The judges’ strong advocacy towards animal rights, derives from the strong bond he has with his first dog, Herman, who was later joined by another addition to the family – a Bernese mountain dog named Kasey.
According to Cicconeti, his motive for giving these unusually creative sentences was never to gain fame and glory, but rather to educate people and make the abusers realize the gravity of the crimes they’ve committed.
While we might not have the same power as judge Cicconeti, we can still make a big influence by spreading our love for animals, and reporting any inappropriate behavior we encounter.
Watch the news report as it appeared on ‘News 5 Cleveland’