In Gulf Breeze, Florida, 25 year old Matthew O. Foote killed his family's dog, a daschund-chihuahua mix named Sasha. He calmly admitted to police that he repeatedly stabbed Sasha, the suffocated her. Foote then mutilated the body by skinning and burning it. Matthew Foote explained his actions: he killed Sasha because she was possessed by Satan.
You can read more about this gruesome crime in these news releases:
Obviously Matthew Foote has serious mental issues. He needs professional help. We, the public - his neighbors - need protection from him. In 2009, Shawn Thayer killed his friend's dog, Bugsy, with a meat cleaver in a fit of rage. Thayer was declared incompetent, but later was sentenced to 3 concurrent 1-year terms. Thayer has a long history of mental disease and violence toward people and animals. (You can read more about the Shawn Thayer under the "Thayer Case" tab.)
What is the right thing to do when a mentally ill or impaired person commits violent crimes? Even if they can't grasp what they've done; even if the victim is an animal and not a person; when does society's safety overrule typical sentencing?