After horrifically abusing several dogs, a 19-year-old New Zealand woman escaped jail time. Instead of serving the hard time she deserved for what one veterinarian said was "the worst case of animal neglect she had seen in her 19 years in the job," Sheryl Santos Teriaki got just two months of home detention and 100 hours of community service.
The most awful part of it all, however, is why she got the relaxed sentence -- she's pregnant!
"That fact alone has saved you by the narrowest margin from a sentence of imprisonment," the judge told her.
The abuse was found last summer when authorities were called to her home and found several dogs "in such poor condition that some were barely able to move." One she had buried already, and in total nine dogs were taken in for urgent care by a veterinarian -- two eventually had to be put to sleep.
Just reading about it sparks tears of outrage and anger and heartbreak for these poor defenseless animals, and even more so, for the baby she's bringing into the world -- especially because the paper said Teriaki, currently six months pregnant, has shown "little remorse." She said she'd gone somewhere and someone else was supposed to be caring for them, but they were her dogs. Also, authorities believe the abuse happened over four months.
"The facts make for somewhat disturbing reading," the judge said. "There is a photo attached to the summary of facts [that] I wouldn't wish on anybody."
She is banned from owning a dog for 10 years, which should probably be for life, but how can someone that cold, that irresponsible, that .... awful, be allowed to mother a human being? If someone treats an animal like that, the chances of them treating a human with love and respect are likely low.
I desperately hope there's more to this story that's not being reported -- that child services has been alerted, that she'll be under surveillance, that someone is going to be watching out for this baby and be ready to protect him or her from suffering like these dogs did.
Do you think people who abuse animals should be allowed to raise children?
Image via 23am.com/Flickr