Tag: set on fire
Twins Travers and Tremayne Johnson were scheduled to be back in court this morning for a second trial on charges of setting a dog named Phoenix on fire two years ago.
The first trial for the Baltimore brothers ended in a mistrial in February.
The dog was found on fire by a police officer, who used her sweater to put out the flames. Days later, Phoenix died while being treated in Pennsylvania.
The case led to an increased focus on animal abuse in Baltimore and the creation of an Anti-Animal Abuse Taskforce.
In the first trial, a single juror held out against a guilty verdict, resulting in a hung jury.
Posted by John Woestendiek May 4th, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: abuse, abused, animal cruelty, animal welfare, baltimore, burned, dog, fire, mistrial, new trial, phoenix, pit bull, postponed, postponement, second, set on fire, torture, travers johnson, tremayne johnson, trial
Jurors in the trial of the twin brothers Travers and Tremayne Johnson — accused of setting a pit bull known as “Phoenix” on fire in the summer of 2009 — will resume their deliberations Monday.
They were sent home Friday, unable to come to a consensus after a day and a half on whether Travers and Tremayne Johnson should be found guilty of the crime, the Baltimore Sun reported.
Twice on Friday, the jurors told Baltimore Circuit Court Judge Lawrence P. Fletcher-Hill they were having trouble reaching a verdict. The judge urged them to continue deliberating.
“Do not hesitate to re-examine your view,” he said. “You should change your opinion if you are convinced you are wrong.”
The jury continued deliberating until about 6:30 p.m. before being excused for the weekend.
Posted by John Woestendiek February 6th, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: abuse, animal cruelty, animals, baltimore, brothers, burned, burning, deliberations, dogs, fire, guilty, innocent, jury, pets, phoenix, pit bull, pitbull, set on fire, torture, travers johnson, tremayne johnson, trial, twins
Baltimore police said Monday that two 17-year-old boys have been charged with multiple accounts of animal cruelty in connection with using lighter fluid to set a cat named Mittens on fire in Baltimore’s Central Park Heights neighborhood.
The owner of the cat, who lives on the 3300 block of St. Ambrose Ave., told police that the animal had been set on fire by her grandson and a friend.
A witness told police that the suspects brought the cat onto a rear, second-floor deck three weeks ago and and put a milk crate on top of the pet. They then poured lighter fluid through the openings in the crate and dropped a book of lit matches into the crate, police said.
Police said the cat howled, knocked the milk crate over and leapt from the balcony, running in circles until the flames went out.
Mittens recently had three kittens, and continues to nurse them in her new surroundings — at Baltimore Animal Rescue & Care Shelter (BARCS), where she is expected to survive her injuries.
Mittens’ ears were damaged as a result of the burns. She also sustained third- and fourth-degree burns on her back and side, according to BARCS.
Posted by John Woestendiek January 31st, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: abuse, animal cruelty, arrests, baltimore, boys, burned, cat, charges, condition, cruelty to animals, doused, fire, injuries, kittens, lighter fluid, milk crate, mittens, set on fire, teenagers, torture
As the case against two brothers accused of setting a pit bull named Phoenix on fire unfolds in a Baltimore courtroom, a cat named Mittens is nursing both her kittens and the wounds she received after being set on fire in the city.
It may not be raining abused cats and dogs, but this — one case entering the public consciousness before the other has a chance to clear it — is how a reputation gets made. And if Baltimore doesn’t do something — something big, something quick — it stands in danger of becoming known not as the city that reads, or even the city that bleeds, but the city that torches, and tortures, its pets.
Whether it deserves that label more than other cities is arguable. It’s also not the point. The point is the torture of animals is a big flashing neon sign, reading ”Address This Issue.” It’s a highly visible symptom of an illness in society that, even though it has been diagnosed, is largely being ignored.
Baltimore has no monopoly on animal torture — and it’s not the only city that’s failing to fully address it. In cities across the country there are pockets of misguided youths who have either failed to develop any compassion, may never have been taught any, or have had it snuffed out of them.
Attacking the problem is something that should be done not just for reasons of image, but, much more importantly, because it has been well documented that children who take pleasure in torturing pets often grow up to inflict harm on fellow humans. Pick a serial killer and you can, almost always, find animal abuse in his past.
