An Oregon City man pleaded guilty to shooting a dog that belonged to his father’s neighbor.
Police say the father paid for the hit.
For his involvement in what authorities described as a murder-for-hire, Derek James Walkoski, 31, will spend 28 months in prison for shooting and killing Paws, a black Lab that lived next door to his father in Canby.
In a hearing in Clackamas County, Walkoski told Circuit Judge Robert R. Selander that he shot the dog with a rifle, the Oregonian reported.
“You just shot him?” Selander asked.
“Yes,” Walkoski said.
“Any reason?” Selander asked. “Any justifiable reason?”
“No, your honor,” Walkoski said.
Walkoski pleaded guilty to first-degree aggravated animal abuse. He also pleaded guilty to being a convicted felon in possession of a firearm and recklessly endangering another.
Paws’ owner, sitting in the back row of the courtroom gallery, did not address the court.
Walkoski’s father, David James Walkoski, 61, whose trial is set for June 18, hasn’t admitted to any involvement in the killing of Paws. But he was arrested during the court hearing when prosecutors informed the judge he, while free on bail, pointed his finger at Paws’ owners and simulated firing a pistol – despite an existing no-contact order issued by the court. He was charged with contempt of court and booked into the Clackamas County Jail, with bail set at $50,000.
According to police reports, the Walkoskis’ neighbor returned to his home in April 2012 to find his dog dead. Police said the father paid his son to kill the animal, but did not offer a motive for the shooting.
(Photos: David James Walkoski (left) and his son, Derek James Walkoski)
Posted by jwoestendiek May 9th, 2013 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animal cruelty, animals, black, canby, court, dog, father, guilty, justice, killed, lab, labrador, law, murder fo hire, oregon, oregon city, paws, pets, plea, retriever, rifle, sentence, shot, son, trial
An Ohio judge who called a man convicted of dogfighting “a monster” and sentenced him to six months in jail received a standing ovation Tuesday from a courtroom packed with animal welfare activists.
Judge Kathleen Ann Sutula sentenced Collin Rand Jr., 33, to six months in jail, five years community control, and more than $12,000 in fines, restitution and court costs, according to News Channel 5.
Additionally, the Cuyahoga County judge ordered that he never be allowed to own a dog again.
If Rand violates the sentence, the judge said she would send him to prison for more than 12 years.
“If I had the freedom and the discretion, you’d be serving a lot longer sentence, Mr. Rand. Much, much longer. In fact, probably like 27 years — a year for each dog,” the judge said.
Rand, as part of a plea agreement, pleaded guilty to six counts of dogfighting, four counts of cruelty to animals, one count of drug trafficking and one count of carrying a concealed weapon.
The activists applauded the judge, who sentenced Rand to the maximum amount allowed under current law. (House Bill 108 would make animal abuse a felony in Ohio and allow lengthier sentences.)
Activists in the crowd wore T-shirts with the phrase “Hope for the 27,” a reference to the number of dogs found tied up at Rand’s home on Dec. 22, 2011. The dogs were malnourished and had open wounds and scars. Officers also found a fighting ring and a treadmill with plywood sides to contain the dogs.
According to testimony, some of the dogs had spent their entire lives enclosed in small cages. Some needed immediate medical care and some had to be euthanized.
Rand had claimed the dogs were in bad condition when he found them, and that he was trying to find them new homes.
“I find your explanations and your statements to be totally incredible,” said Judge Sutula, who has a rescued dog. “They are not worthy of belief. No one with a heart could look at these animals and not get help … You are a monster, Mr. Rand.”
Posted by jwoestendiek August 16th, 2012 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: animals, case, collin rand jr, county, cuyahoga, dogfighting, dogs, guilty, hb 108, hope for the 27, judge, kathleen ann sutula, law, maximum, monster, ohio, ovation, pets, plea, sentence, standing, video
Two Pennsylvania brothers who had 187 dogs, mostly Chihuahuas, seized from their property in July have pleaded guilty to two counts each of cruelty.
Thomas Ambrosia said he and his brother, Albert, pleaded guilty to “get this behind us,” and insisted they treated the dogs “like our boys and girls.”
