Monday, January 23, 2017

Happy Monday!

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Michigan: Unnamed high school student who, along with Tanner Coolsaet and Michael Roth, tortured and killed a defenseless guinea pig, pleads guilty

MICHIGAN -- The last of three young defendants charged in the death of a guinea pig in Grosse Ile admitted his role Tuesday.

The 17-year-old admitted to taking part during an incident last year involving members of the Grosse Ile High School lacrosse team. The admission was made during a hearing in Wayne County Juvenile Court.

The teen, who was 16 at the time, told Juvenile Referee Viola King he killed the animal, but under questioning from his attorney, David Steingold, he said he did it because he “saw the animal in pain.”

“My client is the person who ended the suffering,” Steingold told King. “My client was not the one who started (the suffering).”


As part of his plea, the charge of animal cruelty was dropped, but the charge of killing and torturing an animal will remain. The teen could have been jailed under a juvenile program until 19 if he had been found guilty of both the killing/torturing and cruelty charges.

The teen will have to do well in school, display no behavioral problems at home and perform community work at church and at the Grosse Ile animal shelter. Like his co-defendants, the teen must not have any unsupervised contact with animals not his own.

King set an April 24 court date for the teen, who is not being named because his case was handled in Juvenile Court, to update progress and possibly make a decision on whether the case will be permanently dismissed. The teen and his parents did not comment.

Last week, two other Grosse Ile teens received probation for THE TORTURE KILLING of the defenseless guinea pig.

Tanner Coolsaet, 18, received two years’ probation and his co-defendant Michael Roth, 17, received three years as part of a youth offenders program sentencing by Wayne County Circuit Judge David Groner.

The teens each were charged with two counts of killing/torturing an animal and conspiracy to kill/torture an animal, both felonies, for killing a guinea pig to bring them luck before a lacrosse match. The teens faced a maximum of four years in prison and a $5,000 fine for each count.

Groner noted the teens had no criminal records and were good students, but said he delayed the sentencing to make sure there were no “deep-seated issues” that needed to be addressed with the young defendants.

Both teens apologized and pledged to donate $1,000 each to the Michigan Humane Society.

During a preliminary examination in 33rd District Court in August, witnesses told a judge that Coolsaet and Roth said they wanted to kill the animal for luck in their next lacrosse game.

The defendants’ teammates testified Coolsaet, Roth and another player had arranged for a group of boys to meet at Grosse Ile High School around 11:30 a.m. April 30 to head over to a nearby beach.

The witnesses said a group wanted the animal to decide its own fate. The teens grouped into “live” and “kill” sides and placed the animal on a table where it crawled to the “kill” side of the table.

Roth allegedly hit the guinea pig with a small baseball bat and another teen stabbed the animal with a knife. Some of the teens, according to a witness, dipped their fingers in the animal’s blood and smeared it over their faces. Another one dipped his tongue in the dead animal’s blood.

(Detroit News - Jan 17, 2017)


New York: Prosecutors offered to drop Tod Mishler's animal cruelty charges in exchange for surrendering the horses and pleading guilty to non-criminal disorderly conduct. He refused.

NEW YORK -- Tod L. Mishler (aka Doc Mishler) refused again Monday to agree to a plea deal in an animal-cruelty case, while his lawyer vowed to reunite his client with the two horses he rode over the Outerbridge Crossing last year.

"I'm going to get Doc's horses back," attorney Richard Luthmann said outside Criminal Court after a scheduled hearing in the case was adjourned to March 15.

They were dehydrated and had open bleeding sores on the head and face from the embedded halter, the complaint says. One of the horses, court papers allege, had a lame rear leg due to the neglect.
Mishler, through Luthmann, rejected prosecutors' offer to [drop the animal cruelty charges and] plead guilty to a non-criminal violation of disorderly conduct.

The plea would require Mishler, 80, to give up his horses (and be on probation for two years). The animals, named Hope II and Charity, were confiscated in June after Mishler rode them across the Outerbridge Crossing.

The animals, which authorities alleged were dehydrated and had bleeding sores caused by the saddle, are currently in the city's custody. Authorities also allege the animals had not been regularly examined by a veterinarian.

Luthmann, meanwhile took a swipe at prosecutors, saying they have been slow to turn over veterinarian's reports, photos and other documents he's request in the pretrial discovery process.


