US District Court in Grand Junction (Mesa County) Colorado


We the undersigned urge the court in Denver, Colorado to give Steven Clay Romero, the man charged in the dragging death on December 30, 2009 of a German Shepherd named Buddy behind his truck for three miles the maximum penalty of three years in federal prison, $100,000 fine and one year  probation for this horrific crime.  Do not let this crime go unpunished for the horrible death of an innocent dog.  Given Mr. Romero's past criminal record, we feel he is a menace to society and this dragging death is only the beginning of what could lead to future unimaginable and tragic consequences.

Virginians for Animal Welfare
Alert     11/16/09      November Court Watch

Short notice, but try to get to the jury trial on Tuesday, 11/17/09, at 9:30 am in Gloucester.  Defendants are John McGill and Melissa McGill.

There is also a trial that same day in Frederick County at 3 pm.  Defendant is Linda McLaughlin.

Try to attend the trial of Donald Morris in Hanover County on Thursday, 11/19/09.  Dog fighting is involved.

As a follow up to the recent alert about King George County (Silent Witness - The Trial is Over) there will be action in King George General District Court for Iris Hedrick on 11/18/09 at 10 am.  It is possible a suspended sentence will be revoked.

There are two sentencing cases.  In Sussex County, John Boudiette will be sentenced on 11/18/09 at 9 am, and in Spotsylvania County, Robert Ward will be sentenced on 11/30/09 at 9 am.

Please check the day before with the clerk's office to make sure the proceeding is still scheduled, and let the prosecutor know you will be there.  Even if you can't attend, you can show your support with a call or e-mail to the prosecutor.

Here is the list of cases for November followed by details of each case, some with updates already available and entered.
Tuesday - 9 am
Kenneth Samuels
Westmoreland County General District Court
anticipated action:  hearing

Friday - 10 am
Justin Bindel
Staunton General District Court
anticipated action:  case continued or dismissed

Monday - 9:30 am
Donna Renk
Virginia Beach Circuit Court
anticipated action:  trial

Tuesday - 9 am
Michael Gibson
Fauquier County Circuit Court
anticipated action:  civil seizure hearing

Tuesday - 1 pm
Patricia Cohan-Kinlaw
Southampton County General District Court
anticipated action:  show cause hearing

Thursday - 1:30 pm
David W. Robinson
Henrico County General District Court
anticipated action:  trial

Friday - 11 am
Melvin Boone
Cheri Campbell
Anthony Eldridge
Kelvin Thompson
Adam Webb
Powhatan County General District Court
anticipated action:  possible trial

Monday - 9:30 am
Patti Wheeler
Chesterfield County Circuit Court
anticipated action:  Grand Jury proceeding

Monday - 1:30 pm
William Travis Williams
Bedford County General District Court
anticipated action:  preliminary hearing on dog fighting charge

Tuesday - 9:30
John McGill
Melissa McGill
Gloucester County Circuit Court
anticipated action:  jury trial

Tuesday - 3 pm
Linda McLaughlin
Frederick County/Winchester General District Court
anticipated action:  trial

Wednesday - 9 am
John Boudiette
Sussex County Circuit Court
anticipated action:  sentencing

Wednesday - 10 am
Iris Hedrick
King George District Court
anticipated action:  possible revocation of suspended 2007 sentence

Thursday - 1:30 pm
Donald Morris
Hanover County General District Court
anticipated action:  trial

Friday - 11 am
Nancy Sorrell Mackall
Orange County General District Court
anticipated action:  trial
NOTE:  died 11/3/09

Friday - 11 am
Melvin Boone
Kelvin Thompson
Powhatan County General District Court
anticipated action:  arraignment on failure to appear charges

Tuesday - 1 pm
Patricia Cohan-Kinlaw
Southampton County General District Court
anticipated action:  arraignment

Monday - 9 am
Robert James Ward
Spotsylvania County Circuit Court
anticipated action:  sentencing


