Thank you New Times “Shredder” for perfectly summing up my feelings regarding the recent sentencing of Garrett Kaplan (“Notes of hick,” Nov. 27). With barely a slap on the wrist for an act considered a “felony,” this man gets to kick back in alcohol rehab and spend a short time in jail for maliciously setting a young steer on fire! Alcohol does not make a person torture another being; mental illness does. Studies show that nine times out of 10, those who perpetrate acts of violence on animals move on to acts of violence on people. Why, then, is Kaplan not serving time in Atascadero State Hospital getting psychiatric help? Do we really want this guy walking around our town without having had proper treatment? This disturbing case does indeed make one question the concept of evolution—particularly regarding the judge’s sentencing.
Fearing that a case regarding “just a cow” would fade away unnoticed, 10 to 30 “Panda” supporters attended all seven hearings for Kaplan, enduring his goading remarks and, in one case, threat. We wore lime green so the judge would see we were there and cared about the outcome. We spoke on the radio, on TV, in the newspaper, and on social media, raising awareness of this case and asking it be prosecuted as the felony that it is. We raised 4,000 petition signatures from all over the world and hand-wrote more than 25 letters to Judge Duffy and the DA urging maximum prosecution for this felony.
Did any of that affect the sentencing? No, it did not. Shoplifting would have gotten Kaplan more jail time. Fortunately, I believe in karma.
-- Diane Dieterich - San Luis Obispo