Acting on tips, state dog wardens and state troopers executed a search warrant at a house in Benton, in Columbia County, last month and found the corpses of 30 Chihuahuas in a freezer. They seized 187 other dogs living there.
Authorities said the deceased dogs apparently died of natural causes. Veterinarians who checked the surviving Chihuahuas and two other dogs removed from the residence found only minor health issues, like eye, tooth and skin problems.
Pennsylvania law requires anyone who keeps, transfers or boards more than 25 dogs to obtain a kennel license and be inspected annually. Thomas Ambrosia, 57, said he and his 54-year-old brother had applied a kennel permit, but had been denied. They now have 10 dogs.
The brothers were fined more than $500 as part of their guilty pleas. One cruelty count involved neglect of a male coonhound with a sore on its leg, and the other involved a long-haired Chihuahua whose hair was badly matted.
At least one dozen shelters in Pennsylvania stepped in to help place the dogs.
(Photo: Some of the seized Chihuahuas; Pennyslvania Department of Agriculture)
Posted by jwoestendiek August 13th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: ambrosia, animal cruelty, animals, Benton, brothers, chihuahuas, columbia county, guilty, hoarded, hoarders, hoarding, pennsylvania, pets, pleas
The trial for former Michigan State University medical student Andrew David Thompson, accused of killing a dozen Italian greyhounds, ended before it started yesterday when he pleaded guilty to three felony charges of animal killing or torture.
“I got upset, I hit the dog and it died,” Thompson told Ingham Circuit Judge Paula Manderfield, referring to one of the killings with he was charged. The plea, part of a last-minute agreement with prosecutors, came as his trial was to begin.
His sentencing is June 13.
The maximum penalty for each charge is four years imprisonment, according to Mlive.com.
Prosecutors say Thompson, 24 and originally from Arizona, threw the dogs against a wall, hit them and grabbed them by the neck. Authorities say Thompson killed 10 dogs — all Italian greyhounds — while he lived at an apartment in Okemos and three more while living in East Lansing.
He was suspended by MSU’s College of Osteopathic Medicine on June 23, a day before charges against him were authorized.
In earlier court appearances, some of Thompson’s roommates and acquaintances testified they often heard dogs yelping, and they occasionally saw Thompson hurt the dogs or throw them across the room.
According to an animal control officer, Thompson admitted under questioning that he killed the Italian greyhounds, bought new ones and killed them too.
Only one of his dogs is believed to have survived — a female discovered injured and malnourished inside a closet of his apartment on June 21, 2011.
That dog, named Chloe at the time, recovered from her injuries and was adopted by the veterinarian that treated her.
“She was bruised with obvious signs of trauma, she was bleeding and most likely bleeding internally,” Dr. Joyce Heideman, of Southside Animal Hospital, told WILX. Heideman, who adopted the dog, said she is now named Jezabelle.
Posted by jwoestendiek April 24th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: agreement, andrew david thompson, andrew thompson, animal cruelty, animals, cruelty to animals, dogs, guilty, italian greyhounds, killed, lansing, medical, michigan, michigan state university, pets, plea, student
The South Carolina woman who put her live dog out with the trash, got caught, then did it again, has been found guilty of ill treatment of animals, officials in Spartanburg County say.
Nancy Smythe, 58, was fined $470 for ill treatment of animals, and fined another $80 because the dog was not vaccinated against rabies, according to GoUpstate.com.
An employee with a trash collection company found the dog inside a trash can outside of Smythe’s residence earlier this month. The worker took the dog to Smythe’s residence, where, after initially denying it, she identified the dog as her’s. The worker called animal control officers before leaving, and when they arrived they found the shih tzu in the trash can again, under two bags of garbage.
Smythe told officers that she “needed to get rid of the dog.”
The dog, named Oreo, is now at Greenville County Animal Care, where Susan Bufano said he’s not nearly as shy and reserved as she expected he’d be.
“He is just a love,” she said of the dog, believed to be about 8 years old.
Oreo was not neutered, was loaded with fleas and had other skin problems when he arrived, but he is being treated with antibiotics and improving, she said.
Bufano has received about 200 calls and emails — from people as far away as Arizona, New York and Texas — willing to provide Oreo a home. The pool of potential adoptees has been narrowed to about 20, she said.
