Sentences cruelly expose our woeful laws
WHAT am I missing here? A university student mercilessly tortures a harmless kitten and gets immediate parole on a six-month sentence, yet a bloke who takes a judge's car for a joy ride is jailed for two years?
Jiawen Zhang, 20, an engineering student from St Lucia in inner Brisbane, put a kitten in a hot oven, ripped out its teeth, cut off its claws and then tried to drown it. The baby cat was trying to escape with her mother from Zhang's back yard when her mutilator struck.
Magistrate Terry Gardner called Zhang's actions "cruel, callous and deliberate".
Any reading of the torturous acts committed by this individual would suggest this much, at the very least.
Meanwhile, in a court not far from here, a different story has unfolded.
Jimboomba man Benjamin Thomas Murdoch, 24, was jailed after pleading guilty to driving a white BMW convertible stolen from Honourable Justice Sarah Derrington, who is also the president of the Australian Law Reform Commission.
Murdoch pleaded guilty to 15 charges that included driving under the influence of alcohol, evading and obstructing police and possessing drugs.
It would seem that Murdoch is not a model citizen.
Perhaps his lengthy jail term is warranted - he is not due for release until May 2019 - but what of the animal abuser who gets a figurative slap on the wrist?
In a scenario that is shamefully familiar, people who torture animals are easily let off.
This is despite crimes against animals raising public ire like few others.
What gives human beings the right to perpetrate such awful cruelty on defenceless creatures? The answer? A legal system that lets abusers get away it.
As I've written before, of the 18,500 reported cases of animal cruelty every year in Queensland, not one has resulted in the maximum sentence of three years' jail.
And the seven years for the "severe animal cruelty" charge introduced by the Newman government in 2014 has proved equally useless.
Meanwhile, more than two animal cruelty complaints are made each hour on average in Queensland, a steady and disturbing increase since 2016, according to the RSPCA.
Most human beings have the ability to articulate themselves, to have their voice heard. Animals do not. We do not speak their language.
But this is absolutely no excuse to ignore their rights to live in a safe environment, without fear of being mutilated or killed.
It's time for the punishment to fit the crime.