Credit: Jeff Topping/Getty Images
Any suspect arrested for a crime is entitled to a fair trial by a jury of his peers. Or her peers. Or, uh, its peers. Turns out, dogs and cats and monkeys can be charged with violating the law.
This doesn't happen frequently, but some animals have been accused, convicted and even served jail time for their crimes. We're hoping one of these cases inspires a movie titled "Air Bud: Habeus Corpus."
1. Prisoner C2559
In 1924, a Labrador named Pep killed Pennsylvania Governor Gifford Pinchot's cat. Using his gubernatorial powers, Pinchot immediately presided over a murder trial, despite giving Pep no legal counsel. The dog, which a warden assigned the prison number "C2559," received and served a full lifetime term.
Although Pep died in the slammer, he was allowed to roam between cells and around the yard, and was loved by prisoners and staff alike.
2. Free Speech
In 1981 a Georgia couple charged pedestrians to see their talking cat, which could apparently say both "I love you" and "I want my mama." The city of Augusta demanded that the couple buy a $50 business license, but the couple sued, arguing that this order violated the cat's freedom of speech.
The feline appeared before a court to defend itself, saying "I love you" and "I want my mama." The Court of Appeals ruled that the cat could indeed talk, but was not protected by the Bill Of Rights.
3. Monkey Business
In 1877, a New York City organ-grinder's monkey bit a woman's finger. She then took the organ-grinder and the monkey to court. The judge said that he did not have power to convict a monkey, to which the woman shouted, "And is there no law for monkeys?"
Before leaving, according to the New York Times, the monkey took off his cap and bowed before the judge, because monkeys are awesome.
4. Dead Dog Walking
On Christmas Day 1990, an Akita named Taro injured a 10-year-old girl in New Jersey. Authorities ruled that Taro (held at death row in Bergen County Jail) would be put to sleep. A legal battle ensued, going all the way to the state's Supreme Court, which decided to let the dog live if it moved elsewhere.
The court costs, boarding fees and dog food needed for this trial added up to over $100,000.
5. Bird Of Satan
In 1474, a Swiss town put a rooster on trial for laying a yolk-less egg. (See, back in the 1400s, people believed that witches could hatch such eggs to create winged snakes, or something.) Although the rooster had a lawyer, the judges decided it was possessed by Satan, and the rooster was burned alive at the stake in front of a large crowd. We're guessing nobody made an "eggs-ecution" pun.