Thursday, August 28, 1986

Florida: Did Seminole County hold auditions for the most idiotic jurors in town? Despite first-hand testimony by a witness who saw him yank the legs off a rabbit and kill it, these morons said Brian Oct, 20, didn't do it

FLORIDA -- An Altamonte Springs man accused of tearing off the hind legs of a rabbit named Peter was found not guilty Wednesday of animal cruelty.

Brian Oct, 20, denied a woman's story that he "yanked" off the legs of the frightened animal Feb. 14 and held them up "like he was proud of it."

Oct said he had seen a cat 'playing' with a rabbit behind a laundry room at his apartment complex on the day the cruelty supposedly occurred, but that he never touched the rabbit.

A jury of three men and three women deliberated 70 minutes before returning the verdict in Seminole County Court.

Three men and three woman who have their heads up their asses. Just remember, it was a jury in Florida that turned Casey Anthony loose.

"When I was charged I was very upset and angry," Oct said. "I was scared because I had been charged with something I had nothing to do with. I am happy that justice has prevailed."

Susan Heath, a housekeeper at Monterey North Apartments, testified that she saw Oct kill the rabbit as he stood outside with two men. She said the men then yelled that they wanted the rabbit's feet.

Heath said she recognized the animal as Peter, one of four young rabbits that had been living in bushes at the apartment complex. Heath said she had fed the bunnies and given them names.

She reported Oct to police and the Seminole County Humane Society. Oct was charged with cruelty in May. Two other men, Barry Reeves and Mark Eggestine, also were charged but Seminole prosecutors dropped the counts.

Eggestine, who lived with Oct in February, testified that he had scared away a cat eating a dead rabbit and took the rabbit's hind legs to his apartment. He said he later discarded the legs.

Assistant Seminole State Attorney Ian Gilden told jurors that Oct had tortured and mutilated the rabbit and that laws protect all animals, including wild ones.

Oct's attorney, assistant Seminole County public defender David Ege, said that while mutilation of a rabbit is "horrible, it's just as horrible to convict someone of doing something they didn't do."

According to testimony, Oct keeps two kittens, hamsters and fish as pets.

Helen Wolk, president of the humane society, said she could not recall a similar incident in Seminole County and said she was disappointed by the verdict.

(Orlando Sentinel - August 28, 1986)

Friday, August 1, 1986

Florida: Deputy Shoots 2 Pit Bulls After Attack

FLORIDA -- A Palm Beach County sheriff's deputy shot and killed one pit bull dog and wounded another Thursday. The dogs had attacked one man and chased a deputy sheriff onto the trunk of his patrol car, authorities said.

Chuck Pipes was bitten on the back and behind the right knee by the pit bulls before the dogs brought him to the ground. He was treated and released from John F. Kennedy Memorial Hospital in Atlantis.

Pipes, who lives in the 3800 block of Chickasha Road, west of Lantana, and a friend, Michael Williams, of Greenacres City, were in Pipes' Seminole Manor house about 6 p.m. when they heard a child screaming.

Williams said he saw two pit bulls running around a boy, who appeared to be about 12 years old, in the yard next door. He said he chased the dogs away. The boy was not injured.

The dogs ran past several children and across the street, toward the house in which they live, Williams said.

"I wouldn't have even got gotten involved at all," Pipes said, "except for the kids. These dogs were going wild and there were a lot of kids around."

Pipes, meanwhile, ran across the street to keep the dogs from attacking the children. As soon as he reached the south side of Chickasha Road, the dogs turned and ran at him, Pipes said.

Pipes said the smaller of the two dogs circled behind him and bit him on the back. The older dog bit him behind his right knee and brought him to the ground.

Williams said he got the dogs off his friend.

"It was frightening," Pipes said. "They really use teamwork. It happened so fast, I had no idea what was going on. It`s almost embarrassing, because I`m used to taking care of myself. But I really felt like there was nothing I could do."

Deputies Brian Dunne and Richard Dobard arrived at 6:12 p.m., six minutes after the Sheriff`s Office was called, said Sheriff`s Office spokesman Mike McNamee.

Williams said the smaller dog rushed toward Dobard, forcing the deputy to jump on the trunk of his car. The dog then turned on Dunne, who killed the animal with one shot from his .38-caliber service revolver.

The older dog then rushed Dunne, McNamee said.

Dunne shot the dog twice with hollow-point ammunition, with the first shot passing through the animal. Afterward, the dog ran around the side of his owner's house and jumped through a screened window.

Williams saw the bullets hit the older dog, "and it didn't even flinch," he said. "The dog didn't flinch one bit until it was hit the second time."

Bonnie Jones, who said she owned the older dog, said she was not home when the attack occurred. She said that the dogs must have broken through a window screen to get out.

"They wouldn't hurt a fly," said Jones, who was given a misdemeanor ticket for violating the leash law. "Maybe they came running at the officer, but they wouldn't hurt him. They are around kids all the time."

Pipes and Williams praised the deputies' quick performance.

"They were both extremely professional," Pipes said. "They first cleared the street of the kids and then worried about the dogs. They both did an excellent job."

The wounded dog was taken to a veterinarian by an animal control officer.

(Sun Sentinel - August 1, 1986)