"The conduct, thus far, of the People, is that haven't been compliant with what we need, and that can become a due-process issue," Luthmann said outside court.

The bearded defendant, who was garbed in a buckskin-style jacket, jeans, boots and red scarf, and holding a white cowboy hat in his hand, made no statement during Monday's brief proceeding.

The Advance is seeking comment from the district attorney's office.

Last fall, several months after his arrest, Mishler, of upstate Ulster Park, filed a $50 million notice of claim against the D.A.'s office, Police Department, Parks Department and the city itself.


The notice, a precursor to filing a formal lawsuit, alleges Mishler's horses were illegally taken from him, and that he was "improperly seized, arrested, and falsely imprisoned by (the) NYPD... in concert with NYC Parks Department Officers..."

Mishler was charged with two counts of torturing and injuring animals.


Any money Mishler might recover as a result of the lawsuit would be put toward drug treatment on Staten Island, according to Mishler and a second attorney he's retained for the civil case.

"It's about human rights versus animal rights," the Advance previously quoted Mishler as saying. "It's ludicrous to think I don't care about my horses, because if you don't take care of your horses you're not going anywhere."

Members of the Humane Society of the United States have said if Mishler is found guilty, he should be prohibited from owning and caring for horses. A Facebook group called Stop Doc Mishler was formed in opposition to the cowboy.

(SILive - Jan 9, 2017)


Ohio: Jessica North and Christopher Sears starved their pit bull to death and were charged with felonies. Instead, they're allowed to plead to misdemeanor animal cruelty

OHIO -- Two people facing felony charges after the death of an emaciated dog in October have pleaded guilty to lesser charges

Jessica North, 34, and her fiancé, Christopher Sears (Chris Sears), 31, both of Hamilton, were indicted in November by a Butler County grand jury on a fifth-degree felony of cruelty to a companion animal after a dog in their care was found starving and later died.


It was the first felony animal cruelty case in the county under the new stiffer law that went into effect in June.

How nice. The first felony case under the new law and they don't even prosecute it as felonies. Good job, Butler County - not!

The charge of cruelty to a companion animal had been a first-first degree misdemeanor for years, with a maximum sentence of 180 days behind bars. Now classified as a felony, the charge carries a sentence of up to 12 months in prison.

Sears pleaded guilty Tuesday in Butler County Common Pleas Court to a first-degree misdemeanor, and North pleaded guilty to the same charge in December. Sears is scheduled to be sentenced Feb. 28 and North on Jan. 31 by Judge Noah Powers.

Butler County Prosecutor Michael Gmoser said the misdemeanor pleas were permitted in these cases because they met the law specification of a misdemeanor.

“For this charge to rise to the level of a felony, there has to be a prior charge of abuse. There was some indication that was the case early on, but the evidence indicated there was not, so the charge is really a misdemeanor,” Gmoser said.


Sears’ attorney David Washington argued that "this was not a case where the dog was beaten or tortured".

“They fed the dog and it threw up all over. They did not have the money to take it to the vet,” Washington said. “(Sears) loved the dog.”

It's called "Take it to the shelter, David." Hmm, what's skinnier than this? Death, David. That's what a reasonable person would infer would be the eventual outcome of Duke getting skinnier and skinnier. A reasonable person would be able to figure out the outcome if they continued to do NOTHING, which is what they did. Just shut up and collect your paycheck.

An employee of Minnick’s Drive Thru called police after a dog came to the Hamilton drive-thru looking starved. She fed the brown pit bull mix Slim Jims and dog biscuits and gave it some water.

A post on the Butler County Dog Warden’s Facebook page yielded several tips and led Deputy Dog Warden Supervisor Kurt Merbs to North and Sears

According to Merbs, the couple said that each time they fed the dog it “would go throw up and just lay around.”

But they never sought medical treatment for the dog, according to Merbs.

The dog, later named Duke by those who tried to save him, did not survive. After weeks of treatment, he was euthanized, according to the dog warden’s office.

(Hamilton Journal News - Jan 17, 2017)


Canada: Mother and daughter cat hoarders, Johanna Steadman and Teresa Steadman, plead not guilty to animal cruelty charges

CANADA -- Two Kings County women have pleaded not guilty to charges laid against them after 18 cats were removed from an abandoned home and property.

