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Tag: executed

No justice for Camboui, the PTSD dog slain on camera by two Fort Bragg soldiers

camfacebook

One of two Fort Bragg soldiers who tied a dog to a tree, shot it 10 times, and took photos and video of the killing had the animal cruelty charges against him dismissed this week.

Instead, in North Carolina’s Harnett County District Court, Jarren Heng was found guilty only of having a gun on educational property and conspiracy to commit cruelty to animals.

Heng was sentenced to between 6 and 17 months in prison, but the sentence was suspended. He will be on supervised probation for 12 months.

He also was ordered to pay a $100 fine and $450 in court costs, undergo psychiatric counseling and (as if the sentence weren’t already asinine enough) perform community service at an animal shelter.

Heng and Marinna Rollins, 23, an Army veteran, were charged in late April with tying an emotional support dog to a tree and shooting it to death.

The dog, named Camboui, served as Rollins’ PTSD dog, though he belonged to her estranged husband, Matt Dyer.

rollinsPhotos and videos of Heng and Rollins shooting the dog ended up on Facebook, showing them giggling, drinking Coca-Colas and making jokes as they executed the dog.

Rollins killed herself on May 7, after her arrest.

Rollins had joined the Army in February of 2014 and served as a multimedia illustrator before medically retiring from the Army in January of 2017. Heng had been part of a unit that serves the Army Special Operations Command.

In April, Rollins began posting on Facebook, saying she was attempting to find Camboui a new home. She told a friend that caring for him was too expensive. On April 17, she posted that she had a great last day with Camboui and that he was going to a new home.

“Sad he has to go, but he will be much happier where he is heading off to,” Rollins wrote on Facebook.

But where Camboui was actually taken was also revealed on Facebook — bizarrely enough in photos and videos taken by Heng and Rollins and posted on Facebook.

Heng and Rollins took Camboui to a wooded area. Both wore their Army camouflage pants and boots. Heng is pictured shirtless and Rollins wore a pink polka-dotted bra.

hengRollins shot Cam in the head, then fired several more shots into his body before Heng asked for a turn and handed her the camera. “Let me hit him once,” Heng said, according to court documents. They took photographs of the execution and at least three videos.

The case was investigated by the Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office, which found the videos, photos and text messages between the two discussing the shooting.

But it was later transferred to Harnett County when it was learned that the shooting took place there, on some wooded property owned by Western Harnett High School.

There, prosecutors didn’t see Heng as the primary culprit, and didn’t pursue the most serious charges against him.

In a statement after the sentencing Harnett County Assistant District Attorney Edward Page said, “The evidence in the case tended to show that Marinna Rollins, the dog’s owner who has committed suicide, was the instigator of these despicable acts. Mr. Heng was certainly an active participant, but the shots he fired were after the dog had been shot 5 times by Ms. Rollins. A jury likely would have believed that the dog was already deceased by the time Mr. Heng fired the rifle.

“Additionally complicating matters is that Ms. Rollins had apparently told Mr. Heng that the dog was going to have to be euthanized anyway due to illness, which goes to his state of mind,” Page said.

“Ms. Rollins might have been the primary target of the prosecution in these matters, but she has paid the ultimate price,” he added.

Page said a charge of discharging a firearm on educational property was dismissed because it was not clear that either defendant knew the woods where they shot the dog were within the property boundaries of the school.

Chief District Court Judge Jacqueline Lee presided over the case and came up with the provision that Heng perform community service at an animal shelter as part of his punishment — an idea that many who have followed the case see as a major mistake, judging from comments left on the Justice for Cam Facebook page.

Even members of Rollins’ family were upset with Heng’s sentencing.

“It is so unfortunate that true justice was not served, for Cam,” Rollins’ sister, Ariana Rollins told the Fayetteville Observer. “He has to pay a hundred-dollar fine, for taking a life of an innocent animal. I hope he has to live everyday knowing what he did, and how many people his actions affected.”

The newspaper quoted Rollins’ estranged husband, Matt Dyer, as saying, “I am so mad. Watching that video, how could you not think he’s going to do terrible things to humans? He’s a sick person.”

