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House of Representatives
Session of 2015 - 2016 Regular Session


Posted: June 24, 2016 02:30 PM
From: Representative Frank A. Farry
To: All House members
Subject: “Cash’s Law”- Sentence Enhancement for Killing or Maiming Victim’s Animal in the Course of a Burglary
Before sunrise on April 18, a 22-year-old convicted, violent felon and two accomplices were outside a quiet home in Levittown where three children slept, along with their parents and the family dog, Cash. Hearing noises outside, the Cane Corso alerted its owner, who went downstairs to investigate. When he stepped outside, a man grabbed him and held a gun to his head. He said that he needed money and was in a “bad way,” and tried to force his way into the home. Cash managed to slip outside in an attempt to protect the homeowner, and the man turned the gun on the dog. After firing three shots, the man and his accomplices fled the scene. It isn’t difficult to imagine how much worse the situation could have turned out if not for Cash's actions.

But despite this, Montel Johnson will not be punished for killing Cash. After he was finally captured by U.S. Marshals just last week, Johnson was charged with multiple felonies and misdemeanors, but no charges related to the killing. I am told that there is likely no criminal offense with which he could be charged since “cruelty to animals” requires malicious intent and he is already charged with more substantial crimes.

It is incredible to me that a person could unlawfully enter onto the property of another and shoot the property owner’s dog with impunity. That’s why I plan to introduce legislation to provide for a sentencing enhancement when a domestic animal is killed during the course of a burglary or criminal trespass. This is a modest but eminently fair proposal, which recognizes that when one enters the property of another with criminal intent, he assumes the risk that there will be a dog on the property. A sentencing enhancement will force the perpetrator to take responsibility for the assumption of that risk and for the harm actually inflicted.

Please join me in sponsoring this legislation. Thank you for your consideration.

Introduced as HB2237