Monday, November 30, 2015

Illinois: Keaonnie Hardison, 19, charged with felony animal cruelty

ILLINOIS -- Other than her arrest information, I couldn't find a news article about the charges.

Name:  Keaonnie Hardison
DOB: 10/27/1996
Weight: 140
Height: 5'10"
Date of arrest: 11/30/2015
Age at arrest: 19
Arresting agency: Cook County Sheriff, IL
Bail amount: $10,000

  1. AGG CRUELTY TO ANIMALS/2ND (510 ILCS 70/3.02)
  2. AGG CRUELTY TO ANIMALS/2ND (510 ILCS 70/3.02)

The following details are provided for the convenience of trained Court Advocates, who are authorized to act as Court Advocates through Safe Humane Chicago.

The information contained here is from initial arrest summaries, court proceedings, court advocate reports, and other sources.

AUGUST 2, 2016 (Tuesday)
  —-HARDISON, Keaonnie DOB 102796 (15CR1634002, HY403136)
    charges(2): 2x agg cruelty (501ILCS70.0/3.02a)
    arrest: Beat 05xx, 105xx S Maryland, 01Sep15
    arresting officers: CPD ACT & District 005 (Units 0512, 0531)
    animals: 2 emaciated dogs (A136020 impounded 30Aug, A136111 impounded 31Aug)
             signed over? by HARDISON but arrestee SHURRON HAWKINS claims at least one
    history: 22Oct15, 27Oct, 30Nov, 07Jan16, 22Feb new PD appointed, 25Mar, 16Jun
    note: charges under 15121939801: 2x cruel treatment, 2x owner duties
    note2: using PD; 30Nov15 $10k I-bond, in EM program

Bradford County man, Simon Wickey, 32, charged with animal cruelty

MICHIGAN -- A Bradford County man has been charged with cruelty to animals after Pennsylvania State Police say he beat his neighbor's dog.

Simon S. Wickey, 32, of Baptist Hill Road in Columbia Township, was charged by state police at Towanda with cruelty to animals, a misdemeanor, as a result of two incidents in November.

Troopers say on two occasions, on or about Nov. 9 and 21, Wickey traveled to the home of his neighbor when the occupant wasn't home and severely beat the leashed dog.

Wickey waited both times until the victim wasn't home to commit the crimes, and caused permanent disfigurement to the dog by striking its eyes, state police allege.

Wickey was arraigned on a cruelty to animals charge through District Court in Troy. In addition, the victim is seeking restitution for substantial veterinary bills.

(Star Gazette - Nov 30, 2015)

Ohio: Ionel Jura, 56, found guilty of abusing 8 goats in Boston Township

OHIO --  A jury found a Stow man guilty of neglecting and abusing eight goats and a calf behind his Boston Township car repair shop.

Ionel Jura, 56, was found guilty of nine misdemeanor counts of animal cruelty and one count of allowing an animal to roam at-large. Two animal cruelty charges were dismissed.

The two-day trial started on Wednesday and ended about 5 p.m. Monday. There was no court on Thursday or Friday because of the holiday weekend.  The jury of five women and three men reached a verdict after about 90 minutes of deliberation.

Stow Municipal Court Judge Lisa Coates then sentenced Jura to five years of probation, 150 hours of community service with the Humane Society of Greater Akron, and to take an animal-care class. He will not be allowed to own farm animals for five years.

Jura will also have to pay a $750 fine and $1,200 in restitution to Happy Trails Animal Sanctuary in Ravenna. Happy Trails cared for the goats and calf after humane agents seized them during a June investigation.

Peninsula police received a tip June 14 that a calf was wandering on the side of Akron Cleveland Road near Jura's Boston Car Service. Police found the calf and kept it from wandering into the busy road, police reports say.

The officers knew the calf belonged to Jura because of 27 previous calls over two years involving roaming animals at Jura's business and a 2014 incident when one of Jura's goats was struck by a car, according to police reports.

Jura previously said he believes someone tampered with the calf's chain.


Officers also said there were signs of neglect. Investigators noted the calf needed veterinary care because it had been castrated with rubber bands, according to court records.

The Humane Society launched an investigation. A vet found the calf needed care and the goats were malnourished. Investigators also found that Jura never provided proper food, water or shelter for the goats.

Humane agents seized the animals June 15. There was no water, food or shelter on a particularly muggy day, investigators said in court records.

( - Nov 30, 2015)

Arizona: Kevin Cobin, 25, arrested and charged with animal cruelty

ARIZONA -- No other information about this case could be found.

Name: Kevin John Cobin
Sex: Male
Race: White
Height: 5'7"
Weight: 145
DOB: 05/29/1990
Age at arrest: 25
Booking date: 11/30/2015
Booked by: Maricopa County Sheriff Office


Sunday, November 29, 2015

Kangaroo escapes, goes on a walkabout in North Ridgeville

OHIO -- Police got an unusual call Friday morning when someone spotted a kangaroo hopping his way down Lorain Road.

After determining that the caller had not been sampling the holiday punch, police found Foster the kangaroo taking a bit of a walkabout.

