Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Ohio: New court hearings for Stacie Mullins, 23, Nicholas Reynolds, 17, and Marcus Miller, 18 -- all accused of stealing a baby alpaca, taking turns beating the baby to death and then dumping his battered and broken body at an abandoned farm

OHIO -- It will be back to court Tuesday for two of the alleged participants in the death of a baby alpaca earlier this year.

Stacie Mullins, 23, and Nicholas Reynolds (Nick Reynolds), 17, will go before a Butler County judge to hear motions and set trial dates in connection with the alpaca case.



Reynolds, Mullins and Marcus Miller, 18, are all charged with the February theft and fatal beating of a 3-month-old baby alpaca named Masterpiece.


Police say after chasing him down and dragging the baby alpaca away from his mother, Reynolds, Mullins and Miller took turns beating the crying animal until they killed it. Then they loaded it back onto their truck and dumped his beaten and broken body in an abandoned barn.


Reynolds and Miller are both being tried as adults on the charges.

Tuesday's hearing comes after a wild weekend where Mullins and Reynolds were involved in a police chase that ended in drunk driving charges early Saturday morning.


Reynolds is charged with driving a car 80 to 90 mph on Ohio122 in Madison Township as they tried to flee from police.

As a result of that police chase, a judge revoked Reynolds' $40,000 bond and ordered him held for Tuesday's hearing as well as for other new charges.


(WCPO - June 29, 2010)

Earlier:

Saline dog owner cited after pit bull attacks neighbor's dog

NIMBY = Not In My Backyard. Describes people who don't care what effect something will have on others; their only concern is that it does not affect them personally.

MICHIGAN -- The owner of a pit bull that viciously attacked a neighbor’s dog after getting loose last week said she plans to move her pet out of the Saline city limits.

Amber Calo said she’ll move “Gringa,” a 2-year old female pit bull, to a friend’s home in Ann Arbor after Calo’s scheduled appearance in court next week.

She was cited by Saline police on June 22 for having a vicious dog after it mauled a 7-year-old Beagle that was on a walk with its owner in the 100 block of Burwyck Park Drive at about 7:15 p.m., reports show.

Officers who were called to the neighborhood found a chaotic scene involving several people, including a man holding [the pit bull] by the choke collar, reports said. The man looked afraid and urged officers to grab the [Beagle], which appeared exhausted and was covered in blood, reports said.

An officer used a capture rod to restrain the [pit bull]  and talked to the owner of the other dog before she rushed it to the veterinarian.

The woman said her dog was leashed and they were just starting a walk when Gringa came out of a nearby garage and “started ripping into her,” reports stated.

The woman said she drove the pit bull off, picked up her dog and ran inside.

Officers said the Beagle was covered in bloody towels, and there was blood on the sidewalk and driveway.

The pit bull was detained and impounded for a day, Calo said.

Police reports note the garage was open roughly 8 inches, and Calo told them she generally leaves the door open to slightly vent the garage. She said she forgot to close the entry door to the house, allowing Gringa to get out.

Amber Calo wonders why it's such
a big deal that her pit bull attacked
a Beagle. It wasn't a person, for
goodness sake!

“I don’t know what happened and I feel really bad,” said Calo, who also owns a cat. “She’s never bitten a person, but just for the peace of mind for the community, I’ll be taking her out. I don’t want to put her down.”

The city’s municipal code prohibits any person from owning a fierce or vicious dog.

Calo said she paid for the neighbor’s veterinarian bills, and they’ve spoken since the incident. Gringa is vaccinated, and Calo said she did train her.

The owner of the Beagle did not return messages Monday. Police did not have an updated condition of the injured dog.

(AnnArbor.com - June 30, 2010)

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Ohio: Poachers Cody Patton and Matt Leisure Pay the Price for Spotlighting Deer

OHIO -- Two men received fines and license revocation in Hillsboro Municipal Court for wildlife violations including taking deer with a rifle and hunting without permission according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Division of Wildlife.

During January of 2010 Highland County Wildlife Officer James Carnes received information from a concerned landowner on possible deer hunting violations. Officer Carnes and a fellow Wildlife officer followed up on the lead that resulted in multiple charges related to the illegal harvest killing of deer by two local men.

