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Tag: probation

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)

Man who drowned dog is ordered to keep pup’s photo in his wallet for two years

burrowA North Carolina judge imposed a lenient but lingering sentence on a Fort Bragg soldier who intentionally drowned his 8-month-old puppy.

Cumberland County Superior Court Judge Jim Ammons handed John Burrow a sentence of 30 days in jail and 100 hours of community service, cleaning the cages at Cumberland County Animal Control.

A light sentence — but one with a twist:

Ammons also ordered Burrow to keep a photo of the eight-month-old pup in his wallet for the next two years, while serving his probation, according to WTVD.

Police said Burrow, a paratrooper, used parachute cords to tie the legs of the pup, named Riley, and looped the rope around his muzzle before throwing him into MacFadyen Pond around Thanksgiving in 2014.

The dog’s body washed ashore on Jan. 2, 2015.

Yesterday’s sentencing followed a guilty plea by Burrow.

Investigators said Burrow told them the mixed lab-shepherd pup had run away from home several times, and he and his wife could not afford the veterinarian bill after the dog was hurt during a previous escape.

rileyBurrow and his wife, Kelsey, initially claimed the dog had run away when they were questioned by police after his body was discovered.

Kelsey Burrow told Cumberland County sheriff’s investigators then that Riley had stood on a privacy fence and opened the latch on the gate.

Investigators said she put false posts on Facebook saying Riley was suffering from organ failure, and told a friend in a Facebook message that the dog died while undergoing surgery.

Kelsey Burrow has been charged as an accomplice and is still awaiting sentencing.

In court Tuesday, John Burrow, 24, apologized, the Fayetteville Observer reported.

“I’m sorry,” he said, “so very sorry, and sorry to Riley. I did love Riley. I did love that dog. I have no excuse.”

As part of the plea arrangement, Burrow agreed not to own another animal during his probation period.

(Photos: WTVD and the Fayetteville Observer)

Susie’s Law signed in North Carolina

Susie, an 8-week-old puppy when she was tortured, burned and left to die in Greensboro last summer, yesterday became the first dog to sign a piece of legislation in North Carolina — one aimed at protecting her kind.

Gov. Bev Perdue signed the animal cruelty prevention bill known as Susie’s Law. Susie, a pit bull mix wearing pearls and pink nail polish for the occasion, then put her paw print on the bill.

“Today, we make our homes better and our streets safer for the people who inhabit this state,” said Perdue. “No matter if they have two legs or four legs.”

It was about a year ago when Susie was tortured, set on fire and left for dead in Greensboro. Her ears were singed off and she was covered in maggots by the time she was found, about two weeks after the beating, which left her with missing teeth and a broken jaw, according to the Greensboro News & Record.

Lashawn Whitehead, 21, of Greensboro, was convicted and sentenced to probation.

Susie’s new owner, Donna Lawrence, was one of the forces behind the legislation, wanting to make sure that anyone who tortured a dog in the future would have to pay with jail time.

Under the new law, any malicious abuse, torture, or killing of animals becomes a Class H felony, punishable by up to 10 months in jail.

“This law will also protect, I believe, North Carolina’s people,” said Perdue. “The data is pretty clear. For those of you who don’t know the data, people who are actually cruel and do this kind of stuff to animals, are five times more likely to do this kind of thing to a human being.”

Perdue’s dog’s Dosie and Zipper also looked on as the bill became law.

(Photo: Lynn Hey / Greensboro News & Record)

Owner gets probation for tossing out dog

One year’s probation is all the sentence a judge deemed proper for a woman who threw her 18-month-old dog in the garbage, leading to him almost being crushed in a trash truck.

The dog, named Tommy, has had an extension cord wrapped around his neck since he was a puppy. His owner reportedly wrapped the cord around his neck because he kept breaking lose from his chain. Eventually it became embedded in his skin.

Prosecutors say 34-year-old Tracia Johnson of Cahokia, tossed the dog in the trash because she thought he was dead, according to KSDK in St. Louis. A garbage man found him and he was nursed back to health at Hope Animal Rescue.

Wednesday, Johnson pleaded guilty to misdemeanor animal cruelty and was sentenced to one year probation, 250 hours of community service and a $1,000 fine. Prosecutors had asked for 60 days in jail.

