Group Also Urges District Attorney to Ask That—if Convicted—They Be Barred From Owning Animals
For Immediate Release:
July 10, 2013
David Perle 202-483-7382
Tyler, Texas – This morning, PETA sent an urgent plea to Smith County District Attorney D. Matt Bingham calling on him to vigorously prosecute Seagoville resident Martha Romagnoli and Tyler resident Jose Cedillo. Romagnoli and Cedillo face cruelty-to-animals charges stemming from the alleged May 2012 discovery and subsequent seizure from Romagnoli’s Tyler property of three horses, two goats, and a donkey who were underweight and apparently languishing without adequate food or water. Reportedly, a dead colt was also found on the property, and two of the horses had to be euthanized. The defendants are scheduled to appear in court on Friday, July 12.
PETA is asking that the defendants, if convicted, be sentenced to periods of incarceration and prohibited from owning or harboring animals for as long as possible.
“To have allegedly denied these animals food and allowed them to slowly waste away and suffer is horrifically cruel,” says PETA Director Martin Mersereau. “Too often, people who are convicted of crimes against animals walk out of court with a slap on the wrist. We urge Mr. Bingham to seek a sentence that includes a prohibition on owning animals if the defendants are convicted.”
For more information, please visit PETA.org.
PETA’s letter to Smith County District Attorney D. Matt Bingham follows.
June 10, 2013
The Honorable D. Matt Bingham, District Attorney
Smith County District Attorney’s Office
100 N. Broadway Ave., Fourth Fl.
Tyler, TX 75702
Dear Mr. Bingham:
Your attention is urgently requested.
PETA is an international animal-protection organization with more than 3 million members and supporters globally, thousands of whom proudly reside in Texas. This letter concerns a case that your office is handling involving Seagoville resident Martha Romagnoli of 708 Putman St. and Tyler resident Jose Cedillo of 15697 County Road 32. The defendants are facing cruelty-to-animals charges stemming from the alleged May 2012 discovery and subsequent seizure of multiple neglected, underweight animals—including three horses, two goats, and one donkey—from Romagnoli’s Tyler property at 11124 Happy Acres. The animals were reportedly languishing without adequate food or water or necessary veterinary care, and two of the horses were apparently in such poor condition that they had to be euthanized. According to Smith County Sheriff’s Department records, a dead colt was also found on the property at the time of the seizure. The defendants are scheduled to appear in court on July 12.
If the allegations are accurate, it appears that Romagnoli and Cedillo are unwilling or unable to fulfill the basic duties of ownership. We’re sure you’d agree that it is unlikely that being “in the system” would instill in the suspects any true (or lasting) sense of compassion or responsibility. Given what appears to be an utter disregard on their part for the lives and suffering of the animals in their custody and that repeat crimes are the rule rather than the exception among animal abusers, we respectfully ask that if convicted—as part of sentencing and in addition to incarceration—the defendants be prohibited from owning or harboring animals for as long as possible (a common provision in such cases). Please see the enclosed document for more information.
Thank you for your time and consideration and for the difficult work that you do.
Cruelty Investigations Department