As early as this summer, the Yamhill County District Attorney’s office may take possession of the state’s first “courthouse dog.”
District Attorney Brad Berry received word in December that the county is in line to receive the dog from Canine Companions for Independence, a nonprofit organization in Santa Rosa, California.
Courthouse dogs sit beside witnesses who might be reluctant or fearful, such as victims of child abuse, and help provide a calm and reassuring presence during stressful situations.
“It takes just a few minutes of observing one of these amazing dogs with a victim to understand what an extraordinary benefit it is,” Berry said. “Watching as the dog lays its head on a child’s lap — the child almost unconsciously stroking it — while talking about difficult topics, leaves no doubt as to the soothing effect this can have.”
Courthouse dogs are also on the job in several other states.
Berry said the county has been told it could receive a dog sometime between May and August.
“We have worked diligently to show CCI (Canine Companions for Independence) not only the need for such an amazing animal in Yamhill County, but that we are ready to receive one and immediately put it to use with victims of crime, especially the most vulnerable victims in our system.”
Posted by jwoestendiek January 30th, 2013 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, brad berry, calming, canine companions for independence, child abuse, court, courthouse dogs, district attorney, dogs, oregon, pets, support, testimony, therapy, victims, witnesses, yamhill county
A roommate of accused serial dog killer Andrew Thompson testified that at least eight Italian greyhounds mysteriously disappeared from their house, and that one of them died as he and Thompson watched.
Thompson, a former Michigan State University medical student, is charged with torturing and killing more than a dozen dogs in two different jurisdictions.
After a preliminary hearing Thursday, a judge ordered Thompson’s case in Meridian Township back to circuit court where he’ll face trial on nine felony counts of animal abuse, WLNS reported.
MSU student Jacob Dreyer testified that he saw Thompson throw one dog across the room, watched Thompson carry another one’s body outside in a garbage bag, and watched as yet another one died.
“It was hyperventilating, trying to catch a breath. At that time I grabbed my laptop and we were trying to look up an emergency vet and within minutes the first dog had died,” he said.
Dreyer said another dog was thrown by Thompson after it bit his face.
“He took the dog and threw it clear across the room and it went and hid behind the TV. It was shaking and whimpering,” the roommate testified.
A third dog was left in the home for “a day or two” before Thompson removed it, he said. “I did see the third dog dead on the floor. I spoke with him multiple times to take care of the deceased body.”
Dreyer said he told no one except his girlfriend and parents about the incident, because he was afraid of what Thompson might do.
Upon hearing Dreyer’s testimony, a District Judge Donald Allen ruled there was enough evidence to take the case to trial and reinstated six of the seven felony counts that a circuit judge threw out.
In all, Thompson, accused of killing dogs at residences in two different jurisdictions, faces 13 counts of animal killing and torture.
Seven counts in the Meridian Township case previously had been sent back to district court after a circuit court judge ruled previous testimony by one of Thompson’s friends was inadmissable. The friend was unable to appear at the initial preliminary hearing.
Thompson, who has been suspended from MSU’s College of Osteopathic Medicine, still faces three charges in East Lansing in connection with the alleged killing of three other dogs there.
According to the State News, Dreyer told the court that Thompson would give newly acquired dogs the same names as his former ones, including two different greyhounds named Chloe, and three who went by Angie or Angelino.
Thompson has been free on $50,000 bond and staying with friends in Okemos, where he is under a curfew and wears a monitor.
Posted by jwoestendiek December 23rd, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: andrew david thompson, andrew thompson, animal cruelty, charges, court, cruelty to animals, deaths, east lansing, italian greyhounds, jacob dreyer, killings, medical, meridian, michigan state university, okemos, preliminary hearing, reinstated, student, testimony, torture
Ohio lawmakers were encouraged this week to repeal a nearly 25-year-old law that singles out pit bulls as vicious — not based on their behavior, but on their bloodlines, or sometimes just their suspected bloodlines.
Dr. Linda Lord, president of the Ohio Veterinary Medical Association, was one of five who gave testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee, urging an end to the state’s restrictions against pit bulls, the Toledo Blade reported.
“The effective control of vicious animals is in the best interest of the state. However, current law placing restrictions on one specific type of dog is contrary to actually addressing the problem of aggressive canine behavior,” Dr. Lord said.