11/3/09  Tuesday        
9:00 a.m.
Westmoreland County General District Court
Courthouse; 111 Polk Street; Montross, VA  22520
Clerk:  Jane Branson 
804-493-0105         fax:     e-mail:
Prosecutor:  Deputy Commonwealth's Attorney Joshua Boyles 
804-493-0114         fax:     e-mail:
Defendant:  Kenneth Elwood Samuels
Original Charges:  (in General District Court)
          three Class 1 misdemeanor charges under 3.2-6570 - cruelty to animals 
          generally (one charge has a 3/14/09 arrest; two have 3/17/09 arrests)
          two Class 3 misdemeanor charges under 3.2-6504 - abandonment of 
          animals (one charge has a 3/14/09 arrest; one has arrest on 3/17/09)
          three unclassified misdemeanor charges under 3.2-6554 - not disposing 
          of dead companion animal (one charge with a 3/14/09 arrest and two with 
          3/17/09 arrests)
Current Charges: (in Circuit Court)
          one misdemeanor charge of failure to obey court order - under 19.2-306
A notice in the Northern Neck News of 3/18/09 indicated a 21-year old Hague man was charged on a Westmoreland County warrant with abandonment of an animal. 
In September, 2008, Kenneth Samuels and his family and dogs rented a home without electricity or water; Mr. Samuels said the landlord was to help with these utilities.  None having materialized, Mr. Samuels moved about two miles away, but was only allowed to keep one of his dogs in the new location; he had four dogs.  With insufficient money for dog food, three dogs were kept in the original house, with virtually no water or food.  According to Tom Hamilton, Westmoreland animal control officer, a realtor found two dead dogs in that home on 2/3/09.  When ACO Hamilton went to the scene the next day, the bodies were gone, later found near the new residence of Mr. Samuels.  Two dog bodies were found in the trunk of Mr. Samuels's car, and the third dog was found in a dog carrier.  Judge Wilkins said that Mr. Samuels could have saved the lives of the dogs by calling ACO Hamilton to take the dogs; ACO Hamilton said it is "normal procedure" to take in animals that cannot be cared for, and his shelter adopts such animals or transfers them to a no-kill shelter.

Mr. Samuels was tried on 5/26/09.  One abandonment of animals charge was dismissed.
However, Mr. Samuels was found guilty of three charges of failure to dispose of dead companion animals, and two misdemeanor charges of general cruelty to animals.  Mr. Samuels was charged for burial costs ($60.94 in restitution) and fines/court costs of $482.11. 

He was also found guilty on two charges of cruelty to animals, and given 90 days in jail, suspended, based on peace and good behavior for the next three years.  In addition, he was ordered to complete 50 hours of community service - work that would benefit the shelter, but not allow Mr. Samuels to work with the animals. 

On 5/26/09, Mr. Samuels was prohibited from owning any companion animals in the future and was forced to give up the one dog still with the family, the Judge saying he didn't trust Mr. Samuels's judgment to care for the dog.

Mr. Samuels was to appear in Westmoreland County General District Court on 7/7/09 to show cause to Judge Wilkins for failure to obey an order of the court, specifically regarding owning or possessing companion animals.  Judge Wilkins was the Complainant; two charges were filed on 6/17/09, a date after the trial was completed.  Mr. Samuels did not come to court that day.  He was to be in court on 8/4/09, again addressing his failure to obey court orders regarding having an animal, and to be arraigned.  However, the case was continued from 8/4/09 to 9/15/09. 

On 9/15/09, there were two separate failure to obey court order counts.  On one charge, Mr. Samuels was found guilty on 9/15/09, but he immediately appealed the case.  Mr. Samuels's appeal resulted in a trial scheduled for 10/22/09 in Westmoreland Circuit Court, but on that day, Mr. Samuels pleaded guilty.  He was sentenced to 90 days in jail with 84 days suspended, and costs of $429.61.

Action on the second failure to obey count was continued to 11/3/09.
anticipated action:  hearing
UPDATE:  On 11/3/09, Mr. Samuels did not appear in court, and the case became a "Fugitive File".  There is now a warrant waiting to be served. 

11/6/09  Friday
10:00 am
Staunton General District Court
113 E. Beverley Street; First Floor; Staunton, VA  24401-4390
Clerk:  Nancy J. Long
540-332-3878  fax:  540-332-3985 e-mail:
                                                        (not confirmed )
Prosecutor:  Asst. Commonwealth's Attorney Kieran H. Bartley
540-332-3976  fax:  540-332-3977 e-mail:
Defendant:  Justin Michael Bindel
  class 1 misdemeanor - cruelty to animals - under 3.2-6570
Justin Bindel allegedly beat a Chihuahua puppy.  He was charged with a Class 1 misdemeanor of animal cruelty, a charge with a possible penalty of 12 months in jail and a fine of $2,500.  Mr. Bindel was arraigned on 4/17/09.

