It must be something in the water — literally.
For the second time in the last several months, a Jacksonville-area man has been charged with animal cruelty after allegedly assaulting or killing ducks. Animal cruelty in Jacksonville can be punished as a felony, which can lead to serious prison time for a person convicted of these charges.
As the Jacksonville Criminal Attorney Blog reported in August, a Clay County man found out the hard way after he was charged with animal cruelty for allegedly mowing down some ducklings while landscaping.
Considering all the heinous charges that people do to each other in this world, Jacksonville criminal defense attorneys see prosecutors driving hard plea negotiations and wanting high sentences for animal cruelty charges. And the state rarely charges a person with one count of animal cruelty.
As in cases where they allege a person hoards animals and finds them in various conditions in an unkempt house, they will file a count for every animal found in a house, regardless of whether there is overwhelming evidence of abuse or not.
In this case, a 52-year-old Jacksonville man was arrested, The Florida Times-Union reports, because he allegedly shot some ducks who were defecating on his property with a BB gun.
After a neighbor spotted the man shooting the ducks near a pond and seeing “feathers flying” after they were hit. The neighbor provided police with a photo of the alleged shooter, which led to an arrest.
The man allegedly told police that he could do “whatever he wanted” on his property and that he was trying to stop the ducks from making a mess with their waste, a police report states. When police arrived, they found feathers on the ground.
What the article doesn’t state is whether police were able to find any evidence that any of the ducks were actually hit with the BBs or if they were injured. Simply shooting in the area of an animal may not constitute animal cruelty charges, especially if the weapon was a BB gun and not an actual gun.
According to Florida Statutes 828.12, a person convicted of animal cruelty can face up to a third-degree felony, which imposes a possible five-year prison term. There is also a misdemeanor animal cruelty charge, which results in a year in jail penalty.
According to the statutes, the main difference between the two is whether someone “unnecessarily” or “intentionally” is cruel to an animal. In either charge — either the misdemeanor or felony — an animal can die as a result of the act.
What animal cruelty cases tend to come down to is how much evidence authorities really have that a person committed the crime and the degree of planning or intention behind it. It can be difficult to prove intent when there are few witnesses to day-to-day activities involving a person and his or her pet.
The Forbess Law Firm has been aiding clients who face criminal charges in Jacksonville for more than a decade and is here to provide aggressive criminal defense to anyone accused of a crime. If you or a loved one requires a Jacksonville criminal defense lawyer, contact our firm today. We are available through our website or by calling us at 904-634-0900.
More Blog Entries:
Clay County Man Accused of Animal Cruelty on Ducklings: August 22, 2011
Defecating ducks shot with BB gun; Jacksonville man arrested, by Jeff Brumley, The Florida Times-Union