Dog Abusing City’s ACO Charged with Cruelty

The city of Winnfield, LA is home to Uncle Earl’s Hog Dog Trials – an annual event where dogs are turned loose in an enclosure with wild hogs whose tusks have been removed. The length of time it takes the dog to pin down and/or maim the hog determines the winner. Winnfield proudly advertises the blood sport on its website, describing the event as the “Super Bowl” of hog dog rodeos.

Although Winnfield’s city website does not mention an animal control officer, it apparently has one.  Or had – as the last one is currently in jail, charged with animal cruelty.  Former Winnfield ACO Eva Wise allegedly stopped paying rent in October 2013.  At that time, her landlord, who was preparing to evict her, received a phone call from the Heart of Louisiana Humane Society requesting permission to access the property for a cruelty investigation.

Wise had allegedly left 9 dogs on the property she abandoned, chained without food or water along with 8 dogs and a litter of puppies on another property one mile away.  Two of the dogs were already dead and the rest were reportedly in such bad shape, all but two were euthanized on site.

The landlord, Jennifer Johnson, says she asked Wise why the dogs had been left to starve to death:

“She just said that she couldn’t hardly afford to feed herself, much less the animals and she had said that she had told some of her husband’s family they needed to come get the dogs because she had apparently up and left and this had been for several weeks,” said Johnson.

Although the dogs were discovered in October 2013, Wise was not arrested until February 28, 2014.  Law enforcement declined to explain the reason for the lengthy delay.  She has since pleaded not guilty to seven counts of aggravated cruelty to animals.  Her court date has been set for July 28.  One of the two surviving dogs has an adoption application pending and the other is available for adoption.

City of Winnfield, this is your wake-up call. Stop being proud of hurting dogs and start attracting a different element in your animal control department.  Every dog has the right to live, to love and to be loved.  Advertise that.

(Thank you Clarice for sending me this story.)

We Interrupt Your Celebratory Michael Vick News for This Reminder

As football fans swoon with the news that the NY Jets have signed Michael Vick and he may be a starting quarterback next season instead of a backup, I thought I’d just take a moment to remind the internet that Michael Vick tortured and killed dogs, was never charged with animal cruelty for those crimes and never served a day in jail for them.  Vick pleaded guilty to one count of Conspiracy to Travel in Interstate Commerce in Aid of Unlawful Activities and to Sponsor a Dog in an Animal Fighting Venture in 2008.  The animal cruelty charge was dropped in the plea agreement.  Do not peddle your “He’s paid for his crimes” excuse here.

At the time, the Humane Society of the United States had harsh words regarding Vick’s slap on the wrist from the state of VA which added no time to his 23 month federal sentence:

The Humane Society of the United States said it wished that Vick’s sentence was stiffer.

“We had hoped that the Commonwealth of Virginia would send a stronger message that dogfighting crimes are cruel and unacceptable,” Michael Markarian, the executive vice president of the Humane Society, said in a statement. “Nevertheless, Michael Vick is already paying his debt to society with a federal prison sentence, and his example has demonstrated to people across the country that dogfighting is a dead-end activity that can jeopardize your freedom and your future.”

Of course that was before HSUS saw dollar signs and partnered with Vick to whitewash his image.

Some of us were never fooled and still remember.

An excerpt from Jim Gorant’s book The Lost Dogs:

Vick and friends had not simply eliminated these [failed fighting] dogs with a cold efficiency, they’d beaten them first.  The revelation added another layer of brutality to the already nasty case.

And then there was one last body that stood out from the rest.  It had signs of bruising on all four ankles and all along one side.  Its skull was fractured in two places and it had four broken vertebrae.  Brownie had said that all of the dogs that didn’t die from being hanged were drowned, except one.

As that dog lay on the ground fighting for air, Quanis Phillips grabbed its front legs and Michael Vick grabbed its hind legs.  They swung the dog over their head like a jump rope then slammed it to the ground.  The first impact didn’t kill it.  So Phillips and Vick slammed it again.  The two men kept at it, alternating back and forth, pounding the creature against the ground, until at last, the little red dog was dead.

Number of days in prison Michael Vick served for torturing and killing “underperforming” dogs?  Zero.  Number of animal cruelty convictions on his record?  Zero.  The value of Vick’s one year contract with the Eagles last year?  10 million dollars.