On 5/6/09, the Court found the facts of this case to be sufficient to convict; however, the Judge could dismiss the case in 6 months (the 11/6/09 court date that is on the online court records) if Mr. Bindel gets in no more trouble.  Mr. Bindel was assessed $201.00 in costs.

Commonwealth's Attorney Ray Robertson (8/19/09) summarized the case:  the Chihuahua was beaten by Mr. Bindel in front of his residence after the dog had wet the carpet inside his home.  Neighbors saw and reported the incident.  On 5/6/09, Mr. Bindel was represented by the public defender's office and appeared before a substitute judge, Ms. Lynn Lawson, who ruled there was sufficient evidence to convict, but she took the case under advisement for 6 months on condition the defendant had no further trouble with the law, especially in relation to abusing his dog.  In August, 2009, a Rockingham County Grand Jury indicted Mr. Bindel (and one other person) for the first degree murder of a former roommate, a crime that carries from 20 years to life in prison without parole.  In addition, Mr. Bindel was charged with the use of a firearm during the commission of a felony which carries an additional 3 years, and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, which can net him another 5 years in prison.  Mr. Bindel has clearly violated the terms of the "advisement" received from Judge Lynn Lawson, and in addition to these new offenses and his failure to pay court costs, it is assumed that when his case is reviewed on 11/6/09, he will be found guilty.  Charges on the murder and related charges are scheduled to be heard in the Circuit Court of Rockingham County on 11/30/09 when a jury is scheduled for a 5 day trial.

The Assistant Commonwealth's Attorney, Kieran Bartley, provided (11/3/09) additional information after reviewing the case with Commonwealth's Attorney Ray Robertson.  The substitute judge, Ms. Lynn Lawson took Mr. Bindel's case under advisement 5/5/09 with instructions that if there were "no problems" in the next six months, the charge would be dismissed.  The murder charge and related charges refer to events from February, 2009, and so Mr. Bindel's actions then took place before Judge Lawson became involved.  All that matters to the Judge on 11/6/09 is Mr. Bindle's behavior between 5/5/09 and the court date of 11/6/09.  In addition, Commonwealth's Attorney Bartley has not found any charges against Mr. Bindel since 5/5/09 in the General District Courts of surrounding cites/counties.  He believes it is doubtful that Judge Lawson will find Mr. Bindel in violation of his advisement conditions for not paying the court costs of $201.00.  It is possible the case will be continued because costs have not yet been paid, but if no other charges in other jurisdictions are surfaced, the case may also be dismissed.
action anticipated:  case may be continued or dismissed
UPDATE:  Because Mr. Bindel did not pay his court costs of $201.00, his case was continued until 12/2/09.  That date is after the murder trial of Mr. Bindel scheduled for 11/30/09 in Rockingham Circuit Court.

11/9/09 Monday      
9:30 a.m.
Virginia Beach Circuit Court
2425 Nimmo Parkway; Judicial Center, Building 10, Virginia Beach, VA 23456
Clerk:  Hon. Tina E. Sinnen
757-385-4181   fax:        e-mail:
Prosecutor:  Asst. Commonwealth's Attorney Ed Booth
757-385-8639   fax:        e-mail:
Defendant:  Donna Marie Renk
Charges:   one Class 6 felony charge
- torture animal causing death - under 3.2-6570
                  one Class 6 felony charge - animal cruelty, second offense in 5 years -
                   under 3.2-6570
Donna Renk faces animal cruelty charges for abandoning two dogs.  The owner of the property which Ms. Renk rented lives next door.  He had not seen Ms. Renk for over two weeks.  As he was cutting grass, he noticed a bad smell coming from the house, and he could see many flies and an animal crate.  Officers entered the property and found the remains of two dogs.  A warrant was issued for her arrest, but Ms. Renk initially could not be located.  She was found, arrested on 6/11/09, and arraigned on 6/15/09.  On 7/24/09, the charges were sent to the Grand Jury, and on 8/3/09 the Grand Jury indicted.  The case is therefore now in Circuit Court.