The police officer knew the 'roo and knew he belonged to Candice and Joe Hanna, who lived nearby.

"We got a call and were asked if our kangaroo was missing around 6 a.m.," said Candice. "Sure enough he was not in his heated barn, though we can't figure out how he got away. He could not have gotten over the eight-foot-high fence."

They retrieved Foster, a three-year-old kangaroo, who was just quietly standing with police waiting to be picked up.

"He's very scared, he's still upset," said Candice Friday afternoon. "When kangaroos get scared they sweat a lot from their arms. They sweat so much that they actually get dehydrated, Foster's still upset about his little adventure."

Candice and her husband run Little Big Farm, a 10-acre retreat and home for animals they have rescued and nursed back to health.

She said Foster came to them when he was a baby.

"He was young, too young to have been separated from his mother," she said. "We bottle-fed him, I carried him around in a pouch. He was potty-trained and lived inside the house for more than a year. He's a sweet guy, very lovable. We built a habitat for him in the barn, with heat so he feels at home."

The couple has a menagerie of animals at the farm, each with a hard-luck story. They have a negai antelope; a Brazilian Indu cow; a humped, south Asian bull called a zebu; many different kinds of goats and a variety of horses from giant Clydesdales to three-foot-tall mini-horses.

"Everyone gets along with everyone else," she said. "If not, we send them to another place to live. Every animal here is friendly and content."

She said she was pleased that the North Ridgeville police officer knew them and knew where the kangaroo lived.

"The officers come over here with their families to see the animals," she said. "We're glad he knew to call us as soon as he recognized Foster."

( - Nov 27, 2015)

Owner leaves scene after pit bull attacks couple's dog

CANADA -- A local couple is looking for answers after they and their dog were attacked by a pit bull in Oliver’s dog park on October 27.

Colleen and Steve Holmes say a pit bull viciously attacked their dog Chloe, unprovoked, and that its owner did nothing to stop it. Even worse, the owner left with her dog after the incident without so much as a “sorry.”

Around 9:30 a.m. the Holmes brought Chloe, a two-year-old Wheaten Terrier, to the off-leash dog park (in the ball diamonds area).

According to Colleen, things took a nasty and frightening turn almost immediately.

She explained that when she and her husband arrived at the park they saw a middle-aged woman with dark hair and a pit bull at the far end. She didn’t think anything of it until she opened the gate to the park and the dog took off towards them, not barking or growling or snarling; just running. Fast.

Without hesitation it leapt at Chloe, digging its teeth into her face and head, nearly taking out her eye.

“He just grabbed her right away, right by the head—no warning, no nothing. It was pretty scary,” Colleen recalled.

That’s when Steve jumped in, grabbing the dog by the collar and ripping it away from Chloe. He doesn’t remember exactly how, but somewhere along the way he ended up with three puncture wounds in his forearm.

“I was really afraid for [Chloe] so I just reached in and when I reached across he kind of got me,” Steve said, demonstrating his actions with both hands. “I was able to pull him off, but he managed to get me.”

The couple said that as the attack was happening the dark-haired woman began screaming at them, swearing and berating them for not looking before they entered the park.

Steve said once he managed to separate the two dogs Colleen took Chloe back to the car, and he began approaching the woman, but she took her dog and left the park, not even checking to see if Chloe or the Holmes were okay.

Because she was too far away neither of them got a look at her face, and because they were still somewhat in shock they didn’t think to follow her or take down her licence plate number.

Now, the couple is left with more than $300 in vet bills for Chloe’s injuries and the knowledge that a dangerous dog is still “on the loose.”

“It’s kind of frustrating because we can’t identify this person,” Steve said.

Colleen said she has been talking with other dog park users and there is one pit bull at the park from time-to-time that has caused trouble on other occasions.

Almost anyone you talk to at the park seems to know of the dog, and vaguely recognize its owner,  but no one seems to know who they are or where they live.

On November 13 Marion and Gary Trimble were at the park with their dog. They say they had a run-in with an aggressive pit bull whose owner wouldn’t let them into the park until his dog was finished.

Another owner said he had seen the pit bull “playing way too hard” with some other dogs a while back, and that others have had “scary” run-ins with it.

Diane Vaykovich, Oliver’s corporate officer, confirmed someone did file a complaint of a dog attack within the last few weeks, but they did not leave their name or identify the victims or dog owner.

No other recent dog attacks have been reported, she said.

Carol Sheridan, manager of Oliver Parks and Recreation, said that while there have been a few dog attacks in the dog park over the years, her department hasn’t had any recent complaints.

She said there has been some attacks in the past few years, and that when it happens victims should report the attack to a bylaw officer.

It’s been more than two weeks since the Holmes were attacked, and Chloe is recovering nicely from her injuries. She had some drainage tubes, a cone and stitches for a while, but Colleen said aside from a few bare patches of fur you would hardly know she was recently attacked.

But Colleen is still a little shaken.

“It just stays with you,” she said. “I’m pretty nervous now when I’m walking. Anytime I see a dog loose I just about panic.”

