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
The man who, by his own count and admission, killed at least 70 sled dogs — some of which lingered in pain after he shot and slashed them — was sentenced to three years probation yesterday in British Columbia.
Robert Fawcett, 40, said the sled dog tour company he managed in Whistler ordered the cull, which came to light after Fawcett filed a workmen’s compensation claim stating that carrying out the orders had caused him post traumatic stress disorder.
As part of an investigation, 54 dogs were unearthed and examined, though estimates were that as many as 100 were involved.
Yesterday, Judge Steve Merrick ruled that Fawcett had the “best interests” of the dogs at heart when he culled the pack near Whistler after a slump in business following the 2010 Olympic Games, the Globe and Mail reports.
Fawcett was not charged with killing the animals — that’s, unfortunately, legal — but with “causing unnecessary pain and suffering” to nine of the animals, namely those that lingered after he wounded them, and, in some cases, were thrown into graves before they died.
Graphic testimony at Thursday’s hearings left some in tears, and Judge Merrick’s ruling was slammed by the British Columbia SPCA.
Marcie Moriarty, general manager of cruelty investigations for the BC-SPCA, said Fawcett “basically walked away,” and, through his injury claim, “he was paid taxpayer dollars in compensation for committing the crime.”
“We put forward strong evidence that animals suffered, and that this occurred over a few days,” Moriarty said. “When you look at other animal-cruelty cases in Canada … I think the sentence here is not reflective of what Canadians feel.”
The defense recommended no jail time for Fawcett, who they noted was carrying out orders when he began culling the herd at Howling Dog Tours, the owners of which had put an “absolute freeze” on spending.
In a statement, read in court, Fawcett described killing Susie, who was the mother of his family’s dog. He described what he called “execution-style” killings, in which he wrestled some of the dogs to the ground and stood on them with one foot to shoot them. He described one dog who survived the first bullet, and how he had to climb into the grave in which he had tossed the dog to finish the killing.
“I will never stop feeling guilty for the suffering that the dogs endured that day. I feel like part of me died with those dogs,” Fawcett’s defense lawyer, Greg Diamond, quoted his client as saying.
The defense supplied a list of 30 character references to the judge that described Fawcett’s dedication to the dogs.
The prosecution didn’t push for the maximum sentence — five years in prison — and noted Fawcett had no criminal record. Crown lawyers emphasized that he was charged in connection with the suffering of only nine of the dogs, not with the mass euthanization.
“Many dogs suffered from the reckless acts of Mr. Fawcett. However, it’s important to bear in mind that he has not been convicted of and is not being sentenced for euthanizing sled dogs generally,” said Crown lawyer Nicole Gregoire. “This is not a sentencing of the sled dog industry, or a discussion of the morality of the euthanization of sled dogs. The fact is that whether the court and the public like it or not, it is lawful to euthanize animals.”
The killings occurred in April, 2010. The bodies of the dogs were exhumed, after the ground thawed, in May, 2011. They were reburied at a memorial ceremony earlier this month.
(Photo: By Darryl Dyck / The Canadian Press)
Posted by jwoestendiek November 23rd, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, british columbia, buried, canada, charges, claim, company, compensation, cull, dogs, euthanasia, exhumed, howling dog, investigation, pain, pets, post traumatic stress disorder, probation, robert fawcett, sentence, shot, slashed, sled dogs, spca, suffering, three years, touring, tours, whistler, workers, workmens
Two and a half years after the manager of a sled dog tour company shot and slashed the throats of scores of no-longer-needed huskies, he’s scheduled for sentencing in court.
Bob Fawcett — who claims the owners of Howling Dog Tours ordered him to cull the herd, and that doing so gave him post-traumatic stress disorder — is to be sentenced tomorrow in British Columbia’s Provincial Court in North Vancouver.
The animals, owned by the Whistler-based tour company, were killed in April 2010, but were exhumed more than a year later after an SPCA investigation. They were reburied earlier this month in a memorial ceremony.
Fawcett entered a guilty plea in August to charges of causing unnecessary pain and suffering to an animal and faces maximum sentence of five years in prison and $75,000 in fines.
The mass slaying came to light after Fawcett filed a workman’s compensation claim, stating that shooting, slashing and dumping the bodies of about 100 dogs over a two-day period had left him with post traumatic stress disorder.
He said the cull was ordered by company owners after the demand for sled dog tours dropped after the 2010 Olympic Winter Games.
Since the slaughter, the province has revised its anti-cruelty laws to provide new protection for sled dogs, and established more severe penalties for cruelty.