Posted by jwoestendiek February 24th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: adopt, adoption, animal control, animals, dog, dogs, fine, garbage, greenville, guilty, ill treatment, oreo, pets, sanitation, shelter, shih-tzu, south carolina, spartanburg, trash
Betty Peltier of Antioch, Ill., pleaded guilty to just that this week in exchange for a sentence of 100 hours of community service.
She could have been sentenced to a maximum of one year in jail and fined $2,500, according to the Lake County News-Sun.
Peltier was accused of stealing Peanut, a 3-pound Chihuahua who ran out of his family’s house while they were unloading groceries. Peanut served as a therapy dog for the son of Monica Hidalgo. Hidalgo offered a $1,000 reward for the dog’s return.
After Peliter called Hidalgo several times inquiring about the reward, Round Lake Beach police arrested her when she attempted to return the dog.
In addition to 100 hours of community service, Peltier received one year of supervision, after the successful completion of which the theft charge will not go on her record as a conviction.
Posted by jwoestendiek December 3rd, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, antioch, autism, autistic, chihuahua, dog, dogs, guilty, illinois, lake county, peanut, pets, plea, reward, sentence, stealing, stolen, theft, therapy dog
Ryan Matthews, 30, of Loveland, will also be required to undergo mental-health treatment and refrain from having contact with dogs during his probationary period, according to the Denver Post.
He was originally charged with felony aggravated cruelty to animals, but under the terms of a plea agreement with prosecutors, approved by a Larimer County District Court judge, it was reduced to a misdemeanor.
Matthews, according to the website of his former business, Off Leash Dog Training, spent six years in the U.S. Army military police, where he trained bomb- and drug-sniffing dogs.
One of Matthews’ employees contacted the Larimer Humane Society in July to report that Matthews had abused his Belgian malinois, named Montage.
According to the arrest affidavit, Matthews shoved Montage’s muzzled head through wallboard, body-slammed her by the neck and punched her in the face. A surveillance video corroborated the employee’s claim, police said.
Montage and another malinois owned by Matthews were relinquished to the Larimer Humane Society and have been adopted out to new homes.
Posted by jwoestendiek November 30th, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: agreement, animal cruelty, animals, army, belgian malinois, colorado, county, cruelty to animals, dog, dog trainer, dogs, guilty, humane society, larimer, loveland, montage, off leash dog training, one month, pets, plea, probation, ryan matthews, sentence, sentenced, trainer
Patrick Caleb Land, 25, was sentenced Friday to five years and four months in state prison.
“These crimes were committed with callous violence and a serious punishment is warranted,” Judge Charles Rogers said.
The maximum possible sentence was eight years, but the judge took into account Land’s guilty plea, that Land was born to a drug-using mother and that he was beaten in his youth by an adoptive mother, according to 10 News in San Diego.
According to prosecutors, Land called his girlfriend Natasha Strain last year and told her that he had come home to find Josh, her 8-year-old Golden Retriever mix, dead.
Three weeks later, he called her again to tell her that he had found her other two dogs, Jackie, a 9-year-old white shepherd mix, and Pikanik, a 50-pound mixed breed, dead in a bedroom.
No necropsy was performed in the first case, but a veterinarian determined the second two animals were beaten to death.
Prosecutors said there was evidence of attempts to suffocate the animals, and that the defendant’s DNA was found under one of the dogs’ nails.
At a preliminary hearing, a roommate of the couple testified that Land sometimes complained that Strain spent more time with her dogs than she did with him.
Posted by jwoestendiek November 21st, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: abuse, accused, animals, beaten, beating, boyfriend, courts, crimes, cruelty, dna, dog, dogs, five years, guilty, killed, natasha strain, patrick caleb land, pets, prison, san diego, sentence, three dogs
Nico Dauphiné, the National Zoo researcher accused of poisoning feral cats in the D.C. neighborhood of Meridian Hill Park, was convicted of animal cruelty charges yesterday.
DCist reports that Dauphiné, who denied the allegations in court last week, was pronounced guilty of the misdemeanor charge by D.C. Superior Court Judge Truman Morrison. She will be sentenced on November 21 and faces up to 180 days in jail and a $1,000 fine.
