Arizona ruling: Stiffer sentences law doesn't include animal victims

PHOENIX - An Arizona Court of Appeals ruling says an Arizona law providing for stiffer sentences for use of a dangerous instrument in an attack only applies to cases in which the victim is a human, not an animal.

The ruling Thursday agreed with a trial judge that the alleged beating of a dog with a metal rod doesn't qualify as a "dangerous offense" that could result in a longer prison sentence if there's a conviction.

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According to the ruling, the sentencing enhancement's wording indicates the Legislature intended to enhance punishment for dangerous offenses to protect human life and that means the law applies when a person attacks another person.

The ruling decided an appeal filed in a Maricopa County case of a man awaiting trial.

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