As a cat owner/lover myself, I found the AP article “Man gets up to 5 years for torturing, killing cats” (Jan. 26 – Feb. 1, 2017 Moab Sun News) to be deeply disturbing. I applaud Utah County prosecutor Thomas and Judge Lunnen for taking a hardline with Spencer Pederson – who tortured and killed eleven cats (that we’re aware of) – but I find Judge Lunnen’s suggestion that Pederson could possibly “accept responsibility for his actions” to be somewhat dubious.
And although I’m not a psychologist, I sincerely doubt whether someone who places a premium on inflicting such cruelty on helpless victims can be successfully “rehabilitated” during incarceration, which is why I would like to see the Utah legislature work toward creating an animal offender registry akin to the sex offender registry. I may be wrong, but I don’t believe that current law prevents Pederson from operating a pet-sitting business, for example, upon completion of his sentence. A civilized society has the responsibility to deny persons like Pederson the “right” to even have a pet, and the laws should reflect that.