If how a society treats its animals is a barometer of how civilized it is, Baltimore needs a massive injection of civility — stat — some large doses of empathy and compassion, best administered during childhood.
The saddest irony of it all is that animals are one of the best ways to administer that, to teach children a respect for all living things. Instead, dogs and cats, who we have so much to learn from about life, love and happiness, time and again in Baltimore are serving as the victims for those seeking sick thrills or acting out their inner hostilities.
Mittens, according to officials at Baltimore Animal Rescue & Care Shelter (BARCS), was placed into a milk crate by a juvenile who doused both the cat and the crate with lighter fluid, struck a match and threw it into the crate.
In flames, the cat broke free from the milk crate and ran from the yard, running in circles until the fire was extinguished, BARCS said. She then returned to the kittens she had recently given birth to at a home on Saint Ambrose Street. (St. Ambrose, for some more irony, is considered the patron saint of domestic animals.)
That incident came to light after the first day of testimony in the trial against teenage brothers Travers and Tremayne Johnson, who are accused of dousing Phoenix, a pit bull, with accelerant and setting her on fire on May 27, 2009.
On Friday, Baltimore city police detective Syreeta Teel tearfully described finding the pit bull on fire on a West Baltimore street and running from her squad car to smother the flames with a sweater.
Despite her quick and heartfelt response, one thing that’s becoming evident during the trial is that the police department doesn’t take torturing and killing animals as seriously as some other crimes.
Teel, according to testimony, left the sweater, which might have provided traces of accelerant, on the sidewalk. The scene was never secured, and the police crime lab was never called. “The Baltimore City Police Department completely botched this,” said Assistant Public Defender Karyn Meriwether, who represents one of the brothers.
The death of Phoenix drew national attention, leading to thousands of dollars in donations to a reward fund and the creation of a city-wide Anti-Animal Abuse Task Force, which issued a report last year that found numerous flaws in the city’s response — particularly that of law enforcement — to incidents of animal abuse.
According to a Baltimore Sun report, the prosecution’s evidence is limited in the Phoenix case, and relies largely on unclear surveillance video and the word of witnesses — including a woman who the defense says came forward once the reward topped $25,000.
Phoenix was burned over more than 95 percent of her body. Veterinarians would later find that her corneas had melted, and the inside of her mouth was scorched. She’d lost her footpads to the flames, but she kept fighting until, with her kidneys failing, she was put to sleep five days later.
“On a scale of one to 10,” her pain level was “10,” said a Pennsylvania veterinarian who treated her. Phoenix also had puncture wounds on her neck and leg, indicating she might have been in dog fights, but throughout her treatment she showed no aggression.
The Johnson brothers both were initially charged in juvenile court, but were later indicted as adults on the animal cruelty charges, which carry a maximum prison sentence of three years. Testimony is expected to continue this morning.
Animal advocates in Baltimore are watching the case closely, and hoping that, if found guilty, the twins receive the most severe punishment posible.
But as the weekend’s developments show, as Mittens reminds us, a strict sentence is not the entire solution. It’s reactive, and while it may send a needed message, the city needs to do more, in a proactive way. Investigating, arresting, prosecuting and imprisoning animal abusers all need to be done, and done properly, and taken seriously, but what’s even more vital is preventing it from happening in the first place.
Our favorite reader comment: ”Kindness and concern for animals is going to have to be taught in elementary school. It’s the only way to stop this problem in its tracks.”
To see all the comments on this post, click here.
Posted by John Woestendiek January 31st, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: abuse, abusers, animal, animal cruelty, animals, arrest, baltimore, baltimore animal rescue & care shelter, barcs, cat, cats, children, compassion, cruelty to animals, dogs, fire, image, juveniles, law enforcement, mittens, pets, phoenix, pit bull, prevention, prosecution, punishment, set on fire, task force, torture, travers johnson, tremayne johnson, trial, youth
The cat, and the kittens she recently gave birth to, were taken to Baltimore Animal Rescue and Care Shelter (BARCS) after police responded to a call in the 3300 block Saint Ambrose Street.
The cat, who has been nicknamed Mittens at the shelter, is suffering from burns on most of her body.
Witnesses told police that, earlier this month, a juvenile placed the cat in a milk crate on the back porch, doused the milk crate and the cat with lighter fluid and then struck a match and threw it in the crate.