She said she carries her camera around with her now, hoping to catch a glimpse of the dog owner so she can snap a picture and maybe have her brought to justice.

“I’ve got people looking too, most people in the park are looking for this lady. Because no one wants this to happen to their dog,” she said.

(Oliver Chronicle - Nov 20, 2015)

FDNY Saves Two Cats From Glendale Fire

NEW YORK -- Glendale residents were startled at approximately 10 a.m. this past grey Sunday morning by a one-alarm fire at 80-15 88th St near Union Turnpike.

Two residents of 81st Avenue saw the flames and heard the plea of the home’s second floor resident, stating the house was on fire.


Two neighbors kicked down the door for the first floor apartment to investigate if anyone had succumbed to the smoke. The two neighbors reported that they couldn’t find anyone and left after opening the door to the kitchen and black smoke billowed out.

Firefighters on scene rescued two cats from the fire and were able to rehabilitate them with small breathing units on the sidewalk after they passed out from smoke.

The FDNY press department reported that they received the call at 10:28 a.m., 12 units and 60 fire fighters responded and the fire was under control by 11:05 a.m. They also reported only one minor injury to a civilian.

According to the FDNY, no cause has been determined and the fire is under investigation.

(Queens Tribune - Nov 25, 2015)

Justin Rourke, 32, sentenced for murdering man and his pit bull over dispute about stolen pit bull puppy

KANSAS -- A Wichita man who shot another man during a dispute over the ownership of a pit bull puppy will serve 31 months in prison, according to the Sedgwick County District Attorney’s Office.

Justin Rourke, 32, also was ordered to pay $12,330.06 in restitution in connection with the June 11 shooting death of Roman Padilla, 41.

Police have said Rourke pulled a handgun and shot Padilla and a dog in the 500 block of South Edwards after he and others went to a house there to retrieve the pit bull puppy, which they thought had been stolen. Padilla later died at a Wichita hospital.

"The argument turned physical. Police say the 41-year-old went to get a baseball bat and confronted the 50-year-old man. 
"That is when a 32-year-old man, identified as Justin Rourke, allegedly got a handgun and fired one shot hitting the 41-year-old man in the stomach. He was transported to the hospital where he died. 
"At that point, a second dog, also a pit bull, ran out of the home. As it charged towards the three, Rourke allegedly shot the dog killing it."

Rourke’s defense attorney, in a court document, said Rourke fired in self-defense after Padilla charged at him with a baseball bat. He turned himself into police after the shooting and pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter in August.

Originally prosecutors charged him with second-degree murder, animal cruelty and aggravated assault.

The sentence was handed down Thursday by Sedgwick County District Judge Terry Pullman, according to a notation in court records.

Rourke, who maintains his innocence, had asked to be placed on probation.

(Wichita Eagle - Nov 23, 2015)

Teen fined for phony animal cruelty report

CANADA -- A 17-year-old was fined $1,130 after pleading guilty to a false report of animal cruelty.

The Welland and District SPCA reported that a youth who cannot be identified under provisions of the Youth Criminal Justice Act, contact the agency in July reporting that a man had repeatedly kicked a small dog and dragged it back into a home. An SPCA investigation determined that the allegations were false.

“False complaints are taken very seriously,” said Welland and District Humane Society executive director John Greer. “Not only does it waste the limited resources of the Welland and District SPCA, but it also diverts needed attention away from legitimate cases of animal cruelty where animals could be suffering from serious harm or neglect.”

The teenager was charged with knowingly making a false report of an animal in distress, and pleaded guilty in Provincial Court earlier this week.

(Well and Tribune - Nov 27, 2015)

Heat-stressed dog rescued from car

NEW ZEALAND -- A heat-distressed dog was rescued by firefighters from a car in Dunedin yesterday.

University of Otago student Jay Song (24), of Dunedin, said he was walking to a friend's house in North Dunedin about noon when he saw a Jack Russell alone in a parked station wagon in Park St.

All windows in the car were closed, he said.

On returning home an hour later, Mr Song saw the dog was still in the car, tied up in the back of the car and lying down.

"It was definitely dehydrated.''

Photo: Otago Daily Times
He called 111.

Station Officer Brent Key, of Willowbank Station, said the firefighters discovered the car was unlocked and gave the dog water to drink and aired out the "hot'' car. Soon after, the "upset'' dog owner showed up and told the crew he thought he had left a window down.

Mr Key said if the car had been locked, the firefighters would have called the SPCA, and if an inspector had confirmed the dog was distressed, they would have smashed a window.

SPCA Otago executive officer Sophie McSkimming said if the temperature was 30degC outside, the temperature inside a car parked in the shade, with the windows slightly open, would be 39degC within 10 minutes.

"In half an hour, it will go up another 10degC.''

On a hot day, dogs should be left at home rather than being left in a parked car, even for a few minutes.

If someone finds a heat-distressed dog in a parked car, they should phone SPCA Otago on (03) 473-8252 or (0800) 682-467 FREE.

(Otago Daily Times - Nov 27, 2015)

Horse owner speaks out about neglect by Anne Shumate at Somerset farm

VIRGINIA -- A stallion of the Lipizzan breed, Conversano II Aloha II, was trained to the highest level in Grand Prix dressage and ridden by owner Jean Thornton for 20 years.

