A statement in response to the sentencing of Mikah Johnson

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MURRAY, UTAH (Nov. 4, 2016) -- A statement in response to the sentencing of Mikah Johnson by the Humane Society of Utah


The Honorable Judge Katherine Bernards-Goodman presided over the sentencing hearing of Mikah Johnson Nov. 4, 2016, at the Matheson Courthouse located at 450 South State Street in Salt Lake City, Utah. The Humane Society of Utah made this statement in response to the sentence given to one year in county jail with credit given for time served, 36 months probation including no contact with animals and children under the age of 18, 200 hours community service, and recommended counseling.


The Humane Society of Utah, on behalf of Moose, respectfully requested that Mikah Johnson be given the maximum possible sentence on all counts, to run consecutively, including prison with no recommendation for early release; substantial fines for each count; court-ordered psychological evaluation and appropriate prison administered follow-up therapeutic intervention and to pay the costs of such evaluation and counseling; prohibition from owning, possessing, and living or working with any animals during the term of any probation or parole; and to repay reasonable costs incurred by any person or agency in the investigation of Moose’s death.


“Although the maximum penalty was not given, we do appreciate the fact that the court recognized this egregious act of animal torture to be deserving of jail time,” said Gene Bairschmidt, HSU executive director. “We are making progress as a society and recognize that our pets are more than mere animals, in many cases, they are considered members of our family. This case would not have been heard in court 10 years ago before Henry’s Law passed, so we recognize this as a step in the right direction. We hope this sentence serves as a warning to others; we will not tolerate the torture of our companion animals and will uphold our guardianship responsibilities and respect for life through our treatment of them.”


The Humane Society of Utah is dedicated to the elimination of pain, fear and suffering in all animals, and advocates for improved animal welfare legislation in Utah. HSU was instrumental in passing the felony torture provision of Section 76-9-301 U.C.A known as Henry’s Law.