Animal Advocates

Judge Handed Woman Unusual Sentence for Abandoning 35 Kittens

Editors Note: This is an older story that’s recently resurfaced online. But, you’ve gotta read what this judge did!

Park rangers in Ohio found 35 kittens abandoned in two different parks in in Mentor, Ohio. Many of the young kittens had upper respiratory infections and nine of them later died. The kittens were traced back to Michelle M. Murray, age 25, because they were wearing identification collars.

According to ABC News:

Murray, a mother of three children and two stepchildren, said the kittens were left on her doorstep by a stranger and the local Humane Society refused to help. The Humane Society disputes that claim.

Painesville Municipal Court Judge Michael A. Cicconetti handed down the sentence on Nov. 17, 2005. Here’s the kicker:

Judge Cicconetti ordered Murray to spend 14 days in jail, 15 days under house arrest, make a $3,200 donation to the Humane Society a $500 donation to the park rangers who found the kittens and spend one night alone in the woods.

According to a court judgment, Murray would allowed to carry and food or beverages other than water, nor would she be provided with shelter. However, she would be given a ‘means of communication for emergency purposes only.’ During the sentencing hearing, Cicconetti said that he wanted Murray to ‘listen to the coyotes, and hear the raccoons in the dark of night.’

What do you think of Judge Cicconetti’s unusual sentencing? Too harsh? …or not harsh enough?



  1. Della Williamson

    Oct 12, 2015 at 11:03 am

    Fitting. If more punishments fit the crime there would be less of it. Sadly, most are just given a slap on the wrist. Like in early 2014. A man in his forties raped a 3 year old. The young man behind him was there for a speeding ticket, his first. He was given 4 months in jail. I had gone with my friend to lend her support and to support her son who was the one with the ticket. I asked the deputy nearby what’s the deal here? He said the judge knows we don’t want those trouble makers in our jail. Our legal system has lost it’s moral compass. It is very broken.

  2. Donna King

    Oct 12, 2015 at 11:46 am

    Perfect sentence!

  3. Christine

    Oct 12, 2015 at 12:10 pm

    Not strict enough. I would have had a week outside at night, and added a year of mandatory community service at the humane society. There was no possible logical reasoning for her to abandon those babies where they had no defense at all, no way to survive. And to lie that the humane society refused help?

  4. Lois

    Oct 12, 2015 at 9:44 pm

    Good sentence, but did not go far enough. I believe that any time anyone is found guilty of animal cruelty/abuse there should be at least two things happen. First they should be incarcerated, next they should have to pay a portion of any and all future income to a local shelter. They should be required to take a course in animal care, and not be allowed to own an animal every again. And, I truly believe these people should have any children removed from their care until they complete a course in child care. If they are abusing or neglecting an animal they are doing they same to their children.

    • Teri

      Aug 16, 2016 at 1:49 pm

      I agree with all of what you said plus let us not forget due unto others includes animals as well. Animals feel fear just like we do and one night in the woods is not enough.

  5. Rasheed

    Oct 12, 2015 at 10:21 pm

    … I am in complete agreement with you Christine, but i’d get even harsher, the judge God Bless his heart is a true warrior for justice, but i would have still liked her to yes spend a week alone in the woods with nothing but a means of communication for S.O.S., one month in jail, six months under house arrest, a year of making amends by serving the Humane Society, and make a donation of $ 7000 to the humane society & $ 3000 to the park rangers, so she can feel real pain, and maybe fathom the priceless value of a living soul, animal, nature and human, more power, love & peace to judge Cicconetti & healing to the whole world, God Bless …

  6. Rasheed

    Oct 12, 2015 at 10:29 pm

    … Lois, i’m with you big time on what you wrote, every word, love & peace to you & to the world, God Bless …

  7. Crystal Rose

    Oct 20, 2015 at 10:48 am

    When I lived up north the one humane society (located one hour away) wasn’t even taking in animals. There are wild “domestic” animals all over the woods up there. They’re frequently abandoned or even killed. I’m not entirely sure she was lying. Given my own negative experiences with the humane society her story seems plausible to me. If she’s telling the truth then it does seem harsh.

    I do think she should be punished but it seems like it might be overkill. I’d want to be sure she was lying first. If she is then I’d say it’s very fitting.

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