I-TEAM: Kitten killed puts new spotlight on Goddard’s Law

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CLEVELAND -- The FOX 8 I-TEAM has found Cleveland Police investigating whether a man should be indicted under Goddard’s Law for killing a kitten, and this case puts a spotlight on the impact of that law.

Goddard’s Law carries tougher penalties for the most serious cases of animal abuse, and the law is named after legendary FOX 8 broadcaster and animal rights activist Dick Goddard.

In the most recent case, a woman told police she came home to find an ex-boyfriend had broken into her home on Cleveland’s west side. She said the man had broken the neck of a kitten named Thunder and she had to watch the cat take its final breath.

She told the I-TEAM, she believes the man did it to hurt her because she loves cats.

Goddard’s Law has been in effect for a couple of years and the Animal Protective League sees the impact daily.

Chief Investigator Joseph Dellanno said, “Just about every time we do an investigation, we get asked if we’re going to do it under Goddard’s Law.”

Investigators can’t use the law in every case. It’s aimed at companion animals and the most severe cases.

But Dellanno added, “Hopefully, they know, not just that we charge under that law, but the sentences and penalties have increased and will deter other people.

Cleveland Police said they are planning to ask a county grand jury for felony charges.

More on Goddard's Law, here.

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