A 26-year-old Tampa, Florida man has gotten off the hook for killing and eating his dog after a psychiatrist told a court the man suffers from schizoaffective disorder, a mental illness that combines schizophrenia and a mood disorder.
In a first trial the man, identified as Thomas Huggins, was convicted of animal cruelty for strangling, butchering and eating the family pit bull named "Bandit." During the trial, much debate was made over whether strangulation constitutes a cruel form of death. The jury voted to convict after a County Animal Services worker testified that under no circumstances is strangulation considered an acceptable form of euthanasia or slaughter of any animal.
On appeal, however, a jury reversed that verdict after hearing from a psychologist who told them Huggins suffers from mental health problems. The psychologist testified that Huggins can distinguish between right and wrong but cannot understand the long-term consequences of the actions he takes. He now faces time in a residential mental health care facility and is banned from owning pets or living in a house where a pet is present.
Eating a dog is prohibited in many U.S. states, but in many places around the world, dog-eating is not taboo. In Vietnam, China and parts of Switzerland, a bite of dog meat is a completely acceptable lunch choice.
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