Readers: Why no punishment for woman in animal abuse case?
A 71-year-old East Lake woman who pleaded guilty to 58 counts of animal neglect will not serve prison time or pay restitution under a plea agreement reached with the State Attorney's Office.
Teresita Hughes was sentenced to five years probation today by Judge Robert G. Dittmer of the 6th Judicial Circuit. Under the plea agreement, she also will retain the ability to possess and breed dogs, but is limited to owning no more than three and breeding no more than 20. In addition, Hughes will not have a conviction on her record.
TampaBay.com readers are expressing outrage over the sentence:
"Umm... where is the punishment here?" a Largo reader asked.
Renee from New Port Richey wrote: "All I can say is I am so disgusted with this ruling."
"Wow, our justice system lost its backbone a long time ago. Abuse animals? No problem! Hit and run? Don't worry about it, just serve probation and all is forgiven!" wrote Josh from Tampa.
Terri from Hudson wrote: "I can't even believe the non-sentence! Unbelievable."
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