“Placing arbitrary limitations on the ownership of a specific type of dog only serves to create a stigma and place undue burdens on responsible animal owners.”
Dr. Lord told legislators that in her years of practice, she was more fearful of being bitten by dachshunds than by any so-called pit bull breed.
A bill to repeal the pit bull restrictions passed the House last spring. The Senate Judiciary chairman has tentatively scheduled a committee vote for January, according to The Blade.
Under Ohio’s current law, a dog can be labeled “vicious” if it has killed or seriously injured a person, killed another dog, or is a pit bull. Under House Bill 14, the definitions would be revised, and all breed-specific language would be removed.
Several Ohio cities that once banned pit bulls have lifted their restrictions, but repealing the state law has yet to be accomplished.
Five other witnesses testified earlier this week in favor of repealing the law.
Posted by jwoestendiek December 15th, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, ban, breed, breed-specific, breeds, committee, dachshunds, dogs, judiciary, legislation, linda lord, ohio, ohio veterinary medical association, pets, pit bull, pit bulls, pitbulls, repeal, senate, stigma, testimony, vicious
The trial of Andrew David Thompson, intially accused of killing 13 Italian greyhounds — now officially charged with only six of those deaths – has been indefinitely postponed.
Judge Paula Manderfield quashed seven of the 13 counts of animal killing and torture against the former Michigan State University medical student on Wednesday, ruling they were based on hearsay testimony.
As a result, prosecutors are regrouping, and the Dec. 5 start date for his trial is up in the air.
The evidence in question regards the number of puppies Thompson owned while living in one of the two residences where he was alleged to have killed the dogs.
Ingham County Animal Cruelty Investigator Jodi LeBombard interviewed Thompson’s former roommate, who told her he knew of seven dogs Thompson had owned while they shared a residence. LeBombard recounted what the roommate said in an earlier hearing.
In a pre-trial motion, Thompson’s attorney argued that — since the roommate was out of town and didn’t appear in court — LeBombard’s testimony was hearsay and shouldn’t have been deemed inadmissable.
Judge Manderfield concurred and quashed seven of the 13 counts Thompson faced.
As of Wednesday evening, Ingham County Prosecutor Stuart Dunnings had not decided whether to appeal the ruling or send the counts back to district court so the roommate can testify, the State News reported.
Posted by jwoestendiek December 2nd, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: $13, abuse, andrew david thompson, andrew thompson, animal control, animal cruelty, beaten, charges, italian greyhounds, judge, killed, medical, michigan state university, motion, postponed, pre trial, quashed, student, testimony, torture, trial
That question may be headed to New York state’s highest court in a case in which the state’s first judicially approved courtroom dog sat in the witness box with a 15-year-old girl as she testified that her father raped and impregnated her.
The father went on to be convicted, but defense lawyers are appealing, saying that the courtroom dog — a golden retriever named Rosie — may have swayed jurors, according to a report in The New York Times.
Rosie is a therapy dog who specializes in comforting children and other vulnerable witnesses and victims – one of a growing number of which are being used by prosecutors to put crime victims at ease. They’ve been allowed in courtrooms in Arizona, Hawaii, Indiana, Idaho and other states.
Defense lawyers argue that the dogs may unfairly sway jurors with their cuteness, that they can evoke sympathy for a victim, and that they can even be seen by some as a reason to trust the human they’re alongside.
The new witness-stand role for dogs in a handful of states began in 2003, when the prosecution won permission to use a dog named Jeeter in a sexual assault case in Seattle.
In a ruling in June that allowed Rosie to accompany the teenage rape victim, Dutchess County Court judge Stephen L. Greller said the teenager was traumatized and the defendant, Victor Tohom, appeared threatening. Greller ruled that Rosie was similar to the teddy bear that a New York state appeals court said in 1994 could accompany a child witness.
At least once when the teenager hesitated in Judge Greller’s courtroom, Rosie rose and seemed to push the girl gently with her nose.
Lawyers for the father, who was convicted and sentenced to 25 years to life, have raised a series of objections that they say seem likely to land the case in New York’s highest court. They argue that jurors are likely to conclude that the dog is helping victims expose the truth.
Rosie’s presence “infected the trial with such unfairness” that it constituted a violation of their client’s constitutional rights.
