An Alabama state board denied parole this week to a man convicted of spraying a dog with lighter fluid, setting him on fire and beating him with a shovel.
The star witness at the hearing? The victim himself — Louis Vuitton, an 8-year-old pit bull who, now in the care of a local couple that adopted him, still bears burn scars over much of his body. The dog was led into the hearing room, consenting to being petted along the way.
The board voted 3-0 to deny early release to 23-year-old Juan Daniels of Montgomery, who was sentenced in 2009 to nine years and six months in prison, according to the Associated Press. The sentence was a record in Alabama in an animal cruelty case.
It’s believed to have been the first appearance by a dog at an Alabama Board of Pardons and Paroles hearing. “I don’t recall every having one here before,” said Cynthia Dillard, the board’s executive director.
Daniels’ family and supporters aruged that he had been sentenced far more harshly than criminals who harm human beings.
After the September 2007 attack on the dog, the Montgomery Humane Society got as many as 50 calls a day about the case, some from other countries.
The dog was named “Louis Vuitton,” in honor of another abused dog, named “Gucci,” whose torture case in Mobile in 1994 led to passage of “Gucci’s law,” which made animal cruelty a felony in Alabama.
More than 60 law enforcement officers, animal rights advocates and other supporters of Louis crowded into the hearing, where Montgomery County District Attrney Ellen Brooks asked parole board members to make Daniels serve his entire sentence.
She said he tortured the dog, which belonged to his mother, because he was angry at her for not letting him use the car.
Daniels will be eligible for another parole hearing in July 2012.
Posted by John Woestendiek August 26th, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: abused, adopt, alabama, animal cruelty, animals, appearance, beaten, board, courts, crime, cruelty, cruelty to animals, denied, denies, deny, dogs, felony, fire, gucci, juan daniels, lighter fluid, lit, louis, louis vuitton, montgomery, parole, pets, pit bull, pit bulls, pitbull, pitbulls, record, rescue, sentence, shelter, shovel, tortured, witness
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)
Posted by John Woestendiek June 24th, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: abuse, animal cruelty, animal welfare, animals, bev perdue, burned, class h, dog, dosie, felony, governor, greensboro, jail, killing, law, lawshawn whitehead, legislation, mix, north carolina, pawprint, pets, pit bull, probation, punishment, sentence, signs, susie, susie's law, torture, tortured, zipper
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
“I don’t get it,” Steven Clay Romero said when ordered held without bond yesterday on charges of killing a dog by dragging it behind a pickup truck for two miles at the Colorado National Monument.
Here’s hoping, if convicted, he does get it — and all else he might deserve.
Romero, 37, of Fruita, Colo., is scheduled for a detention hearing and arraignment Monday afternoon.
Upon Romero’s expression of bewilderment, Assistant U.S. Attorney Michelle Heldmyer rose from her seat at the bail hearing, walked toward Romero and tossed a copy of the charges on the table in front of him, according to the Grand Junction Daily Sentinel.
Romero, who told U.S. Magistrate Judge Laird Milburn that he is a truck driver, expressed concern about sitting in jail over the weekend.
“So, in other words I’ll be sitting in jail and probably lose my job, too?” Romero asked Milburn.
“Yes,” the judge answered.
According to an arrest affidavit, after the dogs dragged body was found, a review of video surveillance at a park entrance showed a double-cab pickup entering the park early Wednesday with a dog and exiting 12 minutes later without one.
The affidavit said the dog, a shepherd-blue heeler mix named Buddy, had been stolen in Delta by an associate of Romero’s and taken to a home in Fruita where Romero was staying.
A resident of Delta recognized the dog from a photo of his body online and contacted authorities. A witness to the dog’s theft provided officials with a license plate number, which led them to a home in Fruita where Romero was staying. National Park Service rangers went to the Fruita home and found paw prints in the snow in the front yard and rope similar to that used to tie the dog to the truck.
The rangers interviewed Romero’s sister, who told them Romero said he was going to kill the dog. “She stated he left with the dog late last night and returned home a half hour later without it,” the affidavit said. The affidavit makes no mention of a motive for killing the dog.
A news release from monument officials said Romero was arrested Thursday morning at the Mesa County Justice Center after he appeared for an unrelated criminal case. He faces a maximum three years in prison, a fine up to $100,000 and a year of mandatory parole if convicted on a federal charge of felony cruelty to animals.
Romero was arrested six times in the past seven years by police in Montrose and Grand Junction on a variety of charges, including weapons offenses, traffic violations and drug distribution, according to court records.
(For subsequent posts and all of our coverage of Buddy, click here.)
Posted by John Woestendiek January 1st, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, arrested, blue heeler, buddy, colorado, colorado national monument, cruelty, delta, dog, dragged, fruita, i don't get it, jail, killed, park, pickup, shepherd, steven clay romero, surveillance, tortured, truck, two miles, video
The Mayor’s Anti-Animal Abuse Task Force will hold its first public meeting next Wednesday (Sept. 16).