Counsel was appointed on 8/27/09.  On 9/8/09, the Commonwealth's Attorney and court-appointed counsel set a trial date of 11/9/09.
action anticipated:  trial  
UPDATE:  Sr. Assistant Commonwealth's Attorney Edwin Booth reported on 11/5/09 that this case will not go to trial on 11/9/09, but will most likely be rescheduled for January, 2010.

11/10/09   Tuesday    
9:00 a.m.
Fauquier County Circuit Court
29 Ashby Street; Warrenton, VA  20186
Clerk:  Gail Barb
540-347-8610     fax:       e-mail:
Prosecutor:  Asst. Commonwealth's Attorney Russell Rabb
540-347-8684     fax:       e-mail: 
Defendant:  Michael Gibson
Issue:  appeal of civil seizure/impoundment of animals
- under 3.2-6569
This case has been reported in several earlier Court Watch Alerts.  This entry will only deal with the current seizure issue.

In June, 2009, concerned about the care being provided to a large number of animals, warrants were issued to seize cats, dogs, birds, and a turtle.  Mr. Gibson did not retrieve his animals.  Another warrant resulted in the confiscation of 18 horses.

On 10/1/09, a second civil seizure hearing addressed the seizure of 20 of his horses, as Mr. Gibson had not come to reclaim his animals after the first seizure.  The court upheld the second seizure; Mr. Gibson had 10 days in which to appeal that decision, and needed to post a $25,000 bond.  Able to secure the $25,000 bond, Mr. Gibson appealed the seizure on 10/9/09 to the Fauquier County Circuit Court.  The next step is a hearing on the matter in Circuit Court.  Note that this only addresses the horses.  All other animals found new homes.

NOTE:  Mr. Gibson is a former Animal Control Officer; he worked in Alexandria.

action anticipated:  civil seizure hearing
  outcome of civil seizure hearing not known; trial date of 3/8/2010 set

11/10/09  Tuesday  
1:00 p.m.    
Southampton County General District Court
22350 Main Street, Courtland, VA  23837
Clerk:  Belinda J. Jones
757-653-2673    fax:  757-653-2656    e-mail:
Prosecutor:  Assistant Commonwealth's Attorney George Bruch
757-653-2045    fax:  757-653-2492    e-mail:
Defendant:  Patricia Cohan-Kinlaw  (AKA Cohan)
 1 Class 4 misdemeanor count of failure to care for 21 cats
                1 Class 4 misdemeanor count of failure to provide adequate vet care
                1 misdemeanor charge, no Class provided, of general license required
                1 misdemeanor charge, no Class provided - no valid license on 22 dogs 
                2 Class 1 misdemeanor counts of animal cruelty generally
                2 Class 4 misdemeanor counts of inadequate animal care by owner
                1 Class 3 misdemeanor count of pet shop not offering adequate care
Ms. Cohan was investigated for running an unlicensed kennel and keeping the animals in poor health conditions after police served a search warrant at her home on 6/27/08 and found 22 unlicensed dogs, including 8 puppies and some adults with "open sores around the head areas, as well as dogs showing signs of infections and problems with their hips" according to an affidavit from Southampton Animal Warden James Cooke.  Cooke also said that he had visited the property previously in the company of a state veterinarian and had noted problems with the animals.

A report from 3/30/09 stated there was a dog with a dead chicken tied around its neck on the property.  The owner, Ms. Cohan, reportedly was punishing the dog for killing her chicken.  The Sheriff's department was notified and Ms. Cohan is reported to have removed the chicken.  Further research determined that the dead chicken incident was considered separately, is not part of this action, and that the defendant is sometimes identified as Patricia Kinlaw, although in other cases as Patricia Cohan-Kinlaw, making it difficult to track her misdeeds.

Charges have been resolved and reported in earlier Court Watch Alerts.  In this case, the remaining issue is the animal cruelty charge (a class 1 misdemeanor) of which Ms. Cohan was found guilty, given a one year suspended sentence with an administrative hearing scheduled for January 26, 2010.  Ms. Cohan will be in court because of a failure to comply with the sentence, so this will be addressed before the January 2010 date.