After being dug up and examined, the bodies of 56 of the sled dogs were reburied at a pet cemetery near Penticton, British Columbia, earlier this month at a memorial ceremony.
Fifty-six separate stones were placed individually on a memorial stone which read, “In loving memory of the Whistler sled dogs,” according to the Penticton Herald. Mourners attending the ceremony brought their own dogs, and some wore T-shirts that read, “Justice for the Whistler sled dogs.”
“You (dogs) will never be forgotten, and we pledge that in your memories that we will fight any form of animal cruelty and abuse,” Marylee Davies, president of the BC-SPCA, said during the service.
As Fawcett’s sentencing neared, a former volunteer BC-SPCA investigator has come forward to question whether the organization — based on what she saw on a 2000 visit to Howling Dog Tours — could have prevented the tragedy.
Eleanor Matthews visited Howling Dog Tours in January of 2000, when 73 dogs were under Fawcett’s car, and, described inhumane conditions in a report submitted to the SPCA, according to the Edmonton Journal.
She took photos of dogs, some emaciated, cramped in cages, and crammed into crates on two trailers — including this one:
Matthews says she joined the SPCA as a voluntary investigator about 14 years ago. She quit when the SPCA failed to act on her report, declining to take it to prosecutors so charges could be brought.
BC-SPCA officials, however, said earlier investigations at Howling Dog showed no evidence of abuse, cruelty or neglect, and that while they did order improvements in conditions for the sled dogs there, the company had complied with those orders.
(Top photo by Jeff Bassett / The Canadian Press; bottom photo by Eleanor Matthews)
Posted by jwoestendiek November 21st, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, bcspca, bob fawcett, bodies, british columbia, charges, claim, cull, culled, culling, death, dogs, dumped, howling dog, howling dog tours, investigation, killings, memorial, pets, post traumatic stress disorder, reburied, sentence, sentencing, service, shot, slashed, sled, sled dogs, spca, stabbed, whistler, whistler sled dogs, work
On top of the jail sentence, he was ordered to spend an additional six months on electronic home monitoring and pay the golden retriever’s veterinary bills, which amounted to $5,000, the Bellingham Herald reported.
The judge also banned Knowles from owning pets or having animals in his house.
At the sentencing, Knowles apologized to the dog’s owners, who since have moved out of state.
Deputy prosecuting attorney Dione Hauger said she asked for the maximum sentence “based on the brutality of the actual crime … on the thought and premeditation that went into it. And it was based on the fact that this was a fairly vulnerable victim.”
Knowles was arrested in March after police found the 3-year-old dog, named Kona, tied to a pole in his garage. Police said he lured Kona to his property with treats. The dog has since recovered from the injuries, which included a skull fracture and broken jaw.
Knowles had reportedly complained to Kona’s owner in the past about the dog’s barking.
At the sentencing, Knowles said the act wasn’t premeditated. “I just couldn’t take the noise any longer,” he said. “He was barking and I just snapped. I can’t explain it.” (Video from the hearing is included in this KBOI report.)
During a search of Knowles’ home, authorities found blood-splattered cutting tools, a hammer, a bloody garbage can and dog treats.
Posted by jwoestendiek September 19th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: abuse, animal cruelty, animals, attack, barking, court, cruelty to animals, dog, dogs, golden retriever, hatchet, judge, kona, neighbor, one year, orting, pets, ricky lee knowles, sentence, washington, wire
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
James Robert Wesolaski, 51, of Des Plaines, entered a guilty plea on torture and cruelty charges for pinning his small dog to the ground in front of his home in early June and punching him four or five times.
He was also ordered not to own a pet or live in a residence with any animal for 20 years, according to the Chicago Tribune.
Police, called to the home by witnesses, found the dog, named Teddy, with swollen, bleeding eyes and broken capillaries, indicating he had been choked.
Wesolaski told police that he was having a bad day and beat the dog because it got outside.
Police took the dog, along with two others inside the home, to Northwest Animal Hospital in Des Plaines, where they were treated. Teddy has made a full recovery and been adopted by a new family, as have Wesolaski’s other two dogs.
Authorities also said Wesolaski’s June arrest violated his probation from an incident earlier this year in which he admitted to trying to take a Taser away from a police officer.
Judge Lauren Edidin also advised Wesolaski to get anger-management counseling and treatment for alcohol abuse.