That is, until she sold him to Somerset farm owner Anne Shumate, who promised to care for the aging horse while riding him enough to keep him healthy.

Thornton called her prized stallion “Lou” for short and rode him to a United States Dressage Federation gold medal, 25 National Grand championships, eight National Reserve championships, 35 regional championship awards and more than 100 first place awards, she says.

When she learned of the neglect and animal hoarding case at Peaceable Farm, she immediately booked a plane ticket from her Orlando home to Virginia to learn the fate of the award-winning horse she sold.

Poor Lou, left to starve, has never been found.

She posted fliers in Charlottesville offering a $1,000 reward for information that led to finding Lou, her “soulmate,” and used social media as a way to garner clues from people all over the country. She received more than 70 messages on Facebook.

On October 22 she drove to the farm and came face-to-face with Shumate, who said the stallion was fine and at a nearby farm, which she refused to name, according to Thornton. Shumate hid inside a horse trailer on her property and Thornton says she talked with Shumate “through the bars” of the trailer before Shumate realized who Thornton was and eventually came out of the trailer. She says Shumate seemed nervous and scared.

This was just three days after the investigation of Peaceable Farm—where 85 live horses were surrendered or seized from the property and seven were found dead—began. Officials say Shumate owned upward of 200 horses at one time.

“Three of them were still locked in their stalls after having eaten the walls,” Thornton says she learned about three of the dead horses. But there was still no trace of Lou.

This is a 17 year old Saddlebred named, Big Red. He is
one of the lucky ones to make it out alive.

On the night of October 22, Thornton heard from Vermont resident Elena Collins that Shumate was previously in the process of buying another horse—one that belonged to a friend of Collins—and Shumate was supposed to pick it up on October 11. Coming on October 12  instead, Shumate told Collins and the horse’s owner that she was late because her grand prix stallion had passed the day before. For this reason, Thornton says she believes her beloved Lou died October 11.

Collins could not be reached for comment.

Though Gentle Giants, a horse rescue nonprofit out of Mt. Airy, Maryland, visited Peaceable Farm in mid-August and took photos of Lou standing in what Thornton calls “a mountain of beautiful hay,” she believes this was the first nourishment Lou had been given since Shumate removed him from Tommy Doyle’s farm in June and brought the horse to her own.

Doyle says he housed several horses for Shumate for about six months and that she was “respectable” and proved that she cared for her horses.

“You would never know anything was wrong,” he says, until the horses needed vaccinations and Shumate didn’t want Doyle to take care of the veterinary work, which he does for every other client.

“When I told her the horses couldn’t live here if they weren’t going to get vaccinations,” he says, “someone picked them up the next day.” Doyle and Thornton believe the horses then went back to Peaceable Farm. This was in June.

Photos from Gentle Giants’ trip to the farm show an emaciated Lou, with skin pulled tight against his protruding ribs, but Thornton has a September 23 message from Shumate, which indicates that everything was fine with the stallion.

No record of Lou’s body has been found.

“I’m assuming after he died,” she says, “[Shumate] had someone bury him.”

She remembers Lou as intelligent and gentle, fit and strong.

“He would come running from across the field when I went out into the field and called his name,” she says. “Lou was like a person.”

Thornton is working to create a national database for people who have been convicted of animal cruelty. She also hopes to pass a federal law that requires any person banned from owning animals in one state be banned from owning animals in all states.

In a November 18 hearing at the Orange County General District Court, a judge ruled that the 10 horses belonging to Shumate that she refused to surrender were legally seized by the county. Though Shumate is currently free on $75,000 bond, she has been charged with 27 counts of animal cruelty.

The 75 surrendered horses were taken in by several rescue agencies and, as a condition of her bond, Shumate cannot own any animals. Her next hearing is at 10am November 25.

Shumate could not be reached for comment.

(CVille - Nov 26, 2015)


Diane DiGiacomo, star of Animal Planet's "Animal Precinct", dies at 52 from 9/11 related exposure

NEW YORK -- The woman diagnosed with cancer from toxic fumes she inhaled rescuing cats and dogs from homes in the shadow of Ground Zero has died — but her mission to help ailing 9/11 rescuers lives on, relatives said.

Diane DiGiacomo, 52, died with her sister Donna, brother Paul and son Stephan by her side Friday at her New Jersey home.

The single mother had dedicated the last moments of her life to pushing Congress to renew the Zadroga Act, which compensates families of ailing 9/11 first-responders.

I feel she had a purpose. She had to get the message out before she left her loved ones,” said her brother Paul, vice president of the NYPD Detectives Endowment Association.

Days before her death, a state judge shockingly denied DiGiacomo’s workers compensation claim for the breast cancer she sustained due to fume exposure.

See: "State judge denies workers' compensation claim brought by ASPCA animal rescuer dying from 9/11-related cancer"

In her role with the ASPCA, she worked in all five boroughs for almost two decades, investigating reports of animal abuse and cruelty, arresting suspected abusers and rescuing abused and sick animals.