This show-cause failure to comply charge hearing was continued from 10/20/09 to 11/10/09.
action anticipated:  show cause hearing
  continued to 1/26/10

11/12/09  Thursday 
1:30 p.m.
Henrico County General District Court
4301 E. Parham Road; Henrico, VA  23273-0775
Clerk:  Lawrence George Sprader
804-501-4723  fax:  804-501-7388  e-mail:
Prosecutor:  Deputy Commonwealth's Attorney Heidi S. Barshinger
804-501-4218  fax:  804-501-4110  e-mail:
Defendant:  David W. Robinson
Charges:  2 misdemeanor Class 1 charges
under 3.2-6571 of promoting/engaging in 
                  animal fighting  
                 2 misdemeanor Class 1 charges under 3.2-6570 of animal cruelty generally
On the evening of Thursday, 4/16/09, a neighbor of David Robinson called the police, hearing the chaos of animals fighting at Mr. Robinson's home.  The police found at least 22 pit bulls.  Four of the dogs were injured and taken to a veterinarian for care.  One dog was found dead, and the others were taken into custody by Animal Control of Henrico County.  Since then, another dog in the custody of Animal Control has died.

The police report all the dogs were kept in the fenced back yard on chains or in pens.  At least one dog broke free and started the fighting.  Police found many items associated with dog fighting including a portable dog ring, breaker bars, a pulling sled and harness, and a bag of medical equipment and dogs.  

Ultimately, of the survivors, 12 pit bulls were euthanized.  Seven were considered as potentially adoptable, with two considered ready for adoption and the remaining five needing some training prior to adoption.

Defendant David Robinson was a Corporal for the Richmond City Sheriff's Office, his job including law enforcement at the Richmond City jail.  Mr. Robinson has been dismissed.

Mr. Robinson was arraigned on 4/17/09.  The trial that was anticipated to be held on 6/9/09 was continued to 8/3/09, as the Commonwealth's Attorney's office said investigation was continuing.  The case was re-set for 9/24/09, but it was subsequently continued to 11/12/09.
anticipated action:  trial  
UPDATE:  Instead of holding a trial, all four charges against David Robinson were Nol Prossed, and several days later, new charges were filed.  Those charges:  8 felony counts of dog fighting and 26 misdemeanor counts (14 animal cruelty, 8 animal neglect, 2 rabies certificate, and 2 no license).  Status date will be on 12/10/09 in Circuit Court.

11/13/09  Friday
11:00 a.m.
Powhatan County General District Court
3880-D Buckingham Road; Powhatan, VA 23139
Clerk:  Ms. Gloria M. Blankenship
804-598-5665  fax:  804-598-5648   e-mail:
                                                                     (not confirmed)
Prosecutor:  Commonwealth's Attorney Robert B. Beasley, Jr.
804-598-5668  fax:  804-598-7939   e-mail:
                                                                     (not confirmed)
Defendants:  Melvin Boone
   Cheri Campbell
                      Anthony Eldridge
                      Kelvin Thompson
                     Adam Webb           
Charges:  class 1 misdemeanor
  - animal cruelty - under 3.2-6570
Five officers of the Virginia Department of Corrections were charged with animal cruelty involving fondling - engaging in sexual contact with a dog used in training, and allegedly videotaping two such incidents.  The officers charged are Melvin Booth, Cheri Campbell, Anthony Eldridge, Kelvin Thompson, and Adam Webb. 
NOTE:  Originally, Adam Webb was to have a different court date, but all five ended up being processed together on 11/13/09.

All five officers were training at the Academy for Staff Development in Goochland County, working with service dogs.  They were charged in Powhatan County because the kennel is located there at the Powhatan Correctional Center. 

Mr. Boone worked at the state prison in Sussex County but is no longer employed there.  The Richmond Times-Dispatch of 10/27/09 reports that Mr. Boone is no longer employed by the state, although the Department of Corrections declined to say whether Mr. Boone was terminated or left on his own.

Ms. Campbell works at the Nottoway Correctional Center.
Mr. Eldridge worked at the Nottoway Correctional Center but is no longer employed there.

Mr. Thompson works at Green Rock Correctional Center in Chatham.