Buffalo Seizes Four Dogs from City Employee, Loses One

In December 2013, Shanon Richardson was arrested and charged with felony and misdemeanor animal cruelty charges in connection with allegations of dogfighting.  Four pitbulls were seized from his home:

Police accused Richardson of failure to provide proper shelter for two of the dogs. There was also evidence of training or breeding dogs to fight, including a treadmill in the basement of the home and “weights for the animals necks.

Bite sticks, hormone growth pills, needles with injectable fluids, which was used and intended to use for training, preparations, conditioning,” according to court documents.

Earlier this month, one of the four seized dogs being held at the city shelter was stolen:

A volunteer at the Buffalo Animal Shelter told News 4′s Lou Raguse the missing dog was being kept in a section of the shelter accessible to the public.

Richardson is currently suspended from his job with the city of Buffalo and ordered to have no contact with animals.  A plea deal was rumored to be in the works which would allow Richardson to plead to lesser charges.  The case was slated to go to a grand jury and no additional updates appear to be available.  Police are reportedly investigating how the missing dog was lost on the city shelter’s watch.

NJ SPCA Finally Takes Action to Help Animals at Troubled Hunterdon Co Shelter

The Hunterdon Humane Shelter contracts with several NJ municipalities to perform animal control services.  There have been public allegations of wrongdoing against the shelter for more than a decade.  During this time, the shelter’s bank account has continued to expand.   Hunterdon Humane is now a very wealthy organization but appears to have spent only a small portion of its money on animal care:

By the end of 2012 the organization’s net assets surpassed $5 million.

For the year 2012, gross revenues were more than $1.2 million, but expenses were only $436,757.

Of those expenses listed, only about $58,000 was specified as being for “animal care.”

Earlier this month, Hunterdon Humane’s president and director, Theresa Carlson, was charged with 18 counts of animal cruelty in connection with 9 shelter cats for whom she allegedly failed to provide proper sustenance.  The charges stem from an investigation conducted in August 2013 by the county prosecutor’s office and the NJ SPCA. As part of the investigation, search warrants were executed at both the shelter and a nearby vet clinic, which has remained unnamed. Two pigs were found in “deplorable condition” at the shelter along with a number of seriously ill cats:

Two veterinarians working along with NJSPCA officers determined that 17 cats were in need of immediate emergency veterinary care. Those 17 cats were transported to an animal hospital in the Flemington area. Four of the cats were in such poor condition that they needed to be humanely euthanized.

The NJ SPCA has extensive familiarity with the troubled Hunterdon shelter:

Hunterdon Humane Animal Shelter was previously the Hunterdon County SPCA, but the state SPCA revoked its charter in 2004. That action came after the local chapter failed to enforce animal cruelty laws by not prosecuting former Nets basketball star Jayson Williams, then an Alexandria resident , for allegedly shooting his Rottweiler after losing a bet.

The NJ SPCA had heard testimony from multiple witnesses at a hearing in 2004 regarding the revocation of Hunterdon’s charter:

Conditions at the county SPCA shelter in Mt. Pleasant were discussed by former employees, who said the cats were overcrowded and sick animals were allowed to mix with healthy ones. A state SPCA investigator testified similarly about conditions at the shelter and said hygiene management was poor when he was there.

The NJ SPCA continued to hear testimony from more witnesses at an appeals hearing in 2005:

At the hearing, witnesses testified that donations were made for specific items that were never purchased, and requests for expenditures on facility repairs, or additional food or equipment for the care of the animals were denied.

nj spcaExcept for the NJ SPCA revoking Hunterdon’s charter in 2004, causing the organization to transfer its assets and change its name to Hunterdon Humane, no action was taken.    Then NJ SPCA President Stuart Rhodes reportedly said at the time he would consider filing charges against the shelter but that never happened.  Concerned citizens appealed directly to Hunterdon’s board in 2008, without result.

Even after the 2013 raid, no charges were filed until January 2014 and no explanation was given for the delay.  But the NJ SPCA moved swiftly to gain control of the Hunterdon shelter, filing a petition with the courts immediately after the January 14 arrest.  The petition was granted January 15.  The animals will hopefully now receive the help they have long needed and deserved.  The NJ SPCA indicated resources and services are coming from national animal welfare groups including American Humane and Petsmart Charities, with a number of additional grants having been sought by NJ SPCA, “to assist in this unfortunate situation.”