The investigation found that after illegally shooting several deer on private property during the night of January 8, 2010. Cody Patton, 20, of Hillsboro and Matt Leisure, 20, of Sabina got the pick-up truck they were shooting from stuck in a crop field while trying to retrieve the downed deer.


Mr. Patton then attempted to have the landowner pull his truck from the muddy field. The landowner refused and reported the activity to Officer Carnes.

Upon further investigation two deer carcasses were discovered in the bed of Mr. Leisure's truck and a search of Mr. Patton's residence produced five more carcasses. 

While being interviewed by officers Mr. Patton stated that he had shot the deer with a rifle while Mr. Leisure held a spotlight on them. 

Cody Patton pled guilty to seven charges of taking deer with a rifle and hunting without permission. He was ordered by Judge David McKenna to pay restitution on the six whitetail does and one buck totaling $5,122.00. The buck scored 143 4/8 exceeding the 125" limit and the restitution price of the deer, $3622.00, was determined under the 2008 revised restitution laws.

His sentence also included a one year hunting license revocation, forfeiture of the rifle used to kill the deer and the antlers of the deer. Patton was also ordered to pay $358.00 in court costs.

Matt Leisure pled guilty to seven charges of taking deer with a rifle and hunting without permission. He was ordered by Judge David McKenna to pay $500.00 in fines for his part in the poaching.

His sentence also included a two year hunting license revocation and $358.00 in court costs.

Under Ohio's new law, the restitution value for individual white-tailed deer is derived from the formula listed in 1531.201 of the Ohio Revised Code. The value is determined by measuring the antlers and using a mathematical formula plus the value derived for wildlife. The formula for white tailed deer will be applied to all individuals whose gross score exceeds 125 Boone and Crockett (B&C) inches.

To report a hunting violation, contact the Ohio Department of Natural Resources Division of Wildlife Turn-In-A-Poacher (TIP) hotline, 1-800-POACHER (1-800-762-2437). Callers may remain anonymous. Citizens who provide accurate information that result in a criminal wildlife conviction of the guilty party may be eligible for a monetary reward once the case is settled in court.

From Greg's Soapbox/Therapy Couch blog:
The problem I have is the paltry one and two year license revocation. Finding deer resting in a field, blinding them with a spotlight, then shooting them while they’re immobilized isn’t hunting, it’s just killing. I think that anyone who engages in such wanton killing should be banned from hunting permanently, or at the very least for a period of say, ten years.

(The Outdoor Wire - June 25, 2010)

Friday, June 25, 2010

Gregg County probation officer's hearing postponed

TEXAS -- Gregg County Court at Law Judge Rebecca Simpson guilty plea hearing for county probation officer Kimberly Gale Kibbe has been set for July 13.

It is the sixth time the hearing has been reset, according to county judicial records.

Kimberly Gale Kibbe


A Longview municipal court judge in October ordered animal control officers to seize 15 animals — 10 cats and five dogs — from Kibbe's home on Lafayette Drive.

Neighbor complaints about odors from the residence prompted city officials to investigate. Officers reported finding dead kittens, a dead rabbit and a large amount of fecal matter within the home.


Kibbe, 51, is accused of failing "to provide necessary care or shelter" for seven cats and five dogs, according to court documents. She remains employed with the county.

Her attorney, Steve Kattner, had no comment on the case. District Attorney Carl Dorrough said merely that the case is pending without resolution yet, but his office has obtained new documents in the case. He did not disclose the nature of those documents.

"Is there any preferential treatment in this case? No," Dorrough said. "Do we intend to pursue prosecution? The answer is yes."

(news-journal.com - June 24, 2010)

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Texas: Twenty-six starving horses belonging to Jerry Svoboda have been awarded to animal rescue group

TEXAS --Montgomery County Pct. 4 Justice of the Peace James Metts awarded 26 horses on Tuesday to the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, following a lengthy hearing.

The horses belonged to Jerry Svoboda of Splendora, who represented himself in court. Ray Johnson from the Montgomery County Attorney’s Office represented the state. Pct. 4 Livestock Deputy Don Smith testified first.

The veteran livestock deputy stated he had dealt with Svoboda concerning the horses for three consecutive years. Each of the previous encounters left Smith confident the issue would be resolved, since Svoboda initially made corrections and the horses’ conditions showed improvement.