Animal rights activist Donna Lawrence, one of about eight observers at Heng’s court appearance, said, “I’m in shock. It’s ridiculous … Who would want him working in a shelter?”

Prosecutor Page insisted the sentence was a fair one.

“Mr. Heng is now a convicted felon for the rest of his life, he received about as severe a punishment as he could get … and we expect the felony conviction will end his military career,” he said. “We appreciate the public’s interest in this case, and believe the outcome in the case was just.”

(Photos from the Justice for Cam Facebook page)

Visiting pit bull fatally shot during drug raid

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Police in Fayetteville, N.C., say they are still investigating an officer’s fatal shooting of a pit bull during a drug raid in July, but the owner — who had left the dog in the care of friends — thinks she is owed some answers.

“The police are supposed to protect and serve, not kill and destroy,” Victoria Thompson told the Fayetteville Observer. “I want the officer responsible for maliciously murdering my baby held accountable.”

Thompson has been waiting since July 17 to find out why Queen, her 4-year-old pit bull, was shot to death as officers executed a search warrant at a friend’s house.

Thompson was a friend of one of the house’s two occupants, and had left Queen with him while she was moving from Fayetteville to Atlanta.

The home’s occupants, Justin Bernard Harris and Taurean Forte, were charged with drug-related violations after the search, according to Fayetteville police.

Queen was in a bedroom asleep when police burst into the room, according to Thompson.

Assistant Chief Brad Chandler said one of the suspects was hiding in the bedroom closet. When officers entered the room, the dog came toward them in an aggressive manner, Chandler said.

The officer who shot the dog has not been identified.

Fayetteville police shot seven animals in 2011 and 12 in 2012, according to a report compiled by the Office of Professional Standards and Inspections.

Asked why non-lethal means weren’t used to control the dog, Chandler said, “If we’re using a Taser, we can’t defend ourselves. You’re going into a drug house and in a split second, you have a huge pit bull coming at you. There’s no way you have got that time. Do you want to risk that?”

Thompson said police offered her compensation for Queen’s death.

“That’s like asking how much is your daughter’s or son’s life worth,” she said. “I want a proper burial for my baby and an apology from the officer responsible, because he unjustly murdered her. But more than anything I want justice for my Queen.”

Euthanizing first, asking questions later

Ohio executed an innocent dog.

Carolyn Baker, 63, of Cleveland Heights, died of a heart attack in Feburary — not from being mauled by the family Rottweiler, the News-Messenger reported today.

Baker was found dead at her back steps, wearing only a thin polyester nightgown and boots, with bite marks on her arms and shoulder. That, apparently, was enough for the police, and subsequently the press, to indict Zeus, the family’s 9-year-old, 140-pound Rottweiler.

“Cleveland Heights Woman Dies Afer Being Attacked by Rottweiler,” one headline read. “POLICE: Woman Mauled to Death by Dog,” shouted another. “Woman Found Mauled to Death by Pet Rottweiler,” concluded a third.

As ohmidog! reported in February,  police and, in turn, the news media, may have jumped the gun — perhaps a little too eager to place blame on a dog because of his breed, which is, of course, nothing new.

Zeus was seized by authorities and impounded, despite the family’s contention that the dog was actually trying to rescue the woman, and that any bite marks were a result of him trying to drag her back to the house.

It took almost six months, but now Cuyahoga County Coroner Frank Miller says there were few dog bites on Baker, that she died of a heart attack and hypothermia, and that her injuries indicated “the dog was trying to help her.”

Had the results come in sooner, Zeus might still be around.

The Cleveland Municipal Court ordered him destroyed in April.

Emma and Luna: Deaths still unsolved

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The reward for information leading to the arrest of whoever shot and killed two dogs in Pennsylvania  has reached $50,000, the Chester County SPCA said yesterday — and the gang at Rescue Ink has joined in the investigation.

The reward fund was established last October after the two family pets were found near the railroad tracks along Brandywine Creek in Pennsbury Township. Both had been shot between the eyes at close range.

