Topsy Turvy Sentencing: Do Crimes Against Cats Or Kids Deserve More Punishment?

By Jeff Neumeyer

October 30, 2012 Updated Oct 30, 2012 at 5:47 PM EDT

ALLEN COUNTY, Ind. (www.incnow.tv) --- Finding balance in criminal sentencing practices.

Two cases in the Allen County court system on Monday raised questions about that very issue.

One involved child abuse, the other animal abuse.

If you had to guess beforehand which would result in the tougher punishment, you might have gotten it wrong.

50-year old Constance Anderson and 45-year old Jeffrey Tourney each got slapped with one and a half year jail sentences for criminal mischief in a disturbing animal hoarding case.

In a home on Elmer Avenue back in March, 85 cats were found living in deplorable conditions.

There were dead cats too, and evidence that some had eaten other cats to survive.

Then there was the case of 27-year old Breezy Parker, who got a suspended sentence in the neglect and abuse of her four children.

Her boyfriend had punched and choked them and threatened to stick the kids in with a caged snake.

Parker didn't participate, but also didn't report to authorities what she knew was going on.

The local agency called Stop Child Abuse and Neglect, or "SCAN", concedes it's not easy to turn in a loved one.

" It's a strain on the relationship, but children count on us, the adults, to be their protectors, and when it comes to a child, we must look at the child's needs first, before our own, no matter how difficult that is," said Jennifer Boen, SCAN’s Communications Manager.

SCAN officials would not comment on the Parker sentencing.

The Allen County Prosecutor’s office had argued for a ten-year sentence, but our partner in news, the Journal Gazette, reported that Superior Court Judge John Surbeck said it would be a knee jerk reaction to put her in prison, so that “…we might momentarily feel better."

Superior Court Judge Wendy Davis handed down the jail terms in the animal cruelty case.

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