(Svoboda gets a "repeat offender" tag/label - why does someone have to come out EVERY SINGLE YEAR and find starving animals and REMIND YOU of what your responsibilities are and ENSURE you do what you need to do???)


However, the severity of the conditions this year coupled with previous attempts to have Svoboda bring conditions into compliance resulted in a decision by Precinct 4 to seize the animals and ask the judge to award them to the SPCA.

Smith stated he first saw the conditions of Svoboda’s horses from the road, because he lives nearby, and his office had numerous reports of neglect from citizens.

Deputy Smith cited issues with lack of feed, overcrowding, and hoof problems. He also stated Svoboda previously had a property on Brown Road where he kept horses and when citizens complained, Smith found them in poor condition and found evidence they were fed tortillas which can cause colic and potentially kill them.

Smith said the horses found on Svoboda’s properties in 2008 and 2009 were in similar condition to this year. He called the horses’ living conditions “deplorable.”

“We didn’t try to seize them because he complied and brought them back up to condition,” Deputy Smith said. “We thought he’d abide by what we asked.”

“We try to work with the owners of the horses,” he said. “We don’t want their horses — the county doesn’t want their horses.”

Deputy Smith testified the property faces FM 2090, and he noticed the horses had torn down part of the fence along the busy roadway trying to reach food and the fence was inadequately repaired, posing a danger to motorists on the busy thoroughfare.

Pct. 4 Deputy Dwayne Morrow’s testimony concurred with Deputy Smith’s. He was the first livestock officer to speak with Svoboda this year and said Svoboda told him “the horse market was down and it had been a hard winter.”


“I told (Svoboda) he needed to do something, we’re having continual complaints,” Deputy Morrow said. “I told him we’d give him a couple of weeks for improvement and we’d be checking.”

Svoboda promised to comply. However deputies testified they returned to find what Deputy Smith called “deplorable conditions,” citing lack of food, clean drinking water and necessary care for hoofs and teeth.

“They had prominent ribs, hip bones and back bones,” he said. “There was no feed anywhere.”

Debbie Michelson, Cruelty Investigator for the Houston SPCA testified she had also dealt with Svoboda and his horses over a period of years, making the most recent visit her third. She said many were severely underweight with hips and ribs showing, and many hoof issues such as cracked hoofs.

There was a barn with several horses inside and no ventilation. The windows and doors were closed, the stalls were filthy and there were indications of parasites, she said.

Michelson also cited open wounds, poor skin conditions, loss of hair, one horse that was severely lame with no evidence of recent care.

SPCA Veterinarian Dr. Susan Skelly also testified, saying her opinion and that of two other staff veterinarians was that the majority of the 26 horses were in poor to very poor condition, with some scoring a 1 on a scale of 1 to 9.

Metts began by saying he believed Svoboda had been “open and honest” during the hearing.

“I believe you do have feelings for horses and I don’t think you got up one morning and decided to be cruel or inhumane to horses,” Metts said.

The judge continued telling Svoboda he and his family always had horses and he realized their upkeep is expensive and could become a financial burden.


“I also understand about dreams,” Metts said. “Most of the dreams in my life have come true, but sometimes things just happen, whether it’s beyond our control or within our control.”

“The bottom line is, there were 26 horses, and for whatever reason they wound up on 10 acres of property,” he said. “There’s certainly not adequate grass there.”

Metts said he was a lifelong resident of East Montgomery County and was familiar with the property in question. Based on the majority of the photos and testimony presented, the judge awarded the horses to the SPCA, along with $7,470 in reimbursement for expenses.

Pct. 4 Constable Kenneth “Rowdy” Hayden said the case was a sad situation for the horses.

“It’s unfortunate when we have to seize livestock, but when animals are suffering and their owners are unable to correct the situation for whatever reason, we have no choice,” Constable Hayden said. “Mr. Svoboda had more than one opportunity to get into compliance.”

Deputy Smith said as the economy has worsened, the number of neglect cases has grown, along with the number of large animals abandoned.


“Hay costs $9 per bale, feed costs about $10 per 50 lb. sack,” Deputy Smith said. “People lose their jobs and with the average horse eating 8 to 10 lbs of food and a half bale of hay daily, they just can’t afford it.”

