Depraved Indifference

From the Newark, NJ Star Ledger:  When Haniyyah Barnes got upset with her neighbor because of a shared driveway parking dispute, she went ballistic.  Unfortunately, she turned her anger on a Shih Tzu owned by the neighbor, who came to the defense of her owner after Barnes broke into their home.  In a rage, Barnes grabbed the dog by the throat and threw it into oncoming traffic.  The little dog was struck and killed.

Barnes has pled guilty to burglary, animal cruelty, and theft, but will not be sentenced until July. Prosecutors are asking for six years in jail. My opinion? That’s about right for what she did to the dog, but I would have tacked on more for the burglary and theft. As usual, the animal cruelty part will likely be the least part of the sentencing.

Under the plea deal, Barnes would be required to pay restitution of $2,600 and cannot own a pet for 10 years. She must also attend anger management counseling and drug / alcohol rehab. All positive steps, but I hope she gets at least a little prison time on top of all of that. I see no reason not to punish someone who takes out their rage on a little dog who really had nothing to do with the dispute.

Thank goodness one of Newark’s finest happened to be near the incident and was able to arrest Barnes after he witnessed her throwing the dog. Having a very credible witness probably kept this from ending in an unresolvable he-said / she-said dispute between neighbors.

Our deepest sympathy to the dog’s owner.

Until next time,
Good day, and good dog!

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