I hardly slept a wink last night thinking about this Restitution Hearing today. It sickens me that this crime came down to money. I have studied everything I could find online regarding Restitution over the past 5 months.
We see the term “Plea Bargain” in every criminal case, but until now, it never really struck my heart with devastation. The term alone is an insult to the Victims of a crime.
There a cynics out there who will believe that this case is all about the monetary gain. However, there are others, like me, who are animal lovers and understand that our dogs are like our children and part of our family. As a mother, I actually lost a child.
My son died 15 years ago and it took me many years to overcome the grief and detestation from his loss. I was not sure I would ever recover because my life had changed drastically. I hit rock bottom and attempted to take my own life, fortunately I survived. It seems my entire life, as far back as I can remember, has been about being some ones victim, which made me a very easy target to being taken advantage of often for the sake of love.
My personality became so altered, that I had to accept the fact that I would never be the person I was when my son was alive. I was shaken to the core of my being, a big part of me also died that day.
What does not kill you makes you stronger; although most of us have probably heard this euphemism before, yet I believe that must have been said by a person who has never experienced traumatic, life altering, experiences. Those of us who have endured an overabundance of stress hormones, know all too well it left us more vulnerable and can lead to low levels of mental well being. No doubt there is a there is a Psychological of death our personality as a result.
Emotional and psychological suffering causes the brain to physically "rewire" itself. I did not die but I certainly felt very brain damaged. In order to truly survive I knew I needed to escape being victimized ever again. Especially those who continued preying on me in the name of Love. So I moved over two thousand miles away a few years ago, to a place where no one knows me enough to make me their target.
I brought with me, my happy adorable little Yorkies, who supplied me with an abundance of unconditional love. There are those who will never understand how the love of animals can replace loving another human being. They would have to know our life story to grasp the concept. They would have to experience painful conditional love that we have.
Many speak of true love, yet there are so many different definitions of love in the minds of people and even the dictionary has a variety of love interpretations. I believe true love can only be a reality when two people completely agree on the definition of love. Then together they have found true love, which may not be everlasting love. Life experiences defiantly changes our personalities.
The most difficult realization for me was love based on materialism after my son died. As a single mother, with a full time job I was easily able to provide materialistic tokens of my love to my children. However with the loss of my son my mental breakdown, caused me to be unable to work, much less function normally as people continued to expect of me. With the crash of my materialistic lifestyle came the loss of love and respect from those who had claimed to “Love” me before the crash.
I sunk deeper into my barrel of despair, feeling used and taken advantage of in my darkest hours by those who had told me they loved me everyday. I knew I had to escape the heartbreak of it all and make a solemn vow to never allow myself to become anyone’s victim again.
I found peace of mind, having only human acquaintances and loving my little Yorkies, who only expected me to tend to their basic needs. They hugged and kissed me hundreds of times a day for absolutely no reason at all. They never judged or criticized me based what I could pull out of my wallet. If they whined about needing something from me, it was a true basic needs such a medical attention or simply to fill the food and water bowls.
Our small town has a Thrift store that places an old shopping cart at the front door daily as give away items and every couple of months I stopped by to get a hand full of small stuffed animals for my Yorkies to play with. They could care less that they were second hand toys, or not name brand. They certainly never cared to check the price tag, or if it were a store bought item. Occasionally an empty water bottle from the recycle bin was a fun filled toy, they would enjoy chasing for hours as we enjoyed the warm Arizona mornings. To them they were valuable wonderful gifts of the love I felt for them and together we spent hours playing.
I really just want to break down and cry today for what I am facing. I am tempted to crawl back into that barrel of despair and ignore this day. Be that victim again and wallow in it, reach for some medication that will put me in an emotionally numb place. However, I know I can never allow myself to be victimized again. I need to fight and fight hard for my little Yorkie’s Justice. This is my only and last chance to stand up for myself in this criminal case.