It is a crime to abandon a horse, and some of the horses have caused major accidents injuring or killing people and horses. Two horses have died on were seriously injured recently on area roadways. People should instead contact the SPCA, the Houston Humane Society or any equine rescue organization. Those organizations will take the horses, no questions asked, get them healthy and find carefully screened adoptive homes for them.

“If you have a problem and can’t take care of your horses, please notify somebody,” Smith said.

(Houston Chronicle - June 23, 2010)

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Huskies maul, kill Dachshund

MAINE -- A Boston Avenue woman was charged with keeping dangerous dogs on Friday, two days after her huskies mauled and killed a dachshund on nearby Malo Street.

Police said a 9-year-old girl was walking the dachshund Wednesday afternoon when it was attacked by the bigger dogs, which were also being walked in that neighborhood.

Police said the owner of the huskies, 42-year-old Christine Duplacey, was unable to pull her dogs away in time to thwart the [attack].

By the time the [attack] was over, the dachshund had suffered fatal injuries. The mother of the girl walking the dachshund suffered bites from her own dog after trying to break up the [deadly attack]. Police said Duplacey had blood on her hands but did not appear to have been bitten.

Police who went to the scene called for help from Animal Control Officer Wendell Strout. Duplacey was charged the day of the attack with keeping unlicensed and unvaccinated dogs. Information about the attack was sent to the District Attorney’s Office for review.

Following a decision from that office, police on Friday charged Duplacey with keeping dangerous animals. The case is scheduled for court July 21.

The attack occurred near the corner of Malo and Pearl streets, police said. All three dogs were on leashes.

Reached at home Friday night, Strout said it appears the [Huskies attacked the Dachshund] after their paths crossed on Malo Street. One Husky [was the main aggressor] and then the other joined the [attack].

"When you have even two dogs together like that, there's a bit of a pack mentality," Strout said.

While the case is pending, the huskies were placed under a temporary muzzle order, meaning they are required to be muzzled whenever they are out of the home. They were also placed under 10 days of quarantine during which they will be observed for the possibility of rabies.

(Sun Journal - June 19, 2010)

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Sheriff's deputy shoots, kills vicious dog in Flagstaff

ARIZONA -- A Coconino County sheriff's deputy was forced to shoot and kill a vicious dog in Flagstaff Wednesday morning.

At approximately 8:40 a.m. Wednesday, a sheriff's deputy responded to a report that a woman was being attacked by a vicious dog as she was standing in a road.

According to Gerry Blair with the Coconino County Sheriff's Office, the victim told the deputy that she was walking on Jupiter Lane with her dog on a leash and pushing a stroller with her 3-year-old child in it.

As she passed a home, a dog that she described as a pit bull ran out of the unfenced yard and approached her and her child in a very aggressive manner, Blair said in a news release. The dog reportedly lunged at the stroller, bit at it and locked its jaws on it.

To protect her child, the woman hit the dog with a metal rod she was carrying and eventually the dog released its grip on the stroller and ran back on the porch of the home.

The deputy attempted to make contact with the dog's owner, but due to the dog's aggressive behavior he was not able to safely enter the yard. Blair said at one point, the dog charged the deputy and he had to run back to his vehicle for protection.

The deputy obtained a phone number for the owner's place of employment and made contact with her. She told the deputy she would not be able to come home until after 3 p.m.

The deputy asked dispatch to send an animal management officer to the residence to tranquilize the dog.

When several neighbors who were familiar with the dog arrived, the dog left the porch and aggressively ran at them as they were standing in the roadway.

Blair said the deputy placed himself between the dog and the two bystanders. As the dog continued to aggressively charge the deputy, he was forced to shoot and kill the advancing animal.

(Arizona Family - June 17, 2010)

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Man sentenced for kicking kitten to death after trying to feed it to python

ARIZONA -- A 30-year-old Mesa man who kicked a 6-week-old kitten to death after trying to feed it to a python snake last year, was sentenced to three years of supervised probation on Friday.

Jeremy Tuffly pleaded guilty to one felony count of animal cruelty in Maricopa County Superior Court last month.

Jeremy Tuffly

According to the sheriff's office, the incident was shot in February 2004.

