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Here are some of the comments by those who participated in the survey:
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“He should be ordered to pay restitution to the animal shelter for all of Boomer’s medical care, boarding, etc. If he didn’t want the dog, he could have dropped him off at the shelter. There is no excuse for what he allowed to happen to this poor, defenseless creature. Shame on him.”
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“This sentence was much too lenient, since he could have had three years and only got 120 days. If he is accepted into the work furlough program, then he won’t have to serve any jail time at all. So yes, basically he got a slap on the wrist. He gave his dog a death sentence. Boomer now has a wonderful home and lives in my neighborhood. He is a very sweet dog. Hopefully, his former owner will never get his hands on another pet. He does not deserve one. The Petaluma Animal Shelter is to be commended for the terrific care and love they provided to bring Boomer back to health.”
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“This guy should be caged and starved like he did his dog. An eye for an eye. I am so happy for Boomer. What a lucky new owner. You could see the love on that dog’s face. Still brings tears to my eyes.”
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“Petaluma’s animal control officers did an outstanding job in tracking down and bringing Mr. Nielson to justice. They saw fit to take the laws of the State of California seriously — even those that were written to protect animals. Officer Jason Pietsch and Officer Andrea Christman are fine officers and people who care enough to get out and walk the streets, knock on doors and pass out fliers — essentially to do the work necessary to find the offender. They went the extra mile to bring justice on Boomer’s behalf. I am disappointed the DA saw fit to do the minimum and take the easy way out. Mr. Nielson will walk away from this with the feeling that nothing was done to him. I listened as he was questioned: He is not remorseful, he takes no responsibility and he was only angry we were bothering him. Heaven forbid we take him away from whatever he does with his time. He must be a very busy man. Apparently, he didn’t have two minutes a day to feed his dog. It is easier to sit and watch him starve nearly to death. In all my years in this business, I have never seen an animal as emaciated as this dog was when he was brought in. Mr. Nielson will get off easy because our DA’s office doesn’t think animal rights are important. They apparently think it is OK to let an animal suffer. I disagree!” — Jeff Charter, Animal Services manager, Petaluma Animal Shelter
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“The jail sentence and ban from owning animals works for me. But I would have added a lot of community service hours.”
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“I can’t believe the court allowed him to continue to own a cat! I hope someone is monitoring the poor cat’s well-being. Animal abuse cases should continuously set precedence, including several punishments, so the community is constantly aware. It’s something that he will have to serve time or pick up garbage on the freeway. I wish this happened in the rest of the world.”
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“Way, way too lenient! It sends a profoundly bad message to potential child or animal abusers! And why was this cruel monster allowed to keep any animal?”
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“He should have to go to jail — period.”
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“People who harm animals are known to harm humans. Lock him up. At least humans can defend themselves. Animals cannot.”
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“People get passionate and are fast to take sides, losing the scope of the situation. I believe the most qualified person is the judge, I respect his judgment. I am much more worried about children and elderly in this situation and nobody is talking about it.”
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“Lock him up in a cage and throw away the key, see how he likes it. Even that would be too kind a punishment for someone guilty of animal cruelty.”
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“He needs to serve some major jail time, not just 120 days and no way should get work furlough.”
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“He was treated more humanely than he treated the dog. Pity.”
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“There should be a hefty fine to go along with the other sentences.”

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