By Robert Hudson
Do you remember this story? Katharine Lemansky was charged in November after a photo of Lemansky’s chocolate lab named “Brown” was posted on Facebook with its mouth duct taped shut with the caption, “This is what happens when you don’t shut up!!!” After an out cry on the internet, authorities finally tracked her down through four states and winding up in Cary, North Carolina.
In court Friday, Shelly Smith, the Animal Control Supervisor, testified Lemansky admitted duct taping the dog’s mouth, calling it a joke and saying it was a way to stop barking. She said Lemansky told her she accidentally posted the picture to Facebook, meaning to only send it to her son.
When asked if the dog was bothering neighbors, Lemansky said no, and that duct tape was only on the dog for 15-20 seconds.
Lemansky was found guilty of animal abuse and given the harsh sentence of one year of supervised probation, which to many people is a big disappointment, but then the judge suspended the sentence! The only thing she is responsible for is the court costs. The court has allowed her to keep the dog. So basically she got a glorified traffic ticket and gets to keep the dog. What a great role model for her children.
Once again North Carolina’s animal cruelty punishment is a big bark with no bite to it. I do not know what the problem is there: small town judges, or judges that do not take the laws seriously or what. Prosecutors and authorities did their job, but the system failed AGAIN.
I for one am not in favor of the internet mob form of justice, but if not for the internet this woman would never have been charged with anything and when punishment is not taken seriously by the court, it is very frustrating for those working hard to make a difference. We cannot give up. Every little step gets us closer. I keep telling myself that.