The video shows a smiling Tuffly in a daylight shot repeatedly tossing the gray-and-white kitten into a plastic storage box containing a python.

The snake doesn't seem all that interested in the cat until Tuffly throws it directly onto the back of the snake.


The kitten kept running back toward Tuffly as if he were going to rescue it, only to be tossed right back onto the snake.

The video then switches to a nighttime shot and shows Tuffly pick up the kitten from the grass and drop-kicking it like a football it into the street. A man in the shot can be seen flinching as the kitten sails into the street. The kitten died from its injuries.


According to the state's response to Hadder's motion, Tuffly's father-in-law, Timothy Hedgpeth, discovered the original 8-millimeter tape when he was helping his daughter, Christina Tuffly, move.

Hedgpeth was sickened by the video and distraught over hearing his daughter crying on the video, deputy county attorney Anthony Church wrote.


Christina Tuffly told a sheriff's investigator that she shot the video after her husband threatened to kill her and kicked her in the ribs, for refusing at first. The couple's divorce became final in October.

Hedgpeth took the original to Jerry's Video Transfer in Mesa and had it reproduced in its entirety except for the sound. He turned it over to the sheriff's office, according to Church.

(East Valley Tribune - June 14, 2010)

Dog buried alive suffered from long-term neglect, vet says

OREGON -- A dog that was buried alive suffered from long-term neglect, but showed no obvious signs of the cancer its Forest Grove owners cited as the reason they tried to "euthanize" the animal, authorities said today.

Susan Johnson and her father Hyrum Long
The owners -- Hyrum Long, 75, and his daughter, Susan Johnson, 50, -- were arrested Monday night on animal abuse charges. They were held overnight in the Washington County Jail and released on their own recognizance this morning, said Sgt. David Thompson, spokesman for the Washington County Sheriff's Office.

"I done a bad thing and I will take responsibility for it," Long said at his house today. "I want to apologize to people."

[Does he want to apologize to the dog?]

One news channel blurred the photos

The horrific reality

Forest Grove police were called to Long's home in the 2200 block of Laurel Street on Friday afternoon after neighbors reported hearing a dog howling, said Capt. Aaron Ashbaugh, spokesman for the Forest Grove Police Department.

Police found Molly, a badly injured yellow Labrador mix, partly buried in Long's backyard.

Ashbaugh said the animal's head was sticking out of the ground.

A large cushion and a log was placed over the animal, but was later removed by neighbors who called police.

Long and Johnson returned home and told police they had struck the dog in the head with a hammer in what they thought was a thrifty way to euthanize it. Long and Johnson told police they thought the dog was dead when they buried it in the yard and went out to dinner.

[Another article says "Long and Johnson dug a hole and buried Molly up to her neck in the yard in what they later said was an attempt to keep blood from getting everywhere.  They then put a pillow under their dog’s head and hit her repeatedly in the head with a hammer.  Then Long and Johnson piled a log over Molly’s face and went out to dinner."

They didn't have enough money to pay for a vet to put the dog down, but they DID have money to go out and enjoy a nice dinner after beating their dog in the head with a hammer.]

 The dog was taken to the Oregon Humane Society for emergency treatment, but was euthanized because of its head injury, said David Lytle, a Humane Society spokesman.

Humane Society spokesperson Barbara Baugnon told the press that Molly “couldn’t lift her head but her eyes were following people around the room, obviously she was suffering. It’s one of the worst cases I've ever heard of.”

Long told police he tried to put the dog down because he believed she had cancer. A spokesman for the Oregon Human Society said Dr. Kris Otteman, examined the dog's body after it was euthanized and found no obvious sign of the disease. However, the vet said tests would be needed to make sure.

Molly, during happier times

"She was suffering an extreme case of long-term neglect," Otteman said, adding that Molly also had evidence of "a long-term lack of nutrition."

Police said earlier that veterinarians believed Molly hadn't eaten for days prior to her death because her stomach was empty. When she was examined at necropsy, Molly weighed 56 pounds. Dogs her size typically weigh between 70 and 90 pounds when they are fit, said Lytle.

Lytle said the dog also had "a terrible skin condition - a loss of hair all over its body."