Since that case, Rosie has been busy, the Times reports. She spent recent weeks with two girls, ages 5 and 11, who were getting ready to testify against the man accused of murder in the stabbing of their mother.
Posted by jwoestendiek August 8th, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: 15 year old, appeal, comfort, convicted, courtroom dog, criminal, defendant, defense, dutchess county, father, judge, jurors, new york, rape, rose, rosie, stephen greller, sway, symbols, sympathy, testimony, therapy dogs, trials, trust, truth, unfair, victim, victor tohom, witness stand
Shortly before his arrest, medical student Andrew David Thompson told a friend that killing Italian greyhound puppies became a “vicious cycle,” according to testimony at Thompson’s preliminary hearing.
Thompson said he would get frustrated with the dogs, “punish them, and go too far,” Robert Albers, testified Thursday. “I believe he described it like a vicious cycle he couldn’t get out of.”
Thompson, who has been suspended from Michigan State University’s osteopathic medicine school, killed at least 12 Italian greyhound puppies between September 2010 and June, according to prosecutors.
Also testifying yesteray was Deputy Jodi LeBombard, seen in the Lansing State Journal video above.
She said Thompson told her he killed one of the dogs, Bentley, after he urinated in his bed, by throwing him against the wall. He disposed of Bentley, like the others, by putting him in a trash bag and tossing him in a Dumpster.
Thompson will stand trial in Ingham County Circuit Court on a total of 13 felony counts of animal killing or torture and one misdemeanor count of animal cruelty — ten of them in connection with dogs allegedly killed at his apartment in Okemos.
Thompson also is charged in a separate case with killing or torturing three dogs at an East Lansing condominium, where he lived for about a month last September. A preliminary hearing in that case was held last week.
(To see all our posts about this case, click here.)
Posted by jwoestendiek August 5th, 2011 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: andrew david thompson, animal cruelty, cruelty to animals, east lansing, ingham county, italian greyhounds, killed, lansing, medical student, michigan, michigan state university, murdered, okemos, preliminary hearing, testimony, video
The roomate of Andrew David Thompson, the former medical student accused of killing 13 Italian greyhounds, said Thompson told her the first one “kind of strangled itself in its sleep.”
When the next two died — both, like the first, also named Kensington — Chelsea Grimes says she became suspicious.
Grimes testified today during a preliminary hearing in East Lansing, one of two jurisdictions in which Thompson faces charges of killing a series of Italian greyhounds.
Grimes said Thompson, 24, sent her a cell phone photo of the first Kensington, but that by the time she moved in, on Labor Day of last year, the dog was gone.
Thompson, she testified, said he’d wrapped the dog in a blanket before going to sleep. “He said the dog had kind of strangled itself it its sleep.”
Grimes, a veterinary medicine student at Michigan State University, said she found the first death peculiar, the Lansing State Journal reported today. When two more Italian greyhound puppies disappeared that month under unusual circumstances, she grew more suspicious, and at one point searched his room.
In earlier testimony (see the video below), Ingham County Animal Control Deputy Jodi LeBombard testified, Thompson, said he killed the first puppy by slamming it against the wall. He said he was angry because the dog had urinated in his bedroom.
Thompson, who has been suspended by Michgan State University, was ordered to stand trial on charges he killed or tortured three Italian greyhound puppies in East Lansing. He faces up to four years in prison if convicted of those charges.
He is charged with killing ten more dogs in Mason, while living in a different apartment. A preliminary hearing in that case is set for next week.
Posted by jwoestendiek July 29th, 2011 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: andrew david thompson, andrew thompson, animal control, animal cruelty, animals, charges, court, crime, dogs, east lansing, ingham country, italian greyhound, jodi lebombard, kensington, killing, mason, pets, preliminary hearing, serial killing, slamming, testimony, video, wall
Closing arguments are expected to conclude Thursday, at which point the jury begins deliberations. The twins, now 19, each face a maximum sentence of three years in prison if convicted of animal cruelty.
After testimony from 10 prosecution witnesses, the defense presented only one, WBAL reported – a fire protection engineer who characterized earlier testimony that an accelerant was found on two pairs of jeans a backpack and sneakers taken from the Johnson home as inconclusive and incomplete
The defense witness said tests on the collar of the dog, named Phoenix, were also inconclusive and didn’t detect any particular ignitable substance.