Johanna Steadman, 58, and her 34-year-old daughter, Teresa Steadman, made the pleas this week in Kentville provincial court.

They will return to court next month to set trial dates on four charges: causing an animal to be in distress, failing to provide an animal with adequate food and water, failing to provide an animal with adequate medical attention, and confining an animal to an enclosure or area with unsanitary conditions.

All the charges are under the Animal Protection Act.

Jo-Anne Landsburg, the chief inspector for the Nova Scotia SPCA, said someone called the agency in August. That was about two weeks after the municipality deemed the property unsafe for habitation and ordered the Steadmans to leave.

Landsburg said it took three and a half months to locate, trap and remove the 18 cats from the property. She said one window in the home on Old Farm Lane in New Minas was open and the cats would come and go, so it took longer to trap them because they were likely getting food elsewhere.

“Normally, we can catch them in a trap relatively quickly if there are no other food sources, so that's why it took us a bit longer,” she said.

She said SPCA staff weren't sure how many cats they were looking for.

“We didn't know exactly how many, but we were finding evidence that there were more, and neighbours were telling us there were sightings of more, so we had to keep going back,” Landsburg said.

“Sometimes there were long periods in between where we wouldn't get any, but then we would get notification that there was another one in there.”

No dead animals were found during the search, she said.

Landsburg said it took longer to search the home for the animals because of debris throughout the house, which she described as a hoarding situation that made it “incredibly difficult” to move around.

“They had to wear haz-mat suits and respirators. They were literally climbing on top of piles of garbage and debris trying to find their way around,” she said.

“There was garbage, there was the smell of ammonia in there. When you go into these types of situations, you just never know what type of even human waste that you could come across as well.”

All the animals were adoptable, but she said it took some time to get them back to health.

“There were some suffering from dehydration, some from malnutrition, parasites, skin conditions, so that was all treated and we managed to find homes for them.”

The split-entry home has three of four windows in the front of the home boarded up. Items can be seen piled up in front of the large living room window.

(Local Express Canada - Jan 20, 2017)

New York: Jury finds Duane Carpenter guilty on six counts of animal cruelty to horses. Carpenter says the verdict will be thrown out.

NEW YORK --  A Saratoga County man was found guilty on six counts of Animal Neglect.

Duane Carpenter was charged with 12 counts of Animal Neglect. He’s accused of failing to provide proper care to 12 horses on his property in the town of Greenfield.

At first, the jury could not come to a decision, but they found him guilty on six counts after they went back and deliberated some more.

Duane Carpenter

“This day in age, there shouldn’t be this kind of suffering,” neighbor Lisa Giordano said. “We know very well how horses need to be taken care of, and if we don’t speak out, who will?”


Giordano was brought to tears. She said she lost hope that justice would be served for the alleged neglect of the horses on Carpenter’s property.

Carpenter was previously convicted of two other animal cruelty charges. The former owner of the horses, his sister Ann Arnold, was convicted of abusing more than 12 horses. She was arrested in June involving the care of a horse in Fultonville.

The horses were removed from the Greenfield property in 2015.

On Tuesday, the jury found Carpenter guilty of six out of the 12 counts against him for failure to provide proper care. His attorney said it was a compromised jury, but the judge denied the motion.

“Well, sure, it’s an obvious win,” Carpenter said. “It’s the same exact evidence for all 12 counts. Obviously, I can’t be guilty of six and not six, so this verdict is going to be thrown out. There’s no question about it.”


Carpenter sent the following statement in an e-mail to NEWS10 ABC:

Over the last year and a half I have been fighting some rather absurd animal abuse charges.

I have a herd of thirteen horses, mostly older, and two of them have trouble keeping weight on, much as some older people do.

On December 21, 2013, a State Trooper, a veterinarian, and a member of the SPCA served a search warrant on my farm and looked at all my horses. Three charges were filed: one for not treating an eye wound (which my veterinarian had records of having healed years ago) and two for “malnourished” horses.

Mind you, in the five states that set actual standards for such things, my horses meet the state standards and would not have been investigated further (California, Maryland, Tennessee, Kentucky, and South Carolina).