(The Oregonian - June 14, 2010)

Friday, June 11, 2010

Ohio: Grand jury indicts Nicholas Reynolds, 17, and Marcus Miller, 18, of torture death of baby alpaca

OHIO -- A Butler County grand jury has indicted two Middletown teens accused of stealing a three-month-old baby alpaca from a farm, dragging it crying from its mother, taking turns beating the baby animal to death and then putting it back in their truck and dumping his broken and battered body at an abandoned farm.


Seventeen-year-old Nicholas Reynolds (aka Nick Reynolds) and 18-year-old Marcus Miller are both charged with five counts each of animal cruelty, grand theft, breaking and entering, vandalism and tampering with evidence from the January incident.

The alpaca, named Masterpiece, was worth about $8,000.

 

Miller was 17-years-old at the time of arrest.

Both teens were initially charged as juveniles, but a judge ruled last month they should be tried as adults.

Stacie Mullins, 23, was also involved in the torture death of this baby animal say police.


 

(WCPO - June 10, 2010)

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Milan police repeatedly taser pit bull that attacked small dog

MICHIGAN -- A Milan man could be cited for violating the city's animal ordinance after police say his pit bull got loose and mauled a neighbor’s dog, which later died.

Officers were called to the 600 block of Allen Road on May 12 when a neighbor saw the pit bull roaming free at about 2 p.m., reports said. Police arrived just as Marilyn Gilson let out her black Cairn Terrier and saw the pit bull bolt toward them across the street.

The pit bull bit Gilson’s dog, “Tyler,” on the back and violently shook the 14-pound animal back and forth as Gilson tried to separate them.

Gilson’s husband, Michael, was checking e-mail and said he heard screams outside.

“That dog charged right over, grabbed hold of his neck and shook side to side. The police were there but it was just too late,” he said.

An officer ordered Marilyn Gilson back and fired his taser gun, but one probe missed, reports said.

He reloaded and fired again, subduing the pit bull long enough for Gilson to pick Tyler up.

Reports said the officer fired his taser two more times as the dog tried to go after Gilson and her pet on the porch. The dog eventually ran behind a home across the street.

Tyler was bleeding from wounds on his back and mouth and was rushed to the nearest veterinarian, Gilson said. The dog was bandaged and stabilized, but his wounds were so severe he was taken to the Animal Emergency Clinic in Ann Arbor.

Veterinarians said he suffered a collapsed lung, three broken ribs, and lost his canine teeth, according to reports. After exploratory surgery, Gilson said veterinarians gave them a bleak prognosis and Tyler, 10, was euthanized.

Gilson said his two 6-year-old grandchildren were with them during the incident, and one witnessed the attack.

Police spoke with the pit bull’s owner, who said he let “Hooch” out to urinate and must have fallen asleep, reports said.

The owner - identified as Terry Bell - said it was the third time his dog bit another dog, but was the first incident in five years.

[Based on this information, I think a Reckless Endangerment charge would have been appropriate.]

He could not explain how the dog got out of the back yard and was informed that city ordinance requires dogs to be leashed outdoors. An animal control officer with the Monroe County Sheriff’s Department was called, and Bell signed over his rights. Hooch was euthanized.

Bell could not be reached for comment.

Milan police forwarded the report to the city prosecutor for review, and a decision is pending.
Gilson said the neighbor apologized in person, which they appreciated - but he and his wife are left with a $1,700 veterinarian bill and the pain of losing their pet.

“It’s just like losing a family member,” Gilson said. “We grew really close to him and it’s just quiet around here now.”

(AnnArbor.com - June 4, 2010)

Friday, June 4, 2010

Utah: Dayra Miller charged with animal cruelty after her dog found starving and covered in maggots

UTAH -- Salt Lake County Animal Services investigators have cited the owner of a dog that was neglected so badly it had maggots in its hind quarters.

The Old English Sheepdog yelped loudly Friday as veterinarians tried to move him.

"The dog has burns on its side, from its hip to the middle of its back," says Anne Davis, with the Animal Advocacy Alliance of Utah.

Davis says those injuries are from the dog being forced to lie in its own filth.

The dog also has a hole in its hind end that is filled with maggots.


"This dog is in really bad condition," Davis says.

A woman returned to the Holladay neighborhood where she had lived and found the dog. She took it to the veterinarian.