Posted by jwoestendiek February 2nd, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: abuse, accelerant, animal cruelty, animal welfare, animals, baltimore, burned, dog, doused, fire, gasoline, pets, phoenix, pit bull, pitbull, testimony, torture, travers johnson, tremayne johnson, trial
A witness, bluntly acknowledging that she came forward only because an award was offered, said she saw Travers and Tremayne Johnson run “from the scene of the crime” seconds after a pit bull puppy was set on fire.
Tiera Goodman, who is jailed in an unrelated case, testified today in the twins’ trial in Baltimore on animal cruelty charges.
“I know what I saw, I just didn’t care until I seen the reward,” Goodman said, explaining why she waited six days before approaching police about the pit bull who was set on fire in the the summer of 2009.
Goodman stands to gain thousands of dollars in reward money that was collected after the dog, nicknamed “Phoenix,” after five days of suffering, was euthanized. About $28,000 in donations were taken in for the reward, which will be paid if there’s a conviction in the case, the Baltimore Sun reported.
Prosecutors today showed video from a city surveillance camera, showing the street scene minutes before the attack in late May.
As narrated in court by Sgt. Jarron Jackson, the video showed a man call the dog, then walk her over to two other men standing on the corner. While the footage is fuzzy, Jackson identified the two males as the Johnson brothers, based partly on their mannerisms, he said.
Jackson said the video shows Travers kicking the dog before taking her to an alley and disappearing from the camera’s view. Seven minutes later, the brothers ran out of the alley, and seconds later the burning dog appeared.
Goodman told the courtroom she left the scene when police arrived, and came forward only “because there was a reward. It’s posted all over the projects.”
Posted by jwoestendiek January 31st, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animal cruelty, animals, baltimore, brothers, burned, cruelty to animals, dog, dogs, doused, fire, gasoline, johnson, pets, phoenix, pit bull, pitbull, reward, testimony, tiera goodman, torture abuse, travers, tremayne, trial, twins, witness
The sight of a puppy stuck to the side of a refrigerator with packing type left a Boulder police officer so “caught off-guard” that he momentarily lost control of the scene he was there to investigate.
“I see this thing and it doesn’t register as a dog to me. “I’m looking at it and I see it starts to move,” Officer Rick French testified during the first day of Abby Toll’s felony animal cruelty trial in Colorado.
French described the early-morning hours of April 14, 2009 — a year ago today — when he responded to a report of a couple fighting at a Boulder apartment.
He testified that he was in the middle of interviewing Toll’s boyfriend, Bryan Beck, when Toll began to pull the animal — then named Rex — off the fridge in a “brusque and abrupt” manner.
“I’m not going to have this dog torn down and hurt any more than it appeared it already was,” the officer said. He stopped her and took the dog down himself.
French was one of only two witnesses called by the prosecution Monday in what is expected to be a three-day trial, according to the Boulder Daily Camera. Prosecutors rested their case at the end of the day.
Toll, 21, a former University of Colorado student, is being tried on a felony charge of aggravated cruelty to animals. Her attorney told the jury of seven men and six women that his client was a victim of domestic violence.
“This bizarre behavior by Abby was taking place at the same time Mr. Beck was not allowing her to leave the apartment,” he said.
Prosecutor David Cheval told the jury the case was one of deliberate animal abuse fueled by Toll’s jealous perception that her boyfriend cared more about his dog than he did about her.
Cheval said the defendant took her time gathering up hair ties, scissors and tape at Beck’s apartment in preparation for binding up the 8-month-old puppy.
“She collected her tools, her tools of torture,” Cheval said.
Toll systematically bound the dog’s feet, tail and snout with the hair ties and then wrapped the animal in packaging tape before taping him to the fridge upside-down, Cheval said.
“Think about the time, the effort, and the deliberate effort it would take to do that act,” he said to the jury. “Is that torture?”
Rex showed obvious signs of pain as he was set free from his “tomb of tape,” French testified.
The dog has since been adopted.
(Photo: Boulder Daily Camera / Paul Aiken)
Posted by jwoestendiek April 14th, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: abby toll, animal cruelty, animals, boulder, bryan beck, colorado, court, cruelty, david cheval, dog, dogs, ohmidog!, packing tape, pets, refrigerator, rex, stuck, student, tape, taped, testimony, torture, trial, university of colorado