Ohio Judge Gives ‘Creative’ Sentences To Animal Abusers To Teach Life Lessons

by : Lucy Connolly on : 08 Sep 2020 12:08
Judge Gives 'Creative' Sentences To Animal Abusers To Teach Life LessonsNews 5 Cleveland

A judge in Ohio has made waves nationally by handing ‘creative’ sentences to those who have abused animals, which often involve placing the defendants in a similar position to that of their victims.

Prior to his retirement last year, Painesville Municipal Court Judge Michael A. Cicconetti became renowned for his unique brand of what he called ‘creative justice’, dishing out punishments that he felt would teach the defendants a lesson.


He soon gained the respect of animal-lovers worldwide, with the judge proving his willingness to stand up for the rights of defenceless animals, consistently handing out sentences to abusers that seemed far more fitting than a simple slap on the wrist.

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On one such occasion, Cicconetti sentenced 26-year-old Michelle Murray to spend a night in the woods without water, food or entertainment after she abandoned 35 kittens in a forest during the winter.


Park rangers found the kittens abandoned in two parks in Mentor, Ohio, in 2005. Many of the animals had upper respiratory infections when they were found and nine later died.

The judge sentenced Murray on September 19 that year, after giving her a choice between spending 90 days in prison for domestic animal abandonment or a reduced sentence which involved her spending a night alone in the woods.

judge gives creative sentences to animal abusersABC News

On top of that, the 26-year-old was also sentenced to 14 days in prison, 15 days of house arrest, a $3,200 donation to the Humane Society and a $500 donation to the park rangers who found the kittens.


Cicconetti told the defendant in court, as per ABC News:

How would you like to be dumped off at a metro park late at night, spend the night listening to the coyotes… listening to the raccoons around you in the dark night, and sit out there in the cold not knowing where you’re going to get your next meal, not knowing when you are going to be rescued?

More recently, the judge sentenced a woman who subjected her dog to filthy living conditions to spend an entire day sitting at a dump. ‘If you puke, you puke,’ he told her at her sentencing in 2015.

woman who subjected her dog to filthy living conditionsABC News

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Alyssa Morrow pleaded guilty to animal cruelty and neglect after it came to light she had left her dog, Moose, trapped inside her dirty and crowded home all alone for a week.

Sentencing her, Cicconetti said that while he couldn’t interpret the feelings of a dog, if Moose could tell him how he felt it would be ‘abandoned, scared, frightened and sick’.

He told Morrow, as per The Dodo:

Maybe you should get a little taste of that, but I’m going to let you have a choice here. And the choice is I want you to live like Moose.

And in order to do that I want you to go down to the county dump, to the landfill, and I want them to find the stinkiest smelliest god-awful odour place they can find in that dump.

And I want you to sit there for eight hours tomorrow, to think what you did to that dog while you smell the odour.

woman who subjected dog to filthy living conditions sentencedABC News

It wasn’t just animal abusers Cicconetti handed out his creative sentences to, with some of his other cases seeing him dole out punishments to people who committed traffic violations, those accused of theft and some that pleaded guilty to assault, among many others.

Hopefully, these people will have learnt their lessons pretty quickly after being put in similar positions to the poor animals they mistreated.

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Lucy Connolly

A Broadcast Journalism Masters graduate who went on to achieve an NCTJ level 3 Diploma in Journalism, Lucy has done stints at ITV, BBC Inside Out and Key 103. While working as a journalist for UNILAD, Lucy has reported on breaking news stories while also writing features about mental health, cervical screening awareness, and Little Mix (who she is unapologetically obsessed with).

Topics: Animals, Animal Abuse, Crime, judge, Life, Now, Ohio


News 5 Cleveland/YouTube and 2 others
  1. News 5 Cleveland/YouTube

    Painesville judge gives unusual sentence

  2. ABC News

    Woman Ordered to Spend Night in Woods for Abandoning Kittens

  3. The Dodo

    Woman Who Kept Dog In Filth Sentenced To Stay At Garbage Dump