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Tougher minimum sentences needed for animal cruelty [Letter]

Animal cruelty is a violent crime that is often an indicator crime and a predictor crime as well. Animals, however, are property under the law, and while we have seen an increase in the number of prosecutions, most judges continue to treat these crimes as minor property crimes ("Man's best friend," Oct. 13).

Many of us are shocked and repulsed by the pattern of brutality endemic in both the police department and the NFL. We applaud The Sun for its investigative reporting and the enormous effort required to shed light on facts that the BCPD and NFL have so effectively shielded. The greatest legacy of The Sun's investigations may just be that our courts will take these crimes more seriously.

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It is unfortunate, then, that The Sun took aim at Judge Jordan's sentence in the Alec Taylor animal cruelty case and, in doing so, diminished the efforts of countless advocates who have worked for years to give voice to crime victims that literally have none. Judge Jordan's sentence was an outlier but a long overdue one. We should applaud his courage to impose a meaningful 1-year sentence for a crime that bears a statutory 3-year maximum.

We need more judges like Judge Jordan, not fewer.

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Caroline A. Griffin

The writer is a board member of the Animal Welfare Institute, Show Your Soft Side and Recycled Love Rescue.

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To respond to this letter, send an email to talkback@baltimoresun.com. Please include your name and contact information.

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