A Buffalo, New York, man was recently sentenced to a thirty-day jail term for killing his ten-week-old mixed-breed terrier puppy, making him the first person ever to serve time in the local jail for the death of a domesticated animal.
City court judge Michael Broderick imposed the jail term on Michael Haley, 30, who broke the neck of his puppy, Bruno, and watched television as his pet slowly died.
Judge Broderick said that Haley's act was "unforgivable" and that the offense warranted a jail term because it involved the "killing of a living creature."
We would like to commend Judge Broderick for his decision, even though as devotees of Krsna, the father of all creatures, we might have suggested a stiffer punishment for Mr. Haley. Nonetheless, we hope this case will set the precedent for future cases involving the "unforgivable act of killing a living creature."
Unknowingly, the judge has touched upon a point enunciated in the pages of the spiritual classic Srimad-Bhagavatam: any living being who takes birth in a state, including human beings and animals, has the primary right to live under the protection of the government. Therefore, anyone who unnecessarily kills an animal should be punished. All living beings, in whatever shape they may be, are sons of God, and by the law of the Supreme Lord no one has the right to kill another living being.
According to Manu-samhita ("the lawbook for mankind"), when animals are slaughtered for meat, six persons connected with the killing are responsible: the one who gives permission for the killing, the one who kills the animal, the one who sells the meat, the one who purchases it, the one who cooks it, and the one who eats it. They all become implicated in the reaction to the killing. If we give another living entity unnecessary pain, by the laws of nature we will certainly be punished by a similar pain.
So, despite Judge Broderick's intelligent decision in the Hayes case, we can't fail to note a possible hypocrisy: odds are he's a meat-eater and therefore guilty of the same crime as Mr. Haley.
We might also point out another apparent double standard: the law requires punishment for killing one species-man's best friend, the dog but does not extend that law to the millions and billions of animals slaughtered every year and served in restaurants and at dinner tables around the world.
Still, we say "bravo" to Judge Broderick, for his decision could be the beginning of a judicial trend to stop the senseless killing of all innocent living creatures.