Posted by jwoestendiek August 14th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: 30 months, abuse, adopted, animal cruelty, animals, beating, cruelty to animals, des plaines, dog, dogs, illinois, james wesolaski, judge, lhasa apso, pets, punching, recovered, sentence, teddy
Animal control officer Jodi LeBombard had just stepped into the grisliest investigation of her career — the serial slaying of what would turn out to be 13 Italian greyhounds — when she opened a closet door in the apartment of their suspected killer.
Inside was a white Italian greyhound, bruised and bloodied and weighing about three pounds.
LeBombard, a deputy for Ingham County Animal Control and Shelter, removed the shaking puppy from the home of Michigan State University medical student Andrew David Thompson on June 21, 2011.
“I really didn’t believe that she would (survive), but I had hopes that she would,” LeBombard said. “She was pretty injured.”
The dog known as Chloe No. 2, was taken to Southside Animal Hospital, where veterinarian Joyce Heideman diagnosed internal bleeding and fluid in the dog’s lungs. Heideman also doubted the dog would live.
But, to everyone’s surprise, Chloe No. 2 lived, becoming the lone survivor of the 13 Italian greyhounds that Thompson would, at one point, admit to having killed in fits of rage, mostly by throwing them against the wall or floor, or grabbing them by the neck and beating them.
Sometimes they died instantly, sometimes, like Chloe 2, they lingered for a few days. After one Italian greyhound died, Thompson, 24, would buy another.
The State News in Lansing told the story of the lone survivor last week, including it’s happy ending: Renamed Jezabelle, the dog now lives with Heideman and the veterinarian’s five other dogs.
Heidman said it was three days into the lethargic puppy’s recovery that she saw some hope. When taken out to go to the bathroom, the puppy saw a small leaf land nearby and, with a sudden burst of energy, pounced on it.
“That was the first time I knew she would actually live because she showed there was something in there,” Heideman said.
Six days into her recovery, Heideman adopted the puppy, taking her home to live with her two boxers, two labs and a one-eyed pit bull Heideman rescued after he was abused with a baseball bat.
“I never really thought I would actually adopt her, but I kind of fell in love,” she explained. “She snuggles up next to you, and you just feel like, ‘Oh, it doesn’t matter what happened today, I’m just happy now.’”
Despite her abuse, Jezabelle isn’t skittish or anxious around humans. “She seems to be a very loving and kindhearted dog that wouldn’t hold a grudge against anyone,” Heideman said.
Thompson, who was suspended from medical school after his arrest, faced 13 felony charges of animal killing in Okemos and East Lansing. He ended up pleading guilty to three of the charges and was sentenced in June to five years probation.
Judge Paula Manderfield said she saw little benefit in incarcerating him. She mandated he continue to receive psychiatric treatment, pay more than $5,000 in court fines and restitution, perform 400 hours of community service and work at least 30 hours per week.
Heideman, like many, found that sentence way too light.
“People who write bad checks get more time in jail than somebody who killed (13) dogs,” she said. “There’s something wrong with our legal system.”
More than a year after saving the puppy from a closet, Deputy LeBombard — to whom Thompson initially confessed – still drops by Heideman’s animal hospital to visit the dog.
“I get to go over there and give her hugs,” LeBombard said. “You can’t even hold her she’s so squirmy. She’s a sweetheart, and she couldn’t have gotten a better home.”
(Photos: The Italian greyhound now named Jezabelle; by Natalie Kolb / The State News. You can find more photos of Jezabelle here.)
Posted by jwoestendiek July 11th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: andrew david thompson, andrew thompson, animal control, animal cruelty, animals, chloe, chloe 2, cruelty to animals, dogs, east lansing, italian greyhounds, jezabelle, jodi lebombard, joyce heideman, killed, killer, killing, lone survivor, michigan, michigan state university, okemos, pets, probation, sentence, serial murderer, southside animal hospital, survivor, veterinarian
Andrew David Thompson, the former Michigan State University medical student who admitted killing about a dozen Italian greyhound puppies, was sentenced yesterday to probation.
Thompson, who admitted to beating, kicking and throwing the puppies against walls when he became angry with them — and buying new ones to replace those who died — will serve five years of probation.
At a hearing in Ingham County Circuit Court, Judge Paula Manderfield rejected prosecutors’ request for a prison sentence of two to four years, the Lansing State Journal reported.
“I am disgusted and embarrassed and have so much remorse for what happened,” Thompson told Manderfield during the hearing, which his mother, father and other supporters attended. “I’m shocked I even let it get to this point.”