Evidence in the case included a video of Dauphiné appearing to plant something from her purse into a feeder.
“Our Humane Law Enforcement Department works hard to bring justice to abused animals in our city, and we can say with confidence that justice was served today,” said Lisa LaFontaine, president and CEO of the Washington Humane Society, which played a large role in the investigation of the claims.
In a press release, Alley Cat Allies, a national advocacy organization dedicated to the humane treatment of cats, welcomed the verdict and called for Dauphiné to be dismissed from her job as a Smithsonian researcher studying migratory birds.
“We are satisfied with this verdict,” said Becky Robinson, president of Alley Cat Allies. “Americans care about cats and will not tolerate cruelty towards them. We are grateful to law enforcement and to the prosecutors for treating this crime with the seriousness it deserved.”
“We call on the Smithsonian to immediately dismiss Ms. Dauphiné from her position and cancel any research projects in which she was involved,” said Robinson. “Her conviction for attempting to kill cats, along with her history of condemning cats in research, leaves her work suspect of major bias. Her work should be discredited and disregarded by the scientific community.”
“Killing cats is illegal, and feral cats are protected under the law,” she added. “Anti-cruelty laws protect all cats — pet, stray, or feral — in every state and the District of Columbia. Americans who are demanding humane approaches for cats are not going to allow this kind of cruelty to go unpunished.”
Posted by jwoestendiek November 1st, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: alley cat allies, animal cruelty, cats, cruelty to animals, feral cats, guilty, migratory birds, misdemeanor, national zoo, nico daupine, poisoning, researcher, smithsonian, strays, verdict, washington humane society
Remember Denver, the guilty, oh-so-guilty, looking yellow lab that was captured on video by her owner while she was being interrogated in the case of the missing cat treats?
We suggested — partly in jest — that she might be innocent, that appearances can be deceiving, not to mention misinterpreted, and that, just maybe, the cat did it.
Now — with the video having gone viral, with dog and owner having appeared on the ABC’s Good Morning America, with a line of “guilty dog” merchandise having been spawned — there’s more reason to believe that Denver might have been wrongly convicted. How guilty one looks and how guilty one is are two different things — especially when it comes to dogs.
Guilt, research shows, may be just another human emotion that dog owners anthropomorphically ascribe to dogs.
And all those behaviors Denver exhibited – avoiding eye contact, lying down, rolling into a submissive position, dropping the tail, holding down the ears or head, raising a paw – are more likely triggered by the owner’s semi-scolding tones than any feelings of “remorse.”
This reminder/revelation comes from someone who knows, who did her master’s dissertation on this very topic, and who produces one of my new favorite blogs, Dog Spies.
Julie Hecht is a New York-based behavioral researcher who has worked with Patricia McConnell and Alexandra Horowitz. She wrote her dissertation at the University of Edinburg on “Anthropomorphism and ‘guilty’ behavior in the dog,” and did her research with the Family Dog Project in Budapest, Hungary. She recently started Dog Spies, which focuses on the science behind dog behaviors and the dog-human relationship, and she divides her time between research, lecturing, blogging and working with individual pet owners.
As was my goal (plug alert) in my recently published book, “DOG, INC: The Uncanny Inside Story of Cloning Man’s Best Friend,” she attempts to take the boring out of science, thereby making it interesting and understandable. “Scientific journals should be titled, ‘Lots of great information within, a tad boring to read!’ Dog Spies translates that information and shares it with you,” reads the introduction to her blog.
Judging from her “guilty dog” blog entry — and you know its trustworthy, because it has footnotes – Denver’s appearance, with her owners, on the ABC morning show raised her hackles a bit.
“According to the dictionary, ‘news’ is ‘information about recent events or happenings.’ I did not see any news during that morning show. Instead, I saw a bunch of morning personalities throwing out assumptions and offering the audience pleasing banter and humorous judgments about dogs. They provide no real information or ‘news’ about what happened to the cat treats.”
Here Hecht has hit on one of my pet peeves — pun definitely not intended. Rather than shedding some light, doing some research, and furthering our understanding of canines, the ABC segment — like so much of what the media, blogs included, feed us about dogs — was the kind of cutesy, substance-free fluff that reinforces misinformation and misunderstanding.