She also spent weeks in the neighborhoods near Ground Zero after 9/11, rescuing animals trapped in apartments where their owners could not return for weeks.

Ms. DiGiacomo was often seen on the television program "Animal Precinct" on Animal Planet, which ran from June 2001 until February 2008, as she and her colleagues went about their work investigating animal cruelty, abuse, dog fighting and other crimes involving animals.

Diane, you saved so many animals and inspired so many people. RIP

"She was full of life, and very humble," said her brother, Paul. "She loved her job and she loved animals and never stopped marveling at their unconditional love. She also was brave, often going into dangerous situations, and always acted with professionalism. And she lived for her son," he said.

Surviving, along with her sister, Donna, and brother, Paul, are her son, Stephan, and her sister, Laura DiGiacomo.

The funeral will be Tuesday from the Hanley Funeral Home, with a Mass at 11:30 a.m. in Our Lady Queen of Peace R.C. Church, both in New Dorp. Burial will follow in Green-Wood Cemetery, Brooklyn.

(NY Daily News and SI Live - Nov 22, 2015)

Cathy Davis, 53, says it was an 'accident' that she threw her puppy down a 6-story trash chute

TENNESSEE -- A Nashville woman is accused of throwing a 5-month-old puppy down a trash chute six stories high before it fell into a dumpster.

It happened on Oct. 23 at the Hadley Park Towers, which are owned by the Metro Development and Housing Agency.

Surveillance shows a resident, identified by authorities as 53-year-old Cathy Davis, carry the Chihuahua / Dachshund mix (aka Chiweenie) across the hallway on the sixth floor.

About 10 seconds later, Davis is seen returning to her apartment without the dog.

According to investigators, the dog was dropped down the garbage chute. He landed in a dumpster below.

“What we are thankful for is one of the other residents had actually dropped some important papers down the trash chute and had notified the apartment complex when they went to help out that resident that is when they found Max,” said Rebecca Morris with Metro Animal Control.

When confronted by Animal Control officers, Davis reportedly admitted to her actions.

“She said it is an accident. She didn’t mean to do it,” Morris told News 2.

When asked why, investigators said, “Really she couldn’t explain that to us. She mentioned that possibly she was allowing for him to use the restroom and she accidentally dropped him down the trash chute.”

According to Morris, Davis doesn’t claim the animal as hers, adding, “She did reference that the animal had just come into her apartment and she was going to take care of them.”

News 2 looked into Davis’ criminal records. She has a checkered past dating back to the early 90s with charges such as burglary, aggravated assault, and resisting arrest.

The 53-year-old is now charged with misdemeanor animal cruelty.

A spokeswoman for MDHA could not comment on the case due to possible litigation but said residents are allowed one pet per family.

The puppy, Max, will remain with Metro Animal Control until the case is decided. Then he’ll be put up for adoption.

(WNCN - Nov 20, 2015)

Pit bull waits two days before showing his true colors and attacking little girl

UTAH -- Police say a 9-year-old girl was rushed to Logan Regional Hospital on Tuesday after she was bit in the face by a family member’s dog in an unprovoked attack.

According to Logan Police Capt. Tyson Budge, the girl was at her grandparent’s home in Logan, where an out-of-town family member was visiting for the holidays, along with his male pit bull.

The child and the dog had interacted numerous times over a two-day period with no cause for alarm, according to police.

On Tuesday, the dog reportedly allowed the girl to pet him before he went outside, but when he came back inside a short time later, Budge said he suddenly lunged at her and bit her in the face, causing serious injury.

The child’s grandfather pulled the dog away from the child, and the dog went after him as well before the dog owner entered the room and got the dog under control.

The child was immediately taken into surgery to repair some of the damage to her face, but her condition is unknown.

Budge said the dog will be quarantined for 10 days as required by law and faces possible euthanization after that period has lapsed.

(Herald Journal News - Nov 24, 2015)

‘‘At first she screamed, but she said she had to stop because that was so much worse than when it went back to eating her hand’’

AUSTRALIA -- Thalia Standley didn’t see the dog before it attacked.

She didn’t see the gap in the fence, and she didn’t hear the dog growl.

There was just a feeling of being wrenched.

The dog, one of three Alaskan Malamutes in a Valentine backyard, stuck its head through a gap no bigger than 20 centimetres, grabbed the eight-year-old by the finger, and pulled her hand and arm under the fence.

The force was such that her finger tore off. Her body was pinned against the fence. She still couldn’t see the dog.

She laid there helpless while her best friend, Layne Kidd, 7, ran for help.

‘‘She sat there for two or three minutes by herself, pinned against the fence, while the dog ate her arm,’’ Randall Standley said.

Mr Standley and his wife Sally, Thalia’s parents, have only recently asked their daughter to tell them in detail what happened on the Saturday afternoon in August that changed all of their lives.

Thalia, her sister Jessica, 13, and brother Nathan, 11, had gone to visit a family friend around the corner from their Valentine home.

Darren and Kathie Kidd have children the same age as the Standley family and they play together in the cul-de-sac where they live, or swim in their backyard pool.