Assuming NJ SPCA will apply its new found speediness in gaining access to Hunterdon’s fat bank account, I hope it’s their intention to repay every penny of donated resources and grants to the agencies from which they obtained them.  Although those in charge at Hunterdon allegedly misused funds for years while animals suffered and the NJ SPCA did nothing, that’s not what should be happening now.  This is one “unfortunate situation” where outside resources and grant money will be unneeded once NJ SPCA gets control of Hunterdon’s $5 million in cash and assets.  There are a great many shelters and rescue groups in this country, particularly ones that have become overburdened trying to save animals from the kill room at their local pounds, which could benefit greatly from the resources and grants being directed toward Hunterdon.  If NJ SPCA fails to repay every donated service and dollar received for helping the Hunterdon animals, it will be an immense disservice to every animal group in desperate need of those resources.  And it will look more than a little suspicious that NJ SPCA dragged its feet regarding Hunterdon for 10 years, arriving on scene only after Hunterdon’s bank account had swelled past the $5 million mark and then held out its hand for donations.

(Thanks Clarice for the links.)

ASPCA’s KY Puppy Mill Rescue is Not What It Seems

Screengrab from the WAVE website

Screengrab from the WAVE website

Pulaski Co dog breeder Dennis Bradley told a local reporter with a hidden camera that he had 58 dogs on his property, at least a dozen of them under 8 weeks of age, in November 2013.  The reporter from WAVE in Kentucky filmed dozens of dogs crammed into filthy, rusted wire cages from which they were obviously never removed.  Among the breeds depicted in the video are Chihuahuas, Boston Terriers and Bloodhounds.  The reporter asks him how much for a Schnauzer puppy and is told $300 for a female and $250 for a male.  This certainly appears to be a dog breeding operation to my eyes, and a very poorly maintained one at that.

And yet:

Bradley, when contacted by the Commonwealth Journal in November, insisted his kennel wasn’t a puppy mill, but a non-profit rescue organization.

A non-rescue would seem to be the more correct answer. Has anyone seen Dennis Bradley’s 501(c)3 documents for his so-called rescue organization?  Perhaps they are on display in the bottom of a locked filing cabinet stuck in a disused lavatory with a sign on the door saying ‘Beware of the Leopard’.

The strangest aspect of the November story is that Dennis Bradley’s rescue breeding facility had already been raided by the sheriff in January 2013, at which time he was charged with animal cruelty:

Video taken by the sheriffs department shows some of Bradley’s dogs sick and near death. Two were in such bad shape they had to be put to sleep.

So why is Bradley still in business? Animal rescue groups say shutting down a puppy mill can cost up to $70,000 in shelter, food and medical expenses for the dogs they remove. Sometimes, groups like the Animal Rescue Corps will pay the cost, as it did when it broke up an alleged puppy mill in Wayne County in September.

No group stepped in to help Pulaski County financially, and investigators decided taking all 70 dogs they found on Bradley’s property would overwhelm the shelter system. So they removed the dogs in the poorest conditions and asked animal control to make sure Bradley took better care of the animals left behind.  [emphasis added]

More on the January 2013 raid:

“Upon arrival detectives discovered several dogs in pens/cages outside which were obviously sick. Several dogs suffered from having skin ailments and two appeared to be near death,” states the citation, filed by Det. Glen Bland. “Many of the dogs were living in poor conditions without proper shelter. Most pens were (too) small and were covered in mud and feces.”

Former Pulaski County Animal Shelter Director Darren Wesley would eventually remove 21 dogs from the property — some of which were euthanized after they tested positive for parvo.

After allowing dogs to languish in these conditions for another full year, authorities finally received assistance from the ASPCA and worked out a plea deal with the owner. Bradley pleaded guilty to one count of second degree animal cruelty. He received 24 months’ probation and surrendered all but 5 dogs, including one elderly dog. He will not be allowed to have more than 4 dogs or to re-start his breeding business during the probation period.  Does this strike anyone as a good deal that protects dogs or does it look more like the appearance of justice, suitable for framing around a full color donation plea?

The ASPCA took 43 dogs to the KY Humane Society in Louisville on Tuesday.

