Judge Addresses Sentencing of Kitten Killer That Outraged Thousands
In November 2019, thousands of In Defense of Animals supporters and other animal advocates expressed their outrage over the shockingly lenient sentencing of a deranged kitten killer. To the horror of caring people all around the world, Natchez, Mississippi County Judge Pro Tempore Anthony “Tony” Heidelberg sentenced John Swoveland to no jail time for brutally decapitating a kitten with a machete.
Natchez Humane Society wisely did not allow Swoveland to work a community service term, so Swoveland’s employer donated $1,000 to its facility. The media failed to report that, luckily, the “donation” was an advance of Swoveland’s wages.
Judge Heidelberg returned our Justice for Animals Campaign Director Doll Stanley’s call for an appointment to deliver the results of our alert. Stanley had a lengthy and candid conversation with Judge Heidelberg and delivered over 12,000 signatures from our supporters who were infuriated by his sentencing. Stanley was inspired by the compassion in Judge Heidelberg’s words and emphasized that the public is watching cruelty cases and is fed-up with the lenient sentences judges too often deliver to vile animal abusers.
Judge Heidelberg’s letter to Stanley addresses his ruling and the advocates who spoke out on social media.
Our Justice for Animals Campaign fights for the maximum sentencing of animal abusers to deter individuals from committing crimes against innocent animals in the future while creating more compassionate communities in the Deep South. Thanks to you, our letters to district attorneys accumulate thousands of signatures that are shared with the prosecution and/or presiding judges before, or in response to, sentencing. Judges and prosecutors acknowledge these signatures, and their responses are overwhelmingly positive.