After torturing and beating a helpless dog nearly to death, an Iraqi national stood before a Michigan court to receive his sentence. However, instead of adhering to a law increasing penalties for animal cruelty, the judge honored a sweet deal that the defendant made with prosecutors.
Veterinarians were shocked and disturbed when a young woman carried in a severely injured dog named Champ. The canine couldn’t even stand on its own due to serious injuries. When questioned, the woman admitted that her boyfriend, Abdulrazzaq Salah Mustafa, had brutalized the dog and did so on a regular basis, WILX reports.
“We knew as soon as he got to our organization he was in really bad shape and he was transferred almost immediately to a surgeon to perform about a four-hour orthopedic surgery to put him back together,” said Julia Willson, president and CEO of Capital Area Humane Society. “He was actually brought in by a family member at the time and additionally we were told that a few weeks prior he had also been beaten unconscious.”
Michigan increased the standard penalties for abusing and killing animals. Despite this initiative receiving overwhelming national praise, it seems that some justices aren’t as concerned with punishing those who torture helpless creatures under their care.
When Mustafa was questioned about the animal, he confessed to nearly killing Champ and leaving him with permanent injuries. Once these accusations were confirmed, the abuser was charged with the heinous abuse of his dog.
“He had confessed that he had picked the dog up and then slammed it on the ground multiple times which then caused several compound fractures to the right-rear femur of the dog,” said Kyle Hanney, Lead Animal Control Officer.
Mustafa, a 20-year-old Iraqi national residing in Lansing, was charged with animal torturing in the second degree. He admitted to the court that he had caused the injuries to Champ, which required the dog to have a steel rod permanently inserted into his leg.
“I would like to say I regret what I did and I’m deeply sorry for the actions,” Mustafa said.
After pleading guilty, Mustafa faced sentencing. However, instead of handing down a proper penalty, Judge James S. Jamo gave the abuser a cushy deal that most aren’t afforded. The Iraqi citizen was given just 36 months of probation in lieu of prison time.
“I would just like to thank the court for giving me a second chance to be a better man and a better human being,” Mustafa said.
Mustafa has been ordered to repay veterinary costs for Champ’s 4-hour surgery and rehabilitation, attend anger management and domestic violence counseling, and undergo a psychological exam. If he doesn’t meet these requirements, Judge Jamo warned that he could be sentenced up to 7 years in prison and be deported.
Mustafa is responsible for paying the Capital Area Humane Society and the veterinarian an estimated $6,000 in restitution. Champ is currently doing well and is being taken care of by a foster family until he can be adopted.
Disturbingly, Mustafa was charged with domestic violence shortly after Champ was placed in the care of the Humane Society. However, prosecutors dropped the charge and have given neither an explanation for the decision nor details involving the initial charge.
Mustafa has walked away with little more than a slap on the wrist after leaving his helpless victim with life-long physical injuries and likely psychological trauma. Hopefully, he never gets his hands on another dog ever again.
The trial has provided more questions than answers, leaving many wondering why Mustafa received favor with the court. Thankfully, Champ is recovering well and is finally out of the hands of his abuser.