It’s nice that the ASPCA finally used its vast resources to help these suffering dogs but with all those donated dollars in their bank account, couldn’t they have helped sooner?  Even if they didn’t have a full team available to deploy any time within the past year, couldn’t they have sent one person and hired some local people to assist?  Or at least thrown enough cash at the problem that the county could afford to provide the needed care itself?  I notice once the ASPCA finally rolled into Pulaski Co, they moved super fast to get this plea for cash out to donors:

Screengrab from the ASPCA website

Screengrab from the ASPCA website

When a county sheriff raids a facility containing sick and dying dogs alongside newborn puppies, has video to document the inhumane conditions, provides sufficient evidence to get cruelty charges filed against the owner, but lacks the resources to help the dogs, this should be the kind of thing the multi-million dollar animal welfare groups get on yesterday – not one year later. Does it matter to anyone at the ASPCA that dozens of dogs were left living in horrible conditions in the care of someone charged with animal cruelty for an entire year for lack of resources? And then when they finally decide to show up, it’s all ASPCA logo jackets for the cameras and donation pleas and press releases – as if the ASPCA just busted this place this week.  In truth, the cruelty charge stems from the work done by the local sheriff one year ago and the dogs needed help then.

I imagine we might end up seeing these Pulaski Co dogs in a TV commercial with a Sarah McLachlan song. If and when that happens, remember they were knowingly left to suffer in tiny cages in the care of someone charged with animal cruelty for an entire year while the ASPCA closed its checkbook to Pulaski Co and counted its money.

(Thanks Karen J. for the links.)

Owner of Seized Dogs Files Civil Rights Lawsuit in Federal Court

A lawsuit filed by Mississippi pet owner Deborah K. Alverson alleges that on March 26, 2013, her two dogs were sunbathing in her yard.  The dogs were China, an 8 year old pug with some vision and hearing problems, and Black Betty, a 4 year old puggle with severe hip dysplasia.  Both dogs were receiving regular vet care.  A Harrison Co ACO, operating under the sheriff’s office, questioned Ms. Alverson’s neighbor about the dogs and was told they were not being neglected.  The ACO seized the dogs without a court order and brought them to the Humane Society of South Mississippi.  He charged Ms. Alverson with animal cruelty.  She immediately tried to get her dogs back, without success:

Alverson was not allowed to retrieve them and tried to request an emergency hearing in Justice Court, but allegedly was unable to have a hearing because the officer failed to turn in the paperwork on the seizure.

Alverson complained to sheriff’s officials but was told the officer’s actions were proper. Alverson believes the charges were filed against her in retaliation.

The lawsuit goes on to allege that China died in the care of the Humane Society of South Mississippi, that Ms. Alverson was not informed of the death in a timely manner and that she was refused permission to take China’s body home with her.  The charges against Ms. Alverson were dismissed for lack of evidence several months later.

Ms. Alverson filed a civil rights suit in December against the Harrison County Board of Supervisors, Sheriff Melvin Brisolara and the ACO, who reportedly has since left the sheriff’s office.

Alverson alleges she was not afforded due process and was the victim of malicious prosecution under color of law.

Some details of the case are unclear and I do not know if the owner ever got the surviving dog back.  The article in the Sun Herald rightly points out:

A lawsuit represents only one side of a complaint.

In this case, it represents Ms. Alverson’s version of events.  I searched the internet in an effort to find the other side of the story but failed to find any mention of the original case online.  I also contacted the Harrison Co board clerk to ask if the board had yet responded to the lawsuit.  As of this posting, I haven’t received a reply.  If the lawsuit proceeds in the courts, I imagine the Sun Herald will report on it.  Let’s keep our eyes open.

(Thanks Clarice for the link.)

Discussion: When It’s Freezing Out, Bring Your Pets In

My news feed runneth over this week with stories of freezing temperatures and the effect on pets. There are lots of articles talking about state laws and giving recommendations on what to do with pets during extremely cold weather. While obvious exceptions must be made for some animals including feral cats (who can be provided with homemade outdoor shelters) and sled dogs (who are purpose bred for outdoor living as part of their work), the general message should be: Bring your pets indoors. All of us involved in animal advocacy should be repeating this message as a means of education and increasing awareness.

When an ACO in Longview, TX was interviewed about a frozen dog found chained to a fence, he provided this disappointing quote:

“Bring your dogs in when the temperature drops down to these conditions so that you don’t end up with a dead animal. Because if we come out and your animal has died because of the environment that it’s in, if it’s died because it’s frozen, it’s cold, we will file charges,” said Longview animal control officer Chris Kemper.

The message should be “Bring your dogs in,” with no hint from authorities that as long as your pet hasn’t frozen to death, you won’t be charged.

There appears to be some confusion about what state law requires in Texas so I looked it up. A violation of the following is a misdemeanor:

Texas Penal Code: Sec. 42.092. CRUELTY TO NONLIVESTOCK ANIMALS. includes the following:

(7) “Necessary food, water, care, or shelter” includes food, water, care, or shelter provided to the extent required to maintain the animal in a state of good health.