In flames, the cat broke free from the milk crate and ran from the yard, running in circles until the fire was extinguished, BARCS said. She then returned home and hid under a table.
Police have not reported whether any arrests were made at the residence, which they said still smelled of singed skin when they arrived.
The cat and her kittens are residing in “Critter Care” at BARCS. Mittens has third and fourth degree burns. She is expected to survive, but will need long term treatment. It will be months before she is healed and her fur may not grow back
“This is another horrible case of animal abuse in Baltimore City, ” said Jennifer Brause, BARCS’ Executive Director. “Mittens is a wonderful cat, who despite her injuries is still caring for her kittens and is very affectionate to the staff.”
Mittens’ medical bills will be covered by BARCS’ Franky Fund, a fund that relies on donations from the public to pay the veterinarian and medical bills of injured animals that come to the shelter for care.
Donations to the Franky Fund are accepted through the BARCS website, or at the shelter, located at 301 Stockholm Street in South Baltimore (near M&T Bank Stadium).
Posted by John Woestendiek January 30th, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: abuse, animal cruelty, baltimore, baltimore animal rescue & care shelter, barcs, bills, burns, care, cat, cruelty to animals, degree, donations, doused, fire, fourth, franky fuknd, fur, juvenile, kittens, lighter fluid, mittens, mittens the cat, police, set on fire, skin, third, torture, veterinarian, veterinary, youth
A South Carolina woman says God advised her to hang and burn her nephew’s pit bull because it had chewed her Bible and was a “devil dog,” according to animal control officers.
Miriam Fowler Smith, 65, of Pacolet Mills, S.C., remained in jail Tuesday morning in Spartanburg County, charged with felony animal cruelty, the Charlotte Observer reported.
Smith’s nephew, Andy Fowler, said he originally thought his dog, Diamond, had broken its leash and got away. But when he confronted his aunt, officers said, she admitted killing the dog.
Officers searched the property around the house and said they found the dog’s burned body under a mound of leaves and grass.
The police report said officers found an orange extension cord wrapped around the dog’s neck and noticed a kerosene smell.
Smith was arrested Sunday and charged with one count of ill treatment of animals.
Posted by John Woestendiek January 25th, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: abuse, animal cruelty, animal welfare, animals, arrest, bible, burned, chew, chewed, chewing, cruelty to animals, devil dog, diamond, dog, dogs, extension cord, fire, hung, miriam fowler smith, pets, pit bull, pitbull, set on fire, south carolina, spartanburg, torture
The opening of the trial was postponed Friday due to courtroom scheduling problems. In addition, one of the suspects, Travers Johnson, who is in custody on unrelated attempted-murder charges, was not transported to court in time, the Baltimore Sun reported.
Pretrial motions will be heard, and jury selection is scheduled to begin, on Monday.
The brothers are accused of dousing a pit bull puppy with gasoline and setting her on fire in 2009. The dog, nicknamed Phoenix by its rescuers, struggled several days to survive, but had to be euthanized when her organs began to fail.
Judge Lawrence P. Fletcher-Hill is expected to assemble a larger-than-average pool of potential jurors in hopes of finding some not familar with the case, which received national attention.
According to the Sun, attorneys expect the trial to last between two and six days.
Defense motions have been filed to suppress Travers Johnson’s statement to police, and certain witness identifications. Additional motions raise issues with city surveillance videos, a witness who has expressed a desire to recant, and whether the prosecution can include references to the teens’ tattoos and alleged gang involvement.
The Baltimore Animal Rescue & Care Shelter (BARCS), which cared for Phoenix briefly, has asked animal advocates not to attend the trial as space is limited and ”too much representation from the animal community could potentially hurt Phoenix’s case.”
Instead, BARCS suggested supporters wait until after a verdict and, if the brothers are found guilty, that they attend the sentencing hearing.
“If there is a conviction in this case, community participation will be needed and appreciated at the sentencing hearing,” BARCS said in a letter to supporters. “We will notify the community of this hearing if indeed these defendants are found guilty.”
Posted by John Woestendiek January 23rd, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: abuse, animal cruelty, animal welfare, animals, baltimore, barcs, brothers, burned, burning, cruelty, cruelty to animals, death, dog, dogs, fire, gasoline, jury, killed, pets, phoenix, pit bull, pit bulls, pitbull, set on fire, torture, travers johnson, tremayne johnson, trial
Gun and drug charges against the Baltimore twins accused of setting a dog on fire were dropped this week.
