Via Opinion Journal’s “Best of the Web,”
an account of how people in Vermont take cruelty to animals seriously
BARRE – A Cabot farmer convicted of starving his cows to death has begun serving a reparative sentence imposed by Washington County prosecutors as part of a plea bargain.
Christian DeNeergaard pleaded guilty to five misdemeanor counts of animal cruelty in January. He received a suspended one-year sentence as well as 30 days of work crew assignment as part of a deal with prosecutors. DeNeergaard, 47, may not own or possess livestock during his year of probation and must also undergo alcohol-abuse counseling.
In October, then-Washington County State’s Attorney Tom Kelly said he would seek at least some jail time for animal neglect, which claimed the lives of at least 11 cows.
“We think some jail time is appropriate,” said Kelly in an October interview. “The cows suffered tremendously.”
[. . .]
DeNeergaard, first charged in March 2003, allegedly neglected to feed or water his herd of 75 cows. Numerous investigations by Vermont State Police and the Agency of Agriculture revealed squalid conditions in the Cabot barn, and a preliminary report by a veterinarian said at least 11 cows found dead on the farm had starved to death.
[. . .]
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, which calls itself the world’s largest animal rights organization, had wanted the Cabot farmer to go to jail. In a May letter to McArthur, PETA caseworker Stephanie Bell demanded jail time for Christian DeNeergaard and asked that he undergo a psychological evaluation and counseling at his own expense.
It’s good to know that PETA, which we usually disdain, is working to protect from cruel treatment helpless creatures who are powerless to protect themselves.