Comments on Recent Animal Cases including the Petersburg Fire Captain’s “conviction”

Recently, many cases of animal abuse have been front and center in the local news. All of these stories are equally horrific and saddening, but the varying verdicts in the cases when brought to court seem to pose a troubling double standard in the courts when it comes to animal cruelty. In Richmond last week, an amazing victory was won on behalf of the pit bulls Ardeller Morris and her son abused in their home. Her son, Richard Robinson, received the harshest punishment ever delivered in the state of Virginia for dogfighting, with a sentence of 10 years in prison. Robinson’s mother was also prosecuted for allowing the dog fighting ring to operate out of her home, however she maintained she knew nothing of the 12 pit bulls found chained in her yard that were in deplorable conditions and chained with chains weighing more than the dogs themselves. The City of Richmond proved itself a shining example of animal rights in this case, though nothing can lessen the pain these dogs endured, at least justice will be served to their tormentors. The same can not be said of Chesterfield County however, in the same week Richmond successfully prosecuted a 60 year old woman for abuse against dogs, Chesterfield set free a prominent Petersburg official accused of animal cruelty. While he was convicted, Jeffrey Ivey, a fire captain for the City of Petersburg, will serve no jail time for his 4 misdemeanor counts of animal cruelty. Four dogs were found dead on Ivey’s property, with four more left to die in pen. Ivey will pay a fine, but is allowed to keep is job, and even to own animals again! This decision is absolutely a slap in the face to animal lovers everywhere, but especially to those living in Chesterfield, their county did not even have the guts to stand up to someone who was completely fine with letting eight dogs perish and suffer at his hand. This decision sends a very mixed message to those who may think that it is okay to do the same thing, to those to have that “it’s just a dog” mentality. This a dangerous lack of judgement on Chesterfield’s part, that in the same week someone can receive the highest sentence ever delivered for an animal related crime, and someone can get out of jail time completely just to keep their local government job. I greatly hope, for the sake of all animals, that this decision is the exception and not the rule.