The two still face animal cruelty and mutilation charges in a separate case accusing them of setting fire to a pit bull puppy, named Phoenix after her rescue.
Police searching the twins’ home during the animal cruelty investigation said they found a gun and some marijuana, leading to drugs and weapons charges against twin brothers Tremayne and Travers Johnson and their father.
Because of difficulties proving who owned the gun, prosecutors decided to drop all those charges and focus on the animal cruelty case, WJZ reported.
Phoenix was found on fire by a city police officer, who extinguished the flames with her jacket. The dog survived several days, but had to be euthanized.
The animal cruelty trial for the twins is scheduled for June.
Posted by John Woestendiek March 26th, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: abuse, animal cruelty, baltimore, burned, burning, charges, dog, dropped, drugs, firearms, gun, marijuana, news, ohmidog!, phoenix, pit bull, set on fire, travers johnson, tremayne johnson, twins
Gucci, the dog who helped make animal abuse a felony in Alabama, died Wednesday.
Doug James — Gucci’s rescuer and owner — said he made the difficult decision to euthanize the dog, who recently turned 16.
“I had dreaded it, and put if off for two or three days,” James, who lives in Mobile told the Times Daily. “His kidneys were failing him.”
James caught some youths torturing the chow-husky mix one night in 1994. The youths hanged the dog by his neck and set him on fire.
The incident triggered a campaign for animal rights that resulted in the Pet Protection Act, better known as the “Gucci Law,” in Alabama.
The act , making animal cruelty a felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison, was signed by then-Gov. Don Siegelman on May 19, 2000 – the sixth anniversary of the attack – as Gucci looked on.
Gucci’s celebrity continued after that, with appearances at schools, on ”The Maury Povich Show” and “Inside Edition.” He also played played “Sandy” in Mobile theatrical productions of “Little Orphan Annie.”
The dog was only 12 weeks old when he was beaten, hung in a tree by his neck, doused with lighter fluid and set on fire. Two of the three abusers received sentences of community service, while a third — the lone adult — was sentenced to six months in jail.
“If ever there was a dog that should hate people it should be Gucci, but he loved everyone,” said Brenda Cashdollar, vice president of Friends of the Mobile Animal Shelter.
Cashdollar told Al.com that Gucci was unable to walk by the time of his 15th birthday, but still wagged his tail in response to those who greeted him. A party planned to mark his 16th birthday Saturday at B&B Pet Stop in Mobile will now serve as a memorial event, organizers said.
Gucci will be cremated, James said, and his ashes will be placed in a memorial garden planned at the Mobile Animal Shelter.
Posted by John Woestendiek March 26th, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: abused, alabama, animal abuse, animal cruelty, animals, chow, cremated, dead, death, died, dogs, doug james, euthanized, felony, gucci, gucci law, hung, husky, memorial, mix, mobile, mobile animal shelter, mutt, news, ohmidog!, pet protection act, pets, set on fire, tortured
Adoption offers and donations have been pouring in for two dogs whose owner set them on fire in Indianapolis because they bit her, police said.
Kathrine Brotherton, 35, told police that she wanted to kill her 5-year-old dog and 6-month-old puppy in the most humane way possible after they bit her hand. Police say she put the dogs in a 55-gallon drum, covered them with gasoline and then set them on fire.
The puppy, named Jake, was burned over 85 percent of his body, while 5-year-old Boomer was also burned, 6 News in Indianapolis reported
“Jake’s coming along,” said Johnson County Animal Control Director Michael Delp, who called the case the worst he’d ever seen. “He’s getting stronger each day. He is eating well, and that’s a good sign.”
The Johnson County Animal Shelter has received more than 400 calls from people hoping to adopt the dogs, while others contributed to their care. Both dogs are expected to make full recoveries.
Brotherton was charged with felony animal cruelty and was being held at the Johnson County Jail. Her parents told Fox News that their daughter suffered from mental problems.
Posted by John Woestendiek March 22nd, 2010 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: abuse, adopt, adoption, animal control, animal cruelty, animals, arrest, boomer, burned, charged, dogs, donations, fire, gasoline, jake, johnson county, katherine brotherton, mental problems, news, offers, pets, puppy, recovery, set on fire