Monday, March 30, 2009

Tortoise Torturer Sentenced, but Supporters Threaten Revenge

How sick is this?

Jose "Tony" Mosqueda, who was 18 at the time of his arrest, pleaded no contest in September and was sentenced on Nov 5, 2007 to 270 days in jail and five years probation for felony animal cruelty. Mosqueda was prohibited from owning or having access to pets. His jail will be reduced for time served -- 110 days -- and good behavior -- another 55 days.Prosecutors said Mosqueda snatched the 40-pound African spurred tortoise from a back yard on July 7, slashed its legs and neck, punctured its shell and threw it against a wall.The tortoise survived, and Mosqueda was also ordered to pay $5,400 in veterinary bills and other associated costs of treatment.

Meanwhile, the family who owns the tortoise says their pain continues, and the ordeal has been particularly hard on a 12-year-old autistic boy who was making great strides in his development before the vicious attack. The boy's mother, Dorothy Sullivan, said the tortoise, named Bob, was her son's lifeline "out of the silent world of autism," KNBC's Chuck Henry reported."Bob brought out my son's speech, and allowed him to interact with the world," Sullivan said. "Since Bob's attack, my son has struggled; he has regressed tremendously."

Sullivan also claims the family has been threatened, and she says the family's dachshund was poisoned because she refused to drop the charges against Mosqueda. Police said they were continuing to investigate.

"We have received death threats, and I was told [my son and I] would 'Get one in the head if we did not drop the charges'... " Sullivan said. "I have had to put my son in therapy, and his seizures have returned. He had been seizure-free for a year prior to this event. After years of working with my son, he was having his best year. [But] ... now my son is afraid that he will be taken and harmed. It is difficult for an autistic child to trust enough to leave the silent world of autism, and my son had finally emerged into our world. Now we have to fight to keep him from going silent again."

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