The task force invites members of the public to attend and voice their concerns about animal abuse in Baltimore. The meeting starts at 6 p.m. in the auditorium of Baltimore Polytechnic Institute, 1400 W. Coldspring Lane.
The meeting is scheduled to last two and a half hours, and those wishing to speak are asked to sign in when they arrive.
The newly formed task force, because it has just begun its work, won’t be answering questions, said Caroline A. Griffin, task force chairperson. Instead, the meeting is intended to allow the public to express their comments and concerns regarding animal abuse in Baltimore.
The task force was appointed by Mayor Sheila Dixon in the wake of several highly publicized cases of animal cruelty. It includes representatives from city offices, the police, the state’s attorney’s office, animal welfare organizations and city residents.
The task force will assess the effectiveness of Baltimore’s cruelty laws, brainstorm ways to raise awareness of animal abuse and consider ways city agencies and animal advocates can better coordinate their efforts.
After a year of study, it will issue recommendations to the mayor.
In May, someone doused a pit bull puppy with gasoline and set it on fire in Southwest Baltimore. The dog, who came to be known as Phoenix, had to be euthanized. A reward fund of $26,000 was raised, leading to the arrest of twins, who were charged as juveniles. In June, two cats were found within two weeks in the same Northwest Baltimore neighborhood, burned, beaten and tied to a school fence. In August, a cat was set on fire twice in a West Baltimore neighborhood.
Posted by John Woestendiek September 9th, 2009 under Muttsblog.
Tags: abuse, animal, anti-animal abuse, baltimore, burned, caroline a. griffin, cat, cats, city, cruelty, dog, fire, laws, mayor, meeting, phoenix, public, sheila dixon, task force, tortured
The Booster — an Internet conglomeration of recycled news from Baltimore area newspapers — reports that three men were arrested and charged with animal cruelty Thursday after they allegedly tortured a cat in a microwave, then put it in a freezer, then tossed it into a river.
Kevin Abel, 19, Scott McDowell, 18, and Richard Rioux, 25, were all arrested last week in connection with the cat’s death, which occurred July 31 in the Edgemere area, according to Bill Toohey, a Baltimore County police spokesman.
Abel, who lives in White Marsh, was house sitting for a friend when he apparently invited the other two men over.
Toohey said the cat was spun on the floor, beaten, placed on ceiling fan, put in the microwave, and closed in the freezer before being placed in a bag with rocks and tossed into Back River, off Lynch Point.
The next day, the owner of the cat — whose identity wasn’t revealed — was informed by McDowell that the animal was dead. All three men were intoxicated at the time of the incident, Toohey said.
Abel, Rioux, of White Marsh, and McDowell, of Sparrows Point, were all charged with animal cruelty. A hearing for all three is scheduled for 1 p.m. on Oct. 29 in District Court in Essex.
Posted by John Woestendiek August 15th, 2009 under Muttsblog.
Tags: abuse, animal cruelty, animals, arrests, baltimore county, cat, ceiling fan, dead, drowned, edgemere, freezer, killeld, microwave, pets, police, river, sparrows point, torture, tortured, white marsh
My most favorite football team is now my least favorite football team: The Philadelphia Eagles have signed Michael Vick to a two-year contract.
The Philadelphia Eagles signed the disgraced quarterback — who just months ago completed his 18-month sentence for dogfighting — to a one-year deal with an option for a second year, ESPN reports.
“I think everybody deserves a second chance,” Vick said Friday, a day after signing the deal, according to the Associated Press. “We all have issues, we all deal with certain things and we all have our own set of inequities. I think as long as you are willing to come back and do it the right way and do the right things and that you’re committed, then I think you deserve it. But you only get one shot at a second chance, and I am conscious of that.”
Angry fans brought dogs and waited outside the team’s practice facility, carrying signs and banners to display their outrage.
“How could they sign Michael Vick?” said Mark Pascetta of Ridley Township. “They are supposed to be a character team. We don’t need him.”
Within hours of the announcement, Michael Vick Eagles jerseys were on sale — everywhere from the NFL’s website to that of CBS — and calls for a boycott of the Eagles were being mounted on Facebook and other websites.
Vicks will earn $1.6 million under the first year of the contract, with the second-year option worth $5.2 million. Vick can also earn an additional $3 million in incentives over the two years of the contract, ESPN reported.
The Eagles were reportedly not the first team to extend an offer to Vick. Fox Sports reported that the Cincinnati Bengals first offered Vick a two-year deal worth about $2.3 million.
Posted by John Woestendiek August 14th, 2009 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animal welfare, boycott, contract, conviction, dogfighting, dogs, eagles, football, humane society, killed, michael vick, nfl, outrage, pennsylvania, peta, philadelphia, philadelphia eagles, remorse, sentence, sign, tortured, vick