Emma, a one-and-a-half-year-old German shorthaired pointer, and Luna, a two-year-old mix of the same breed, had been placed tail to tail, said Rich Britton, spokesman for the Chester County SPCA. The two dogs were reported missing from a Pocopson Township farm Oct. 25.

Today, the search for the killer will get an additional boost from Rescue Ink, a group of tattooed animal rescuers who appear on National Geographic Channel’s Rescue Ink Unleashed, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer.

Rescue Ink, which targets animals in danger, will participate in a news conference today at 2 p.m. and meet with the public from 3 to 4:30 p.m. at the Chester County SPCA, 1212 Phoenixville Pike, West Chester. A town-hall meeting will be held at 7 p.m.  at the Chadds Ford Historical Society, 1736 Creek Rd.

Fired firefighter walks out of appeal hearing

An Ohio firefighter who was fired for executing his two dogs walked out of an appeal hearing yesterday in which he was seeking to get his job back.

As a result, the Civil Service Commission dismissed David Santuomo’s appeal of his firing, the Columbus Dispatch reports.

Santuomo, 43, was waiting for the hearing to begin, but left after a television news crew set up a camera in the commission’s hearing room.

“He came here with the intention of going forward but changed his mind,” said Barbara McGrath, the commission’s executive director. The commission had agreed to postpone the original hearing in the fall and informed Santuomo that his appeal would be dismissed if he didn’t attend today’s hearing.

Santuomo was fired in July after being convicted of two counts of animal cruelty and one count of possession of a criminal tool. Prosecutors say Santuomo tied his two mixed-breed dogs to a pipe in his basement and shot them so he wouldn’t have to put them in a kennel while he went on a vacation cruise with his girlfriend. He dumped the bodies in a trash bin behind his fire station

He was sentenced to 90 days in jail and fined $4,500.

Farm justice: Was wrong dog executed?

nubisA New York dog may have been executed for a crime he didn’t commit.

Suspected in the death of six alpacas at a neighboring farm in Forestburgh, Nubis, a Belgian malinois, was shot by an employee at the farm — five days after the alpacas were found dead.

Now, a report issued by an animal control officer says there’s no evidence connecting Nubis to the alpaca attack.

The dog belonged to Ben Wechsler, neighbor of Stuart Salenger, who owns the farm. The two men have a history of not getting along, according to the Times Herald-Record.

Animal Control Officer Arnold Burger said the likely culprits in the slaying of Salenger’s animals were coyotes, not dogs, and that photographs provided by Salenger are insufficient evidence to confirm the dog was shot in the alpaca pen. The photos show the dog’s body in two locations, he said. Salenger said his farm workers removed the dog from the pen because the body was bothering his animals.

(Photo courtesy of Peter K. Bertine, Jr.)

Reward in Chester County grows to $11,000

emmalunaThe reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person who shot and killed two dogs in Chester County, Pennsylvania, has grown to $11,000.

Rich Britton, a spokesman for the Chester County SPCA, said this morning that the Humane Society of the United States contributed $2,500 of the sum, most of the rest coming from public donations.

The reward started out at $500, grew to $5,000 by the next day, and was up to $11,000 by day’s end, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer.

The dogs, Luna and Emma, both about 2, were killed, and left arranged tail-to-tail along the railroad tracks in Pennsbury Township, Pa. They were found on Sunday. The dogs were owned by a family that has not been publicly identified that lives about three miles from where they were found. They were last seen at the home on Saturday.

Both were shot between the eyes with a small caliber handgun.

Investigators are loking for the owner of a red Ford F-150 pickup truck with a cap that was seen parked beside Brintons Bridge Road with lights flashing sometime between 1 and 3 p.m. on Sunday, he said.

Anyone with information about the crime should call 610-692-6113, Ext. 213, he said.

To contribute to the reward fund, make checks payable to the CCSPCA and mail them to CCSPCA, 1212 Phoenixville Pike, West Chester, Pa. 19380.