(8) “Torture” includes any act that causes unjustifiable pain or suffering.

(b) A person commits an offense if the person intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly:

[...]

(3) fails unreasonably to provide necessary food, water, care, or shelter for an animal in the person’s custody;

In the Longview case, authorities indicated the dog’s owner had failed to provide food, water and shelter while the pet suffered and died. Authorities could have – and should have – intervened before the dog froze to death. Being left on a chain with no food, water or shelter in freezing temperatures appears to qualify under the law as torture and cruelty since most pets could not possibly be maintained in good health under these conditions.  But the ACO’s statement implies that action will only be taken if the pet dies as a result of the torture.

Do better with your messaging, Longview. And definitely do better with your intervention on behalf of suffering pets.

What, if anything, does the law say about providing shelter to animals during the cold in your state?  Are you working to get your state’s cruelty laws amended to better protect animals?  Do you do any advocacy work, such as social media outreach, about bringing pets inside during extreme weather?  What information do you include in your message?

UPDATED: NY Shelter Worker Charged with Felony Cruelty

Noelle, as depicted on the NBC4 NY website.

Noelle, as depicted on the NBC4 NY website.

A homeless man searching a Long Island gas station dumpster for food on Christmas Eve found a tiny dog.  She had been placed in the dumpster in a tied trash bag but apparently was able to chew her way out.  He immediately called police to get the dog some help.  NBC4 NY identified the man as Kevin Zabawski and spoke with him about the incident:

“I just happened to look to the side and there was a face looking at me. There was this dog in there, and I thought ‘Who the heck would leave an animal like that in the Dumpster?’ It’s way too much for me.”

The answer to Mr. Zabawski’s question turns out to be:  a public animal shelter employee.  Michael Papini, a kennel attendant at the Town of Islip Animal Shelter, was seen on surveillance video dumping the dog into the trash bin.  Members of the public later identified him after local TV news outlets aired the footage.

After being saved from the dumpster, the little dog was taken to a vet and then to the Town of Islip Animal Shelter.  Investigators did not know at the time that one of the shelter’s employees was the person they were seeking in connection with the case.  When it was determined the dog had a microchip, Suffolk Co SPCA investigators paid a visit to the registered owner.  She explained that she knew Michael Papini and that he had offered to take the dog to the shelter since she was no longer able to take care of the pet.  The owner paid Papini for his service.  He then allegedly tied the dog up in a plastic garbage bag and dropped her in the dumpster at the gas station.  Investigators report the former owner was very upset after learning what Papini had done with her dog.

“A dog like that is so easily adoptable,” [Suffolk Co SPCA chief Roy] Gross said. “How could he do that? . . . This is like a planned act of animal cruelty.”

Papini was charged with felony aggravated animal cruelty, misdemeanor animal abandonment and other charges and is scheduled to be arraigned today.

The one year old dog, now being called Noelle, is friendly and in good health, despite being left for dead in the dumpster for 18 hours.  Dozens of people have applied to adopt her from the shelter where she is receiving care.  Noelle is alive today thanks to the kindness of  Kevin Zabawski.  I hope he too has something to eat and a warm place to sleep tonight.

Thank you once again to the so-called irresponsible public for saving animals from those paid to protect them.

(Thank you Clarice for the links.)

Update, added December 29, 2013:  The shelter employee was allegedly paid $250 (CBS NY reports it was $500) by a woman he knew to take her two dogs to the shelter.  Those dogs were Cherry, whom he tied in a trash bag and tossed in a dumpster, and Bailey, who is currently missing.  Bailey is described as a cream colored, male, miniature poodle.  Authorities say Michael Papini allegedly turned Bailey loose from a parked vehicle on Cooper Street in Babylon Village about 7 a.m. on Dec. 23.  The Suffolk Co SPCA is offering a $500 reward for information leading to Bailey’s recovery.

If you live on Long Island, please keep an eye out for Bailey.  There are no publicly available photos of him as far as I know but he may look something like the dog pictured on this page, although he is possibly dirty and matted, like Cherry.

Papini posted $500 bond and is free, pending trial.  I see that extra cash came in useful for him.

The Rest of the Country Disdains the South Because of Places Like Union Co, NC

Wanda Sue Larson, a Union Co Department of Social Services child-protection investigations supervisor, and Dorian Lee Harper, an emergency room nurse, had 4 adopted children and a foster child living at their North Carolina home:

[Union Co] Sheriff Cathey said all five children in the home slept on the floor in a single bedroom, where the foster child was regularly handcuffed to a piece of railroad to keep him from running away.