During the trial, there were a number of items that were undisputed. Both my veterinarian and the prosecutor’s veterinarian agreed that a way to treat the condition of the horses would be to separate them from the herd (to eliminate competition for food) and to provide extra nutrition and calories through grain and supplements. The prosecutor’s veterinarian conceded that grain was present for feeding the horses. Both veterinarians agreed that the horses did improve under the diet that I was feeding them. I and another witness both testified that the horses were separated for the purpose of giving them extra nutrition and calories, and that this strategy worked.

There were some odd things about the prosecutor’s vet. He thought the thin horses were six and seven years old, when their actual ages were 26 and 27. This is a little bit like not being able to tell the difference between a teenage girl and her grandmother. This vet practiced for a year in Tennessee, but admitted he was not even aware that Tennessee has minimum standards for the care of horses. This vet thought that six of my mares were pregnant, in spite of the fact that there was no stallion in the herd and he was told that none was brought in, nor were they artificially inseminated. And, of course, he mistook an ancient and healed eye wound for a new one that should be treated.

Today, I find that I am convicted of animal abuse for having two thin horses. Not so thin that any of the states that have standards would prosecute, but apparently too thin for New York. It’s a little like you are taking care of your grandmother and you are arrested and prosecuted because she can’t keep weight on.

I have not yet seen the written decision, so have no idea what was going on in the judge’s head.

As if this were not enough, in the middle of February I had Saratoga County Sheriff deputies come to my farm on February 12, 13, 15, 16, and 17. Theoretically, they were doing a welfare check on the horses to make sure they had adequate food and water. I was present for all but the visit on the thirteenth, which I spent in Baldwinsville because my nine year old niece invited me to take her to a Valentine’s father-daughter ball. On the thirteenth, in the dark, the deputy sheriff was not able to find water. I was subsequently arrested for failure to provide water to my horses on that day.

There was a hearing to determine whether my horses should be taken from me while the case is being prosecuted. At that hearing, I provided video evidence that there was a stream with open flowing water that was available to the horses and that there was also an alternate source of water the horses were using. That same video showed that of the hundred yards or so that the stream flows in the pasture, the deputy had only approached it in two locations. The three deputies who came on February 15, 16, and 17 all testified that they had watched horses drinking water while they were on my farm. I had set up a trail cam in the pasture, so that it would take ten second video clips. I have hundreds of video clips showing the horses drinking water, about half of these were on days the prosecution claims that the horses went without water. I played dozens of these videos in court. Somehow, I lost that hearing. The court issued an order to seize my horses.

My lawyer has filed an appeal, but things look pretty bleak right now. I am ordered to post $13,000 for their care for three months. I don’t have that. The horses could be forfeited without posting that money, even though it is likely I’ll never be convicted of this.

Duane Carpenter

(News10 - Jan 17, 2017)


Tennessee: Woman gets thrill of a lifetime at Cades Cove

TENNESSEE -- An East Tennessee wildlife photographer captured a rare moment in Cades Cove on Saturday.

Sheila Trock, of Sheila Trock Photography, said she was prepared for an 11-point buck to jump a nearby fence, but that a visitor nearby was not. Trock said, "I'm pretty sure she didn't know what was going to happen. Proven by the expression on her face."

"There was a small group there including this lady Mary all taking pictures. I knew there was a good chance the buck would jump the fence so I was all set up for it," Trock said.

At first, Trock didn't realize she had actually executed the impeccably timed photo. "I didn't know I had the photo of her and the buck in the same shot until I got home to review them."

Upon further review, Trock realized she was sitting on a goldmine. "Her reaction is priceless," she said.

Through Facebook, Trock tracked down Mary and shared a copy of the photo for her to print and frame. Trock said the response she received from Mary was overwhelming.

Mary wrote back and shared that she suffered two strokes in Pigeon Forge several years ago and that doctors recently diagnosed her with an autoimmune disease. She said she was grateful that God allowed her another year of life that included such a beautiful experience with nature.

In her message to Sheila Trock, Mary wrote, "You have given me something more than just a pic of myself and a deer! The deer was showing me his strength and courage! I'm told I have not even a minute of guaranteed life because my blood could clot any second, even being on thinners. I look normal and very little damage from the strokes so now I try to live my life to the fullest. But wanted to share what this shot meant to me! Strength & Courage!"

Trock told Local 8 News, "The email I have from her is simply amazing. Brought me to tears."

(WVLT - Jan 16, 2017)