It was the middle of the afternoon. Thalia sat on a retaining wall, her back to a neighbouring fence, hands resting behind her, waiting for her two young friends and Jessica to catch up to her.

She didn’t know there were dogs in the backyard, and, despite media reports at the time suggesting otherwise, did not stick her hand through the gap.

Then the attack began.

‘‘She said that she had to keep quiet and still, because then the dog would sit on her arm and be calm,’’ Mr Standley said.

‘‘It just sat there and chewed. If she moved her arm it grabbed it and ripped and tore and pulled. At first she screamed, but she said she had to stop because that was so much worse than when it went back to eating her hand.’’

Thalia’s assessment of the attack is just as chilling: ‘‘If that fence wasn’t there, I wouldn’t be here,’’ she said.

Layne found her father first, telling Darren that Thalia had caught her hand on something.

‘‘I expected to see her hand caught in the car door,’’ Mr Kidd said.

When he eventually saw Thalia laying prone against the fence and the retaining wall, he thought she’d fallen, perhaps breaking her wrist, and couldn’t get up.

‘‘She was sobbing, and I went to pick her up and something sort of pulled her back,’’ he said. ‘‘I thought, ‘what the bloody hell is that’, I couldn’t hear growling or anything.’’

He looked under the fence and saw that the dog had her hand in its mouth. He began reaching under, trying to force it to release her.

‘‘I’m punching it in its mouth, just trying to make it let go, but it wasn’t,’’ he said. ‘‘I had my arm around her as I’m doing it, and I felt her sort of come back toward me.  I thought ‘you beauty it’s let go’, I picked her up, and realised it hadn’t let go.’’

The dog had torn Thalia’s arm off.

Three months and nine surgeries later, the Standley family are still coming to terms with what happened to their youngest daughter and sister.

‘‘At the beginning you wake up and you hope everyday, you know, that it will get better, it will get back to what it was,’’ Mr Standley said. ‘‘But it doesn’t. There is no back to what it was ... this is now our baseline, and this is what we work from.’’

All three of the Standley’s other children, including Jacob, 16, have been impacted emotionally.

‘‘I’ve told them, to be angry, to be sad, to be confused, it’s all normal,’’ Ms Standley said. ‘‘You won’t find another person who lives in suburbia where they’ve had their sister’s arm chewed off by a dog.’’

Remarkably, it is Thalia’s positive attitude that is helping the family through their grief.

 ‘‘She’s guiding us,’’ Ms Standley said.

‘‘You let her guide you, you don’t try and wrap her up in cotton wool because she was a really independent, determined little girl anyway [but] she’s become even more independent as far as ‘don’t tell me I can’t do something’. She’s a very special girl, with a lot of pride, and a great sense of humour.”

While the Standley’s say they are thankful for the enormous support that they have received from the Valentine community, the full financial impact of the attack is only now beginning to hit home.

Thalia will require a new prosthesis every year until she stops growing.

The costs are enormous and unpredictable. A basic prosthesis costs about $15,000, and the price continues to climb as the design becomes more advanced.

‘‘We can’t predict the cost yet,’’ Ms Standley said.

With the help of friends, they’ve organised a fundraising gala for Thalia in February. Tickets go on sale on December 1, and include individual and group corporate packages. For more information on attending, or to donate to the family, go to

None of the three dogs that were in the yard when Thalia was attacked have been euthanised, and the Standley’s have tried not to focus on retribution.

But they do hope that dog owners take their daughter’s story as encouragement to make sure their yards are secure.

‘‘If you’re a dog owner, for god’s sake, check your fences, because it doesn’t take much of a gap,’’ he said.

Oregon son, Michael Jefferson Bryant, 31, burns home, kills father, two pedestrians, dogs in murderous rampage: police

OREGON -- A lawyer for Michael Bryant, the Springfield man charged with murdering his father and two pedestrians in a Sunday afternoon rampage earlier this month, said Tuesday that his client’s defense will include “substantial evidence of serious mental illness.”

Portland attorney Conor Huseby provided a statement to The Register-Guard after learning the newspaper had obtained a police report that states Bryant showed no remorse while admitting his crimes to detectives, and insisted to them that he does not suffer from a psychiatric disorder.
Bryant with his father

Bryant, 31, was arrested the afternoon of Nov. 15 after he allegedly killed his father and beat his mother, then set fire to their home and stole their vehicle, which authorities say he used to intentionally run down three pedestrians — killing two of them.

A search warrant affidavit written by Springfield police Detective David Grice and made public this week in Lane County Circuit Court details a series of incriminating statements Bryant made to police after he was taken into custody.

Grice wrote that Bryant admitted during a post-arrest interview at the Springfield Police Department that he had attacked his parents with an aluminum baseball bat as the couple sat on their living room couch and watched television.

Police found his father, 64-year-old Jefferson Stanley Bryant, dead on the couch. His mother, Elizabeth Bryant, is recovering from serious injuries she sustained in the attack.