As with all too many life situations everything boils down to, that all mighty money. If it has to be that way, then so be it. Had Tiffaney not “Plea bargained” her way out of doing Jail time, or serve any other penalties besides the restitution, I doubt if I would feel any less sorrow for the death of my Yorkies. Only through this Restitution Hearing will I find and iota of Justice served. In the Plea bargain Tiffaney was offered less than one third of what I summarized as fair and reasonable monetary losses, termed restitution. I was so angry for days that I flooded the Courts with letters of my disapprovals. As the Court files became thicker with documents, my anger was quenched.
Yes, the Knuckleheads and cynics will attempt to call this a monetary gain. How do you put a price on the heads of a dead pet? You do not. The State Official Restitution form contains the following value sections:
1.) Items not recovered or damaged. Value or cost to replace. This would be two Yorkie females considered only property. Not living breathing creatures. In addition, the cost to repair my fencing and re-enforce it against future attacks from any Dogs Tiffaney may house in the future. Since she is a transient renter and the Property Owner/Landlord allows such ludicrous behavior from his tenants regarding pets, I believe I am justified in requesting that my fence repairs be reimbursed.
2.) Out of pocket Medical expenses. Although I had medical expenses both physically and now mentally I have medical coverage and my deductibles were not even worth adding up, I skipped this section.
3.) Other expenses (lost wages, travel etc.) Here I was so tempted to nickel and dime this section to death. Accounting for every penny spent on travel, to and from court, horde receipts for copies made or paper clips I had to buy to keep my plethora of paperwork organized. However, I opted to keep my anger in check sticking only to loss of wages.
Little Peanut was bred at the time of her death; every summer has been a joyful time, birthing and raising adorable little Yorkies. It was not all about making some huge profit. Yorkies are one of the most sought after breed of dogs for a reason, their personality alone brought a lot of joy to my life and they are so darn cute to cuddle. However, this summer has been a living nightmare.
This month those puppies would have been advertised for sale and I would be spending any profits on a new furnace and it would have already been installed. The majority of money made was spent on the exceptional care of all of my Yorkies.
In addition, I only asked for one year (one litter) which would be how long it would take to raise puppies, care for, and train them to breeding age. Realistically I find it hard to believe I will be able to find any motivation for another adventure puppy raising. Asking me to start of from scratch is cruel enough.
As for pain and suffering, those two categories are not even allowed in a Restitution Hearing. Most likely because no amount of money can compensate a victim to a “condition of being restored”.
Instead of those plans, I find myself sitting here fighting for my rights and stressed beyond the normal limits for months now. The hearing does not begin until 3:30 pm. and watching the clock feels excruciating.
My anxiety is through the roof. I could lose today because this case really sucks. I am worried I am not prepared enough or that my exhibit will not be allowed. I am concerned that I may be judged as an overbearing extremist old lady, because I love my pets. Will my victim/witness testimony fall flat or maybe I will not even be allowed to finish because it is too lengthy.
I have asked myself repeatedly, can I really do this, am a strong enough yet to not break down in the face of adversity? I get sick to my stomach again and hold back my tears.
Take a few deep breaths, pull myself together, re-read my victim statement, time it, and scribble notes in case the Judge interrupts me during key points. I re-arrange my exhibit for the 100th time, a routine; I have done now for months, preparing for this travesty of Justice.
I have given Deputy County Attorney; Michael Powel a lot of flack and sent him tons of e-mails as my anger grew waiting for this day. I pray he understands the emotional toll of his victim/witnesses and does not hold it against me as we walk into that sterile courtroom.
I have put in place a Victim Advocate, Shawna Logsdon, Office Specialist, from Mohave County Victim/Witness Program. I have met with Kingman Daily Miner newspaper Reporter Erin Taylor; I am now her biggest fan. She plans to meet me at the court house. I will be Ok… I will be Ok.
Finally, at the end of this day all of the legal turmoil will be concluded. As for winning the dollar amounts: What we hold in our hands is temporary, but what we hold in our hearts in forever. My little Yorkies will never be lost in my heart and no amount of Restitution can restore my heartache.