Mr. Webb also worked at the Nottoway Correctional Center.
In addition to the animal cruelty charges against the group, Mr. Boone and Mr. Thompson also face failure to appear charges and that case will be heard on 11/20/09 (see entry below on that date).
action anticipated:  possible trial
  All five defendants had their animal cruelty charge Nol Prossed.

11/16/09 Monday   
9:30 a.m.
Chesterfield County Circuit Court
9500 Courthouse Road; Chesterfield, VA  23832-0144
Clerk:  Hon. Judy L. Worthington
804-748-1241  fax:  804-796-5625  e-mail:
Prosecutor:  Asst. Commonwealth Attorney Robby Fierro
804-748-1221  fax:  804-717-6277  e-mail:
Judge:  Robert D. Laney
Defendant:  Patti Wheeler
          felony charge of destruction of property with intent - under 18.2-137 - sent to 
         Grand Jury
The case with Patti Wheeler as defendant has been covered in several previous Court Watch Alerts.  Ms. Wheeler has appealed four animal cruelty convictions.  Judge Laney certified a felony charge of destruction of private property (the house Ms. Wheeler rented and which is now condemned) to the Grand Jury.
anticipated action:  Grand Jury proceedings
  Proceedings of the Grand Jury are not open to the public.
NOTE:  On 11/9/09, Asst. Commonwealth's Attorney Robbie Fierro, who is prosecuting the case against Ms. Wheeler, said the one felony and five misdemeanor charges will be tried on 1/11/10 in Chesterfield Circuit Court.  He noted that at this time, Ms. Wheeler has not been formally indicted on her felony charge, but it is expected that will happen when the Grand Jury meets.

11/16/09 Monday   
1:30 p.m.
Bedford County General District Court
123 East Main Street; Bedford, VA  24523
Clerk: Carla F. Smith
540-586-7637  fax:  540-586-7684    e-mail:
Prosecutor:  Asst. Commonwealth's Attorney Mark Robinette
540-586-7628     fax:  540-586-2483 e-mail:
Defendant:  William Travis Williams
  one class 6 felony charge - promote/engage in animal fights - under 3.2-6571
After a two month undercover interstate investigation, William Travis Williams of Marshal, NC, was arrested on an animal fighting charge.  On 9/19/09, Bedford County Animal Control and Bedford County Deputies, working with the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), seized five pit-bulls.  The dogs were in cages at the Best Western Motel in Bedford, VA.  The investigation shows the dogs were transported to Virginia to engage in dog fighting in Virginia and West Virginia.  Mr. Williams was arrested after receiving $6,500.00 for transporting and selling the dogs to undercover agents disguised as dog fight coordinators from Virginia.  If convicted, Mr. Williams could face one to five years in prison and up to $250,000 in fines.  The dogs were being held at a Bedford County shelter.  Mr. Williams was arraigned on 10/15/09.
action anticipated: preliminary hearing

11/17/09  Tuesday
9:30 a.m.
Gloucester County Circuit Court
7400 Justice Drive; Ste. 327; Gloucester, VA  23061
Clerk:  Margaret Walker
804-693-2502  fax:  804-693-2186 e-mail:
Prosecutor:   Gloucester County Attorney Edwin Wilmot
804-693-5575  fax:  804-693-2530 e-mail:
Defendants:  John McGill
                     Melissa McGill

     John McGill

     appealing 21 convictions (7/23/09) of Gloucester General District Court, all   
     misdemeanors with various dates of offense; includes 7 horse at large charges, 12 
    duties of ownership charges, and 2 contempt of court charges
Melissa McGill
    appealing 28 convictions (7/23/09) of Gloucester General District Court, all
    misdemeanors with various dates of offense; includes 6 horse at large charges, 15 duties
    of ownership charges, and 3 contempt of court charges

Background:  There is limited information on this case.  It is not clear, for instance, whether the horses at large and charged to Mrs. McGill are the same horses attributed to Mr. McGill.  It is not known, for instance, specifically where the horses went, any damage they may have caused, how they were captured and returned, where the horses are now, and how many horses in total are owned by either/both McGill.
Note that Melissa McGill is the daughter of Robert Warden, also of Gloucester, and also involved in court action currently regarding horses.  In addition, it is reported that Mr. and Mrs. McGill are estranged.
action anticipated:  jury trial 

