Make it a felony

4/2/2013

What kind of “human being” shoots his own dog? Answer: A brutal felon — someone who has ceased to function as a human being.

Last November, Cleveland police say, Raymone Clements took his bull mastiff to Forest Hill Park in Cleveland Heights, tied it to a tree, and fired four shots. Bullets hit the dog in the chest and lower jaw. It was left to bleed to death.

Fortunately, humanitarians found the dog and took it to a veterinarian. And incredibly, the dog survived. It was named “Forrest,” after the park. The dog is now 5 years old and has been adopted by a loving owner.

Because Clements had prior convictions in Cuyahoga County for rape, drug trafficking, and aggravated robbery, he will go to jail for being a felon in possession of a firearm. But shooting the dog was a mere misdemeanor. That’s wrong.

This week, about 100 people rallied in Cleveland, calling on Ohio to adopt a felony animal cruelty law. Good for them.

What Clements did is an affront to humanity and nature, and deserves to be a felony. He should be locked up for a long time. Making what he did a felony would help to keep him — and others like him — behind bars even longer.

In a better world, he would begin serving time for what he did to Forrest after he completes his first sentence. What kind of person shoots his dog? A brutal felon. The law should affirm that.