Bryant's parents

Two family dogs also were discovered dead in the home, which was heavily damaged in a fire that Michael Bryant allegedly set. At least one of the dogs was attacked with the baseball bat, Bryant allegedly told police.

Grice, in the affidavit, does not mention any potential motive but wrote that Bryant told police that he had been thinking about murdering his parents for two weeks before beating them with the bat.

Bryant also said he had contemplated fleeing to Mexico, and that a few weeks before the attack he’d withdrawn $800 from his mother’s bank account to cover the cost of an airline ticket he had considered purchasing, the affidavit states.

Bryant acknowledged during the police interview that after beating his parents and leaving them for dead, he walked upstairs and set a fire “because he was angry,” Grice wrote.

Bryant said he then fled the scene in his parents’ Toyota Highlander, according to the affidavit.

He also asserted, Grice wrote, that after leaving the family’s home off Centennial Boulevard, he intentionally drove the sport utility vehicle into three pedestrians, killing two of them — Rick Bates, 58, of Springfield, and Marc Jay Sanford, 49, of Portland. Sanford’s wife, Lorre, survived but was severely injured when the Highlander hit her.

Bates was struck by the SUV and died in the Value Village shopping center parking lot in west Springfield. Sanford was killed a short time later while walking with his wife in a crosswalk near Fifth Avenue and Willamette Street in downtown Eugene.

Grice wrote that Bryant “characterized the three pedestrians he’d struck as ‘being in the wrong place at the wrong time’” and expressed no remorse for any of his actions.

Eugene police arrested Bryant on the afternoon of the slayings, after a pursuit in which he drove over 80 mph while attempting to elude officers, according to the affidavit.

Bryant told a detective that he had wanted police to kill him “because he didn’t have the means to do it himself,” Grice wrote.

Bryant also said he does not suffer from a mental illness and had not used drugs or alcohol before the crime spree, according to the affidavit.

Police, however, found a workbook at the Bryants’ home titled “How to Escape Your Prison” with Michael Bryant’s name written inside it, according to a list of seized property filed in court along with Grice’s affidavit. The workbook is sometimes assigned to adults in substance abuse treatment, according to an Internet search.

Investigators also found bottles of unspecified prescription medication in Bryant’s bedroom, and obtained permission from a judge to test his blood for the presence of drugs.

Bryant is being held in the Lane County Jail on three counts of aggravated murder; two counts of attempted murder; two counts of first-degree assault; and single counts of first-degree aggravated animal abuse, first-degree arson and fleeing or attempting to elude police. He could face the death penalty if convicted of any of the aggravated murder charges.

(The Register-Guard - Nov. 25, 2015)

‘He didn’t deserve this’: Retired police K-9 found sick, abandoned on street

GEORGIA -- A sick, stray dog picked up in Clayton County, Ga., was discovered to be a retired police dog.

According to a post by Partners for Pets, Master Blaster’s original handler became sick several years ago and the dog had to be re-homed.

Master Blaster, 6, was then found as a stray and picked up by Clayton County Animal Control. He was adopted and then returned because he was sick.

He has pneumonia and needed immediate hospitalization. His bill for the first 24 hours is estimated to be $1,000, and he will likely need additional care.

“He’s very weak, and heaving with his coughing fits with thick green mucus running out of his nose,” the fundraising post stated of the 6-year-old dog. “He didn’t deserve this type of maltreatment.”

The post did not disclose what police department the dog had previously served.

(Fox8 - Nov 27, 2015)

Heroic brothers free a bald eagle from a trap and take the best selfie of all time

CANADA -- Brothers Michael and Neil Fletcher found a bald eagle stuck in a trap near Windy Lake in Ontario, Canada, which tried to fly away when the two men approached.

Michael and Neal wrapped a jacket around the eagle to calm it down, and then managed to free its talon.

Before leaving the eagle to fly away, the Fletcher’s decided to take a quick photo with the rare animal. The result is one of the greatest selfies ever taken.

Neither man will have to pick a new profile picture for the rest of their lives.

(USA Today - Nov 29, 2015)


Police To Charge Boy, 17, With Animal Cruelty For Decapitating Cat

PENNSYLVANIA -- State police plan to charge a 17-year-old Indiana County boy with animal cruelty for decapitating a cat with a hatchet.

Police announced their intentions Tuesday, although the incident occurred Oct. 12.

That’s when police say the Black Lick boy first injured the cat by kicking it.

According to a news release, the boy then cut off the cat’s head “due to injuries sustained.”

(CBS Local - Nov 4, 2015)

James Weyrauch, 24, charged with felony animal cruelty after killing cat

NEW YORK -- A Glens Falls man has been indicted on Aggravated Animal Cruelty charges, accused of shooting a cat with a pellet gun.

Officials say that James Weyrauch will be arraigned Wednesday morning accused of shooting the cat, after police say he claims the cat would not leave his porch back on October 28.

The cat was later euthanized due to its injuries.

Weyrauch has been assigned a public defender.

Police in Glens Falls have charged a 24 year old, after a cat shot with a pellet gun needed to be euthanized.

Police say James Weyrauch, admitted to police that he shot the cat because it refused to leave his porch.