But the foster child, a boy, escaped in December 2012 and ran to a neighbor’s home, begging for food and claiming he did not know where he lived.  The neighbor called 911 and the deputy responding to the call filed a complaint with DSS:

Less than a week later, the deputy received a letter from DSS investigator Lisa Kawyn, saying that the deputy’s complaint “does not meet statutory definition of abuse, neglect or dependency,” and the matter was closed, the sheriff said.

In mid-November 2013, a neighbor called animal control, run by the Union Co sheriff’s office, regarding a missing pig being sought by one of the children at the home.  When the deputy arrived, he found the shivering 11 year old foster child handcuffed to the front porch rail by the ankle with a dead chicken tied around his neck with twine.  Authorities removed all 5 children from the home as well as 103 animals, who were described as living in deplorable conditions:

Here’s the breakdown: 56 chickens and turkeys, 10 ducks, 10 dogs, eight geese, four donkeys, three horses, three guinea hens, two llamas, two cats, two finches, one cockatiel, one peacock and a pot-bellied pig named “Wilbur.”

Rescue groups, neighbors and area farmers took in the livestock.  Nine dogs were taken to the Union Co pound where workers quickly stuffed five of them into the gas chamber.  Three were gassed because they were old and two because they were aggressive.

Age is not an excuse to kill a pet and there is no possible way any gas chamber enthusiasts could determine a dog was so dangerous he required killing within a matter of days.  But then, this is what Union Co does.  Despite operating expenses of more than $1.2 million in 2012, Union Co killed more than 75% of the dogs and cats in its care.

But you know, they’re not monsters.

[Lt. Michelle Starnes, who oversees pound operations for the Union Co sheriff's office] said the smallest dog, a terrier mix named “Max,” was returned to the children who lived at the Austin Road home because he was their favorite.

Union County, you blew it when you let one of your own child-protection investigations supervisors abuse children at her home.  She was clearly not held to the same standards and protocols as other parents who adopt and foster kids in your county.  You bombed again in December 2012 when you failed to investigate in any way the matter of a starving, abused child who escaped his captors and cried out to you for help.  When this month’s incident forced you to stop looking the other way, you sick degenerates pulled old and malnourished dogs from the home and tortured them to death in your barbaric gas chamber.  And finally, you twisted smackoffs forced a Sophie’s Choice upon the child victims you failed in this case by having them pick a “favorite” dog to save from your pet killing facility.

Mercifully, Larson and Harper have finally been “charged with intentional child abuse inflicting serious injury, false imprisonment, and animal cruelty, because of the conditions of animals found at the home.” No word on charges against any of the good ol’ boys in the Union Co sheriff’s office or DSS, nor do I expect any.  Inflicting misery on sentient beings seems to be the job description for Union Co officials – and they’re very good at what they do.  We should probably bring them cupcakes.

(Thanks Lisa for sending me this story.)

Cat Torturer Ordered to Volunteer at Utah Animal Shelter

Screengrab from the Standard-Examiner depicting convicted cat torturer Donald Aaron Hawes

Screengrab from the Standard-Examiner depicting convicted cat torturer Donald Aaron Hawes

On May 4, 2013, Donald Aaron Hawes hauled a cat belonging to his girlfriend’s daughter out from under a bed. He then attempted to kill the cat by strangling her. When that failed, Hawes attempted to kill the pet by squeezing her stomach. And when he failed at that, Hawes threw the cat against a wall in a final attempt to kill her. The daughter had a phone in the room which recorded the violence.

Mercifully, the cat survived and Hawes was charged with third-degree felony torture of a companion animal. But in court last week, Hawes pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor count of attempted torture of a companion animal. He received a $450 fine, two years of informal probation and will not have to serve one day in jail.

The judge also “ordered Hawes to complete an anger management course and then also ordered him to complete 48 hours of community service.” And where would a judge want to send a violent, abusive freak like Hawes to perform his service to the community? The county shelter. Because yeah, what community wouldn’t want a cat torturer on duty at the local shelter?

Fail, six ways from Sunday.

I sincerely hope no animal shelter in the state will accept this convicted animal abuser for volunteer work. Let him clean toilets at local rest stops or scrub floors at the sewage plant. Keep this scumbag away from animals at all costs.

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