“From my perspective I really would have liked to see her get the sixty days in jail to think about it,” says Jackie Spiker with Hope Animal Rescue. “I just think in order to change the way things are we have to start holding people accountable.”

Tommy made a full recovery and now lives with new owners, who keep a scarf around his neck to hide his scars.

Chihuahua hoarder gets probation

The Michigan man charged with animal cruelty after authorities found hundreds of Chihuahuas in his home, live and dead, pleaded guilty in a plea agreement yesterday.

Kenneth Lang Jr. of Dearborn, will serve five years’ probation under supervision of a Wayne County mental health court.

Lang, 56, admitted in the plea that the animals in his home were subjected to abusive conditions because he was overwhelmed by their sheer numbers, according to the Detroit Free Press.

Under the terms of the plea agreement, Lang will not be permitted to own any animals. He’s also required to make $3,000 restitution to the Animal Legal Defense Fund for the examination of the dead dogs, and restitution to the city of Dearborn.

Lang’s lawyer, James Schmier, said Lang has an IQ of about 70 and suffers from several psychiatric conditions. “He’s a very human guy with a very human story, and with very human frailties,” the lawyer said.

Lang was found living in squalid conditions with more than 100 live Chihuahuas and more than 100 dead ones found frozen in freezers. The prosecutors said of the 105 that were rescued, all but 13 have been successfully adopted. Those are living in a no-kill shelter.

Mother, son get probation in cruelty case

A mother and son accused of neglecting and abusing 21 dogs living at their home received a harsh scolding and probation, but no jail time at their sentencing last week.

“I am rarely at a loss for words,” District Court Judge Robert C. Wilcox said as he flipped through pictures of their Orchard Beach home. “But I have never, ever, ever seen a picture of a more filthy or more disgusting house. Caves are cleaner than this.”

Wilcox, during a hearing in Annapolis,told Janet Taylor and her son, Jeffrey, both Pasadena residents, that sending them to jail w0uld representative an improvement in their living conditions, The Capital in Annapolis reported.

“Putting you people in jail would be treating you better than these animals were treated,” Wilcox said. “Having said that, I’m not sure going to jail is the right thing. You’d be living better, and the taxpayers would be paying for it.”

The Taylors each pleaded guilty to five counts each of animal cruelty. Wilcox sentenced Janet Taylor, 62, to 90 days in jail for each count of animal cruelty, but suspended the sentence and placed Taylor on probation for three years.

Her son, 38, was sentenced to three months probation and six months of community service at the county landfill.  The judge said he was initially going to order him to perform community service at the county’s animal shelter, but “they don’t want you.”

Neither of the Taylors will be allowed to own a pet during their probationary period.

The Taylors originally were charged with 42 counts each of animal cruelty and inflicting unnecessary pain on an animal after animal control officers and other county workers raided their home Aug. 28. Authorities removed 21 Shar Pei mixes from the house and a camper in the front yard.

Dachshund drowning? There’s an App for that

Nathan App was sentenced in Montgomery County Court in Pennsylvania to five years of probation and 60 hours of community service after trying to drown a woman’s dachshund in a backyard swimming pool.

Under a plea agreement, App, 20, of Douglass Township, pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of cruelty to animals.

“His conduct was disgusting. It was a small, helpless dog. He was basically torturing the dog by repeatedly dunking the dog in water and dragging it by its leash in the water,” Assistant District Attorney Abby Silverman said of the July incident.

Judge William R. Carpenter, who accepted a plea agreement in the case, also ordered App to undergo a psychological evaluation, and prohibited App from owning any animals, according to an article in the Delaware County Daily Times.

App apparently has a history with the dog’s owner — a previous court order had prohibited him from having any contact with her. Apparently, her dog was another matter.

The dog’s owner, who rushed the dog to a veterinarian for treatment after the incident, told police she was alerted to the attempted drowning by her neighbors who had witnessed the cruelty.

Two neighbors reported they observed App pull the dog by a leash into the pool area and then throw the dog into the water, according to the arrest affidavit. One witness claimed App tossed the dog into the air and watched the dog land in the pool, then repeatedly dunked the dog under the water.

Neighbors yelled at App and he pulled the dog out of the water, police said.

The dachshund survived.