Eric F. Gaskins was also prohibited from owning a pet for three years, ordered to undergo a mental health assessment, and fined $200. He must serve 40 hours of community service.
The Washington Humane Society (WHS), whose Humane Law Enforcement Department investigated the case, expressed mixed feelings about the sentencing, noting that Gaskin did not receive the 360-day jail term that D.C. Superior Court Judge Patricia Broderick could have given him under the law.
“This remains one of the worst cases of animal cruelty I have ever encountered in my more than 20 years in animal welfare,” said Scott Giacoppo, WHS vice president of external affairs and chief programs officer. “We are pleased to have justice for [the kittens]; however, we are disappointed that the judge chose to disregard the prosecution’s recommendation for the maximum punishment allowable for this heinous act.”
Gaskin pled guilty to two animal-cruelty counts in November. WHS said that the “torturous” home declawing in May “led to paralyzation, infection and ultimately death” of Gaskin's daughter's 8-week-old kittens, Pumba and Simba. Veterinarians determined that the kittens’ claws had been ripped out, and that most of the bones in their feet had been broken, possibly as they struggled to escape from the declawing. Because their injuries were deemed beyond repair, the kittens were euthanized.
Gaskin's attorney, Daniel Harn, has declined to discuss the case.