Like most everyone else, the smiling morning show hosts concluded Denver must have eaten the cat treats. When shown the empty bag and asked, “Did you do this?” Denver displays squinting eyes, averts her head and makes a highly laughable presentation of her teeth.
Guilty. Guilty. Guilty.
Or maybe not.
Hecht cites a 2008 research paper that says 74 percent of dog owners attribute guilt to dogs, and believe dogs know when they have done something owners disapprove of. But scientific research shows that it’s not knowledge of a misdeed, or remorse, that leads to the guilty look, but an owner’s scolding. (See the New York Times piece, “It’s an Owner’s Scolding That Makes a ‘Guilty’ Dog.”)
Or, see this — a video Hecht made that shows a dog named Gidget being falsely accused:
As Alexandra Horowitz, author of “Inside of a Dog,” once put it: “We’ve trained them that when they see us angry, they give us that guilty look. I’m not saying they don’t feel guilt … I can’t test that yet. But we generate the context that prompts them to produce this look.
Why then, in the guilty dog video gone viral, does Denver show these behaviors when the other, presumed innocent family dog, Masey, does not?
“Research finds that even post-transgression, not all dogs show the ‘guilty look’ in the presence of a non-scolding owner,” Hecht says. And, transgressions aside, it might be the simple fact that Denver is a more expressively submissive dog, according to Hecht, who says part two of her entry on the “guilty dog look” will be appearing soon on her blog.
Why do dogs show what appears to be a guilty look more so than do their progenitors, wolves?
“Dogs have, for the most part, incredibly malleable and expressive faces (much more so than, say, cats) and from this, we can often see the subtleties of their eyebrows going down or up or their wide forward-facing eyes, becoming wider. All of these things could impact how humans attribute mental states to dogs,” Hecht told me.
My theory is there’s more at play — though maybe I’m giving dogs more intellectual credit than they deserve. I think mastering the guilty look is another way dogs have evolved since their domestication, and to cope with their domestication — part of their ongoing adaption to pethood. By showing submission, some of them may have have figured out, they can keep the peace, and maybe even get a belly rub or a Milkbone.
To me, the even more interesting question, when it comes to “the guilty look,” is whether, even before the scolding comes, dogs can sense it’s about to. Before a word comes out of the owner’s mouth, before an angry stance is even taken, can dogs sense that some displeasure is churning within us?
I, without any research or footnotes to back me, believe so. My scientific explanation for this: It’s magic.
Dogs are figuring us out. Which, until recent years, is maybe more than they could say about us. We’ve always been more concerned with their brawn than their brain, more concerned with their beauty than their behavior. It’s man’s hand that has led to the vast diversity of shapes and sizes in dogs. And while breeders have begun to put a higher priority on temperament, it can still be argued that appearance is placed above all else.
Could it be, in their way – without the aid of microscopes, opposable thumbs or access to our pedigrees – dogs are looking more deeply into us than we are into them? Could it be, during their time in domestication, dogs, as a species, have amassed a wealth of knowledge on how to best get along with humans, and have become even better at doing so than humans?
I think there’s more at work than breeding and genetics and instinct when it comes to dog behavior. An ongoing and not fully understood evolution is at play in the dog-human relationship. And that is the reason – all those unanswered questions about behavior, coupled with those we wrongly assume we know the answers to – why dog blogs of substance, like Hecht’s, are important.
At the same time, though, I rue the day when our understanding of dog behavior is complete — when we can explain every act of dog as stemming from some lingering instinct, or adaptation to their domestication. For then the magic will be gone.
I want all three — my science, my magic and my dog. Does that make me greedy?
Posted by jwoestendiek April 27th, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: abc, adaptation, alexandra horowitz, animals, anthropomorphism, appearances, behavior, cat treats, cognition, coverage, denver, dog, dog inc., dog spies, dog-human, dogs, dogs guilty look, domestication, emotions, feelings, good morning america, guilt, guilty, guilty look, humans, inside of a dog, instinct, julie hecht, looks, media, morning show, news, patricia mcconnell, pets, relationship, remorse, scolding, submission, submissive, video, viral