Davis says the woman was also connected to the alliance, and Davis contacted her.

"It's going to require a lot of antibiotics, and it's not a sure cure," Davis says. It's going to take him a long time."

Lt. Chris Klekas, with Salt Lake County Animal Services, says the dog's owner Dayra Miller was issued a criminal citation for animal cruelty, which equates to a class B misdemeanor.

Miller complained that it wasn't her fault that this dog was lying there in her yard, slowly being eaten to death by maggots and starving to death. She says the dog is her boyfriend's and that he should be the one responsible. So if it was your boyfriend's child chained in the backyard, covered in maggots and starving to death, you think you don't have to do anything about it? Moron.

The Animal Advocacy Alliance of Utah is setting up a fund to help pay for the dog's medical expenses. If you'd like to help, you can contact the alliance via e-mail at info@henryslaw.com or visit their website, henryslaw.com.

(KSL - June 4, 2010)

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

State trooper charged with cruelty after catching neighbor's kitten and shoots it to death

NORTH CAROLINA -- A state trooper who wanted to stop animals from climbing on his vehicles trapped his neighbor’s 5-month-old kitten and shot it to death.

Former North Carolina Trooper Shawn C. Houston was charged in October with cruelty to animals and injury to real property, both misdemeanors, according to court records. The Highway Patrol dismissed him in January.

RIP Rowdy
Houston, 39, declined to discuss his firing this week. But in an appeal of his dismissal filed May 10, the former trooper contends that he was treated unfairly and that he deserves his job back.

The court filing says Houston was bothered by something climbing on vehicles parked at his home in the small community of Granite Falls, N.C. He had also caught a glimpse of “an unknown animal” that jumped out at him “during the hours of darkness,” according to his appeal.

The trooper, who said he was concerned for the safety of his three young sons, baited a steel trap with ham and captured a small domestic cat. When Houston tried to remove the animal, which did not have tags, it scratched him, according to his appeal. Then he killed it.

“The petitioner did not know if the cat had rabies or any other disease,” the summary filed by Houston says. “The cat was hissing and growling at petitioner and petitioner shot the cat.”

Next-door neighbor Andrea Evans said the cat’s name was Rowdy. The kitten, which was mostly white and orange, was a birthday present to her son.

Evans said Rowdy could be mischievous, as kittens sometimes are. But the trooper’s tale of a wild and scary beast doesn’t square with the demeanor of her family’s kitty, she said.

“He was really very sweet,” Evans said. “He was never aggressive, even at the vet.”

Rowdy slept inside the house at night but was let out to play in the mornings. The Evanses and the Houstons live in a rural area, a couple of miles from the closest stoplight. Evans said people largely keep to themselves.

When Rowdy didn’t come home, the Evans family trekked around the neighborhood to see whether anyone had seen him. When she learned what Houston had done, Evans called the Alexander County Sheriff’s Department.

A deputy responded and interviewed the off-duty trooper, before telling Evans there wasn’t much he could do.

Evans then went to speak with a county magistrate, who issued a criminal summons against the trooper on the two misdemeanor charges. The value of the Evans family’s “injured real property” was estimated at less than $200, court records show.

Evans testified against the trooper at his December trial.

Shawn C. Houston

She said Houston’s sons had played with Rowdy, and she doubts his story that he mistook the cat for a stray.

“We played with him out in the yard every day,” Evans said. “I don’t know how he could have missed it.”

Records show District Court Judge Carlton Terry Jr. granted Houston a prayer for judgment continued , a legal finding of guilt that does not impose any penalty. The trooper paid $125 in court costs.

The state Highway Patrol dismissed Houston on Jan. 22, according to state records. He had worked as a trooper about three years.

Sgt. Jeff Gordon, a spokesman for the patrol, said he could not comment, citing state personnel privacy rules. A hearing on Houston’s appeal is tentatively scheduled for August.

Evans said they got the dead kitten back from Houston the day of the shooting but have had little interaction with him since. The children of the two families no longer play together.

Evans, her husband and children buried Rowdy on their property after a modest funeral. To this day, she said, Houston has not apologized.

“It’s been rough on us, it really has been,” she said.

(Norwalk Reflector - June 1, 2010)