11/17/09  Tuesday 
3:00 p.m.
Frederick County/Winchester General District Court
5 North Kent Street; Winchester, VA  22601
Clerk:  Brenda L. Vance
540-722-7208  fax:  540-722-1063   e-mail:
Prosecutor:  Ross Spicer, Asst. Commonwealth's Attorney
540-665-6383  fax:                           e-mail:
Defendant:  Linda L. McLaughlin
Charge:  Class 1 misdemeanor - cruelty to animals generally - under 3.2-6570
After receiving two complaints about the welfare of cats (on 5/12/09 and 5/13/09), Frederick County authorities rescued approximately 200 cats from the home of Linda McLaughlin.  Animal Control Officer Megan Moreland served a search warrant on 5/12/09, executed because of possible animal cruelty.  Initially 193 live cats and seven dead cats were found.  According to Frederick County Maj. Robert Eckman, the dead cats were being eaten by the other cats.  He described it as "a horrendous case of neglect.  It's just unfathomable."  The strong ammonia smell made it very difficult for authorities to rescue the cats from the trailer, and the place was described as uninhabitable.  Animal Control Officer Moreland had previously talked with Ms. McLaughlin regarding care of the cats.  Ms. McLaughlin was not at her home on 5/12 as she was in a hospital in Prince William County at the time.  The cats were taken to Frederick County Esther Boyd Animal Shelter where they were initially quarantined.  On 5/26/09, a civil seizure hearing upheld the seizure.  This case was to go to trial on 10/6/09 but was continued to 11/17/09.
action anticipated:  trial

11/18/09  Wednesday 
9:00 a.m.
Sussex County Circuit Court
15088 Courthouse Road; Sussex, VA  23884
Clerk:  Hon. Gary M. Williams
434-246-1011    fax:  434-246-2203     e-mail:
Prosecutor:  Commonwealth's Attorney Lyndia P. Ramsey
434-246-1020    fax:  434-246-2630    e-mail:
Defendant:  John Boudiette
   10 misdemeanor charges under section 3.2-6570 (animal cruelty), nine of 
                   them involving dogs; the tenth involves a pot-bellied pig 
In May, 2003, John Boudiette lived in Suffolk, VA, and pled guilty to animal cruelty charges involving more than 100 Labrador retrievers which were kept in squalid conditions on his property.  Mr. Boudiette was forbidden to ever again own dogs in Suffolk.  It is understood he then moved to North Carolina before returning to Virginia, attempting to move with many dogs to Southampton County, VA.  Southampton County would not issue a license to Mr. Boudiette due to the number of dogs he had, but when he moved to Sussex County at least three years ago, he was able to get a license. 

During the summer of 2008, complaints were filed regarding the manner in which Mr. Boudiette kept his dogs; complaints were from potential buyers and from a business (funeral home) directly across from Mr. Boudiette's operation.  Several living near Mr. Boudiette were concerned that he was feeding his dogs only bread and water, as he several times brought an open trailer of bread that was kept outside in the weather and which took several days to unload.  Mr. Boudiette's facility was raided on 3/23/09 by the Office of the State Vet (OSV), the State Police, and the Sussex Sheriff.  Seventy-two dogs and a pot-bellied pig were seized. 

On 4/6/09, Mr. Boudiette unsuccessfully appealed the seizure of his animals.  Significant help was provided to the dogs by LFCP (Lab Rescue of Chesapeake Peninsula) in addition to pounds in Sussex, Isle of Wight, and Surry.  Mr. Boudiette was indicted by the Grand Jury on 5/5/09, was arrested on 5/14/09 and was charged on that date with 10 counts of animal cruelty in connection with the seized animals (the 72 dogs and one pot-bellied pig). 

On 5/18/09 there was a hearing regarding attorney status with another hearing to follow on 6/10/09, also regarding attorney status.  A trial date for a bench trial was set for 9/16/09.  At trial, Mr. Boudiette was convicted on all ten misdemeanor counts.  He will be sentenced on 11/18/09.
action anticipated:  sentencing

11/18/09  Wednesday  
10:00 a.m.
King George General District Court 
9483 Kings Highway; King George, VA  22485
Clerk:  Nancy Lynn Tierney
540-775-3573     fax:                   e-mail:
                                                    (not confirmed)
Prosecutor:  Commonwealth's Attorney Matt Britton
540-775-4442     fax:  540-775-7310 e-mail:
Defendant:  Iris Marie Hedrick
       show cause - revoke suspended sentence
Authorities went to the home of Iris Marie Hedrick on 1/2/09 in response to an anonymous tip.  There they found dozens of animals, dead or severely malnourished.  Ms. Hedrick faced multiple animal cruelty charges because sheep, goats, pigs, ducks, chickens, and dogs were found in poor condition on her property.

