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Fitting punishment to crime

A judge sentences a former Canton, Miss., animal control officer to 120 hours of community service to be spent picking up roadkill for illegally killing an animal and dumping the carcass.
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A former animal control officer convicted of illegally killing and dumping an animal has been ordered by a Madison County judge to pick up roadkill.

Justice Court Judge Tommy Faulkner sentenced Alonzo Esco to 120 days of community service, to be spent with the Mississippi Highway Patrol picking up dead animals from state's roads.

Faulkner also sentenced Esco to 120 days in jail, but suspended that sentence. Esco was also ordered to pay $1,320 in fines and court costs, court officials said.

In August, Esco pleaded guilty to one count of illegally killing an animal and one count of illegal dumping, court officials said. He was originally charged with five counts of animal cruelty and four counts of illegal dumping. He was accused of shooting and dumping several animals in a Canton creek.

Esco faced a maximum $1,000 fine and six months in jail on each count. The charges are considered misdemeanors in Mississippi — one of only four states that does not have felony animal cruelty laws.

Esco was fired from his job as an animal control officer in January.