Alyssa Morrow had a choice: She could either spend 90 days in jail, or she could endure eight hours in the “stinkiest, smelliest, most god-awful” part of a local dump.
Those two options were presented to her by Judge Michael Cicconetti, a municipal court judge who has earned a reputation for his, um, creative sentencing options. The defendants who appear in his Painesville, Ohio, courtroom are often given a choice between prison or a more unorthodox punishment, like, say, spending an entire day picking up trash at a landfill.
Morrow found herself in front of Cicconetti after pleading guilty to animal neglect and cruelty, charges that stuck after she admitted to leaving her 7-year-old Pit Bull, Moose, alone for a week in a house that ABC News compared to something you’d see on the reality TV show “Hoarders.”
Moose was put up for adoption — and Morrow opted for the trash instead of jail time.
“I definitely didn’t think I’d be here [at a dump], but I’d rather be here than jail,” she told “Nightline” after her sentencing. “I can’t complain.”
A decade earlier, Cicconetti ordered a woman who abandoned 35 kittens to spend a night in a remote wooded area, without water, food, reading material or any kind of entertainment. He has also sentenced a man who shot his dog to pay the Humane Society for the cost of treating the animal (the Great Dane had to be euthanized) and to dress in a dog costume and visit five elementary schools to educate children about safety.