Thompson pleaded guilty in April to three counts of animal killing. Two of the charges were for killing two different dogs while he lived in East Lansing. The third charge was for killing nine dogs when he lived in Meridian Township.
Stacia Buchanan, Thompson’s attorney, argued that his offense was a ”property crime” and that he had no prior criminal record. She said he has mental health issues for which he hasn’t receive treatment.
Under the sentence, he will.
The judge ordered Thompson to undergo mental health treatment, perform 400 hours of community service and not own or care for any animals while on probation.
Technically, Manderfield sentenced him to a year in jail, but she gave him credit for the 107 days he has served and suspended the remainder of the jail term pending successful completion of probation .
Manderfield said she didn’t believe a prison sentence would serve anybody’s interests. Probation, she told Thompson, would allow her to “always hold the hammer of prison over your head… I’m not convinced society would be served spending thousands of dollars to incarcerate you for two to four years,” she said.
(Photo: Paul Henderson / Lansing State Journal)
Posted by jwoestendiek June 14th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: abuse, andrew david thompson, andrew thompson, animal cruelty, animals, cruelty to animals, dozen, five years, former, italian greyhounds, judge paula manderfield, killed, lansing, medical, mental health, michigan, michigan state university, pets, probation, problems, puppies, school, sentence, sentenced, student, torture, treatment
And that, in itself, would be another crime.
Nally was sentenced last month for torturing and killing dogs, at least 29 of which he collected by perusing Craigslist’s ”free to a good home” ads.
While the sentence isn’t harsh enough for most animal advocates, it’s a pretty significant one, relative to most others meted out in abuse cases, and given it was handed down by a judge in West Virginia.
Then again, Nally, based on court records and witness statements about his heinous acts, seemed pretty close to graduating, as many an animal abuser does, to human killing.
According to his former girlfriend, Jessica Sellers, Nally had been holding her captive in his home in New Cumberland and terrorizing her by torturing and murdering the animals in front of her.
Sellers said Nally told her the only way she was leaving his home was “in a body bag.” On the day of his arrest, she claimed, he forced her to hold a puppy as he bored into its head with an electric drill.
His victims were obtained through Craigslist — dogs advertised as free to a good home. Nally would pick them up and return them to his place, about as far from a “good home” as you could possibly get.
Nally’s house was raided in March of 2011 after Sellers’ mother called authorities. Police found 29 dog carcasses, guns, tools covered with blood and hair, and what appeared to be a beagle’s pelt and eyes in a jar, according to an account in PetPardons.com.
Nally, 20, faced 29 counts of felony animal cruelty, one count of domestic battery, one count of kidnapping and one count of unlawful possession of a firearm.
In January, he turned down a plea deal, but in April, as his trial neared, he accepted it. He entered guilty pleas to nine of the charges of felony animal abuse and received one to five years for each count. In exchange, all the other charges, except for the firearms one, were dropped.
He will have to serve a minimum of five years before he can apply for an early release.
Posted by jwoestendiek May 18th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: abuse, animal cruelty, animals, beagle, craigslist, cruelty to animals, dogs, drill, eyes, free to good home, jeffrey nally, jessica sellers, new cumberland, pelt, pets, prison, sentence, torture, west virginia
Willie T. Bell, 41, of Palmetto, told police he was trying to make the dog stronger.
He pleaded no contest to the third-degree felony earlier this week, the Bradenton Herald reported.
Police in April spotted the two-year-old pit bull mix, named Blackie, in the Manatee River, not far from where Bell was fishing.
According to Palmetto police officer Micah Mathews’ report, the dogs snout was sticking up as it tried to tread water.
“Mr. Bell said he was trying to make the dog stronger,” Mathews wrote.
“The dog was unable to touch the ground and was not able to move the weight,” the officer wrote. “When I arrived I could see only the nose of the dog out of the water.”
On the officer’s request, Bell brought the dog to shore. Bell told the officer the dog had been swimming in place for about 15 minutes.
Mathews asked Bell the same question that’s probably running through your mind right now: Would he like to be anchored to a dumbbell and left in the water like that? Bell replied, “Hell no,” the police report states.
Bell was not the dog’s owner, animal control officials said.
The dog was returned to its original owner and animal control officials said it suffered no lasting physical damage.
Posted by jwoestendiek January 27th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: abuse, animal cruelty, animals, blackie, conditioning, cruelty to animals, dog, dogfighting, dumb bell, dumbbell, florida, jail, manatee, mix, neck, palmetto, pets, pit bull, plea, police, river, sentence, sentenced, tied, torture, training, willie bell