Crime

Can cat abusers be rehabilitated? Animal rights advocate hopeful

Larry Rostchild and his nephew, Laderrick Rostchild, were sentenced on aggravated and simple animal abuse charges Tuesday in a Moss Point court. Both were given 200 hours of community service at an animal shelter.
Larry Rostchild and his nephew, Laderrick Rostchild, were sentenced on aggravated and simple animal abuse charges Tuesday in a Moss Point court. Both were given 200 hours of community service at an animal shelter.

When Coast residents found out two people convicted of animal abuse would be working at an animal shelter, many were concerned. But others, including an animal-rights advocate, said it’s a way to open the eyes of the two men.

Moss Point Municipal Judge Keith Miller sentenced Ladarrius Rostchild and Larry Rostchild on aggravated and simple animal-abuse charges Tuesday for their involvement in the abuse of a cat and its death — something Miller called “torture” during the trial.

In addition to jail time, Miller imposed a total of 400 hours of community service for the two at the Jackson County Animal Shelter. The men are required to contact the shelter within 72 hours of their release from jail.

Some have applauded the sentence, while several others said on social media they are concerned the convicted animal abusers would be around animals.

Doll Stanley, a member of the In Defense of Animals Organization who lives in Grenada, had offered $2,500 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of Ladarrius Rostchild.

Stanley has driven 5½ hours to the Coast to attend every part of the abuse case. She said she supports Miller’s sentence wholeheartedly.

“What could possibly be a better, more well-suited sentence than this?” Stanley said. “They’ll have to be around animals, under supervision, to clean up after them and to learn more about them. I think the community service is entirely appropriate.

“I think you have to give everyone a chance. If it doesn’t work out, you know that you tried. We need to give hope because it’s our hope it can lead to change within their hearts.”

Animal-rights activist Doll Stanley explains why it’s important to be tough with punishment in animal abuse cases.

But on the Sun Herald Facebook page, several people said it would be unfair to the animals and the staff at the shelter. Another poster even compared the idea of allowing animal abusers to work in a shelter to putting a pedophile to work in a school.

Jackson County Animal Shelter Director Joe Barlow said employees have been advised not to discuss the matter as his bosses mull over the court’s decision.

Barlow said it’s common for drug-rehabilitation defendants to work at the shelter under supervision from staff.

According to court testimony, Ladarrius Rostchild poured boiling water on the caged cat while Karmen Coleman videotaped the abuse and posted it to SnapChat. Ladarrius Rostchild’s uncle, Larry Rostchild, can be seen in the video kicking the cage the cat was trapped in. The video went viral in mid-December and led to an anonymous tip on who was responsible for it.

Coleman pleaded not guilty Tuesday. She’ll appear in court at a later date.

Miller could not be reached for comment Wednesday morning.

A video going viral on Facebook appears to show a cat being scalded with hot liquid in Moss Point.

Justin Vicory: 228-896-2326, @justinvicory

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