Many charges were filed, and Ms. Hedrick was sentenced on 10/23/09 after pleading guilty in King George Circuit Court.  (Information about this case has appeared in previous Court Watch alerts.)  

However, in 2007 and two years before this case was initiated, Ms. Hedrick was found guilty of animal cruelty and sentenced to 180 days in jail, but that sentence was suspended.  Because of the current case, Ms. Hedrick has been re-arrested and was to in court on 8/5/09 to be sentenced on the suspended 6 month sentence.  However, that 8/5/09 hearing was continued to 11/18/09.
action anticipated:  possible revocation of suspended 2007 sentence

11/19/09 Thursday
1:30 p.m.
Hanover County General District Court
District Courts Building; 7515 Library Drive; Hanover, VA 23069-0176
Clerk:  Ms. Page B. Wright
804-365-6191  fax:  804-365-6290  e-mail:
Prosecutor:  Asst. Commonwealth's Attorney Stephen Royalty
804-537-6185  fax:                           e-mail:
Defendant:  Donald T. Morris
      one Class 6 felony charge - dog fighting activity - under 3.2-6571 
      one Class 6 felony charge - torture animal causing death - under 3.2-6570
Donald Morris was arrested on 5/19/09 and charged with promoting dog fighting activity, the first charge listed above. More than a dozen dogs were taken from his home.  He was told by a judge in late May that he must forfeit his dogs and pay $15,000 for their care.  It is reported that Hanover County prosecutors believe Mr. Morris was breeding pit bulls to fight.

The second charge (above), torture animal causing death, was filed on 6/4/09, the second arrest of Mr. Morris in relation to this case.   

On 8/20/09, the case was continued to 11/19/09 with trial to take place then.
action anticipated:  trial

11/20/09  Friday  
11:00 am
Orange County General District Court
110 N. Madison Road; Orange, VA 22960-1305
Clerk:  Barbara B. Miller
540-672-3150  fax:  540-672-9438   e-mail:
Prosecutor:  Rick Moore, Asst. Commonwealth's Attorney
540-672-4848  fax:  540-672-9095   e-mail:
Defendant:  Nancy Sorrell Mackall
     20 Class 4 misdemeanor charges - failure to bury/cremate - under 18.2-510
     10 Class 1 misdemeanor charges - cruelty to animals generally - under 3.2-6570
Nancy Sorrel Mackall had both a rescue for polo ponies and a breeding operation, but was no longer actively involved.  Hospitalized, Ms. Mackall called a neighbor, asking the neighbor to check on her animals.  The neighbor went to the Mackall farm and found horses and dogs without food or water.  The neighbor left food and water and contacted animal control.  Animal control officers found a grisly scene when they arrived on 8/6/09.  Deputy Sheriff Tim Murphy said there were 20 horses on the farm with 10 of them in fair condition, but the other 10 were in "dire need" of help.  In addition, animal control officers found dogs confined to crates with no care, and a horse trapped in a trailer with no food or water; because of the amount of manure in which the horse was standing, the horse appeared to have been trapped there for a significant time.  In addition, Deputy Sheriff Murphy said 20 dead horses were found in "various states of decomposition".  This resulted in animal control officers seizing 10 horses and three dogs.

A seizure hearing was held on 8/12/09, awarding the 10 horses and two of the three dogs to the county.  It also resulted in a prohibition against Ms. Mackall having horses for the next two years, and to have only the one dog for that same two years.  She must also pay transportation, medical and boarding costs for the seized animals, and must also pay someone to care for the animals remaining on her farm.  One horse is at the Orange County Animal Shelter; the rest are in foster homes until adopted.

Ms. Mackall was arraigned on 8/21/09.  She was to be tried on 10/16/09, but the trial was continued until 11/20/09.  
action anticipated:  trial
  Ms. Mackall died 11/3/09 at