In 2012 a former Salve Regina student admitted to brutally killing a
rabbit with a hockey stick.
Although Rhode Island's laws say animal abusers can receive up to 2 years in prison, his punishment was two months of home confinement.
The last time anyone received jail time for animal
cruelty in the state was at least 8 years ago.
"In the past 5 years at the RISPCA we've had 20, 30, 40 cases
that have gone to court... the harshest penalty levied on an individual... was
4 thousand dollars," said Dr. E.J. Finocchio, President of the RISPCA.
Some local lawmakers are proposing a bill that raises the
maximum punishment for animal abusers from 2 to 4 years in prison and from
10 to 20 hours of community service.
"Maybe if we had some more severe penalties, instead of
slapping these individuals on the wrist... I think the judiciary looks at
legislation that's passed as sentencing guidelines, and these guidelines are
quite different," said Joe McNamara, Representative for District 19, and supporter of the bill.
But the people who want jail time for these criminals most aren't convinced this will change anything.
"Do you honestly think that a judge is going to look at that
and say I'm going to give this guy... I can give him 4 years, so no let me just
give him 1? It just isn't going to happen," said Finocchio.