The cat had 5 metal BBs lodged in it, according to police.

Police were initially called after someone reported the injured cat.

Weyrauch has been charged with Aggravated Animal Cruelty, a felony.

(WRGB - Nov 17, 2015)

Massachusetts: Beatrice A. Nielsen, 50, was facing 29 YEARS in jail for animal cruelty. Instead, the judge gives her one year of probation. When will they take animal cruelty seriously?

MASSACHUSETTS -- A severe animal cruelty case against a woman who describes herself as a dog behavior specialist was continued without a finding for one year in Dudley District Court this week.

Sounds like they're giving her deferred sentencing - which means as long as she doesn't get arrested in the next year, ALL THE CHARGES will be wiped from her record as though it had never happened. As though she didn't abuse and neglect all of these animals. Don't their lives (and deaths) count, Massachusetts??

Beatrice A. Nielsen, 50, of 38 Silver St., Auburn, was sentenced Monday to ONE YEAR of unsupervised probation and was forbidden from having animals for one year. Ms. Nielsen will undergo a mental health evaluation and pay $5,000 restitution to the Webster Animal Control program as part of the plea agreement.

She had faced 29 counts of animal cruelty.

Authorities confiscated 29 neglected animals and found a dead dog with trash on Aug. 17 at 6 Cody St., where Ms. Nielsen maintained animals she had rescued.

Police, health and animal control officials went to the Cody Street home when a foul odor was reported in the neighborhood. One by one, authorities removed dogs, cats and birds - some of whom were in kennels that officials said were too small - from what they said were unsanitary conditions.

Deplorable conditions were found with animal feces and urine throughout the residence and the crates in which some animals were contained. The ammonia levels in the home and the wall-to-wall feces and urine resulted in Codes Enforcement condemning the residence.

(In a different article, Nielsen claims to have paid $32,000 to have the home professionally cleaned in order to move back into it.)


Many followers on the Facebook page "Friends of Webster Animal Control" asserted that the decision was a slap on the wrist and that cruelty against animals wasn't being taken seriously.

Animal Control Officer Michelle A. Lafleche told a reporter, "I think we all were a little disappointed with the judgment."

Ms. LaFleche said the restitution did not represent all of the expenses from Ms. Nielsen's case.
Webster Animal Control has paid $5,000 to date in veterinary bills, she said, and there are ongoing expenses for six dogs.

Nielsen said she got "a little behind" in cleaning. Does your house look like
 this? When we're "a little behind" in our cleaning, it usually means we
need to do the laundry, pick up and do some dishes - NOT shovel a floor
full of feces out of the dining room! .

"We’re still supporting the dogs and we have ongoing vet bills and we’re making arrangements to get their vaccinations before we can adopt them out," Ms. Lafleche said.

The restitution also doesn’t include what the Animal Rescue League of Boston paid in vet bills for dogs it took on Webster's behalf, she said.

Ms. Nielsen said in an interview that the disposition of her case, while seemingly favorable, was bittersweet. She said she had been punished throughout the process.

Yes, she's the victim... not all the animals she abused.

"My animal family is gone," she said. "Basically, the Webster animal control officer had control of all that, and she dispersed my family, and there’s no way I can get my family back, and I’m devastated."

She added, "My business has been destroyed. I had a phenomenal reputation and the judge saw that."

Many letters were sent in on her behalf.

Ms. Nielsen said she has been found guilty in the court of public opinion. She said her only fault was falling behind in the upkeep of the Cody Street property.

Ms. Nielsen said she continues to teach about two classes a week. She once taught 28 classes.

"I was never stopped (by the judge) from working with animals," she said. "They just said no animals for one year and I can’t breed and I can’t sell animals, which I never did in the first place. I've always been a rescue. I've never made money off selling animals. All I ever did was teach people how to educate their animals."

She said she's saved more than 900 dogs in 25 years, attempting to make dangerous dogs "more adoptable." But when the dog pounds ran out of money and had to euthanize them, she began to take those dogs in.

"Did things get out of control in the beginning?" she said. "Absolutely. People found out where I live and they were leaving dogs tied to my front trees. It was awful.

"I tried to, over the years, figure out a way that I could continue to rescue animals, but not by bringing them into my home. By becoming a teacher, I believe that that was the right direction for me to take. More than 50 percent of the animals I had were over 10 years old and had been with me for years because they couldn’t be placed. Many of them were dangerous.

"My biggest fault is I’m loyal to my word I promised them that I would give them sanctuary to the end of their lives," she said.

Although she lost custody of the animals, Ms. Nielsen was able to keep custody of her 16-year-old daughter and 9-year-old son. Because of the Webster charges, the state Department of Children and Families had opened a case against her. It has since been closed.

Ms. Nielsen suggested that she would be making changes to protect her family "from some of the scary stuff that has been presented to me."

She said she's been receiving threatening phone calls and that grew worse after Monday's decision. She alleges one caller who was upset by the light sentence told her he would "take care of it."

"People are threatening to hurt me because the judicial system did not deem me jail-worthy, talking about hurting me," she said.

(Telegram - Nov 28, 2015)