This week, Eric Smith, a Prosecutor for Macomb County, told Fox2 Detroit that “[they] don’t plea bargain animal rights cases or animal abuse cases,” after the jury found John Sporer guilty of one felony animal torture and two misdemeanor counts animal cruelty. Sporer now faces up to four years in prison.
It all began in Febuary 2016. An Eastpointe Good Samaritan neighbor, Tim England, videotaped Sporer “kicking, punching, and slapping a dog’s head into a brick wall,” which went on for about 20 minutes, according to Fox 2 Detroit. That dog was Meatball, a 3-year-old, sweet and good natured Mastiff.
Screen shot from news taken from video of WXYZ-TV Detroit.
After the videotape was turned over to police by England, Sporer was arrested and charged. Bond was set at $10,000, which he was able to post via a relative, reported WXYZ Detroit. To England, it took too long for authorities to respond. Another animal rights activist believed it was only because the video went viral that action was finally taken to arrest Sporer.
Eastpointe Police seized Meatball and said he would not be returned to Sporer. They took him to the veterinarian where they found he had suffered head trauma and broken ribs.
Many animal rights activists attended the trial, including Meatball’s new “mom,” Karen Cameron, who had Meatball with her. All were anxious to hear the jury’s verdict. When they learned of it, they were relieved and happy.
Speaking to Fox2 Detroit, one juror said,
Animals were put on this earth to give us something … [n]ot to be beaten and abused and left for dead.
As for Meatball, Cameron said that Meatball
doesn’t seem to have too much effects of abuse. … Although, if you raise your voice or move quickly, he kind of ducks and squints his eyes and waits for the blows to come.
Anyone who has adopted or fostered an abused animal knows very well that Cameron’s description is pretty accurate. Dogs forgive. That’s their beautiful nature. However, having to endure prolonged beatings and abuse every day and often for years become a part of who they are – sadly. They will always flinch and duck and cower at loud noises or sudden movements. It’s disturbing to know the horrors Meatball had to face every day of his life while living with his abuser.
Sporer sporting a smile with his defense attorney before conviction. (WXYZ-TV Detroit)
The justice system worked in this case. It was the voice for those who have often have no voice. The laws to protect animals in this jurisdiction were not just words on paper. They were applied appropriately. Whether it is because of public outcry, or because that is how this District Attorney’s Office “rolls,’ it doesn’t matter. Sweet justice.
The animal loving community is grateful to every person who devoted their time, resources and effort to ensure that justice was done. In their so doing, however, they also sent a clear message that this kind of behavior – even towards an animal – will not be tolerated.
One day, District Attorney’s offices across this nation will be of the same mindset as that of Macomb County: Animal abusers cannot be allowed to plea bargain their way out their case.
News video footage of Sporer before conviction:
Featured photo: Screen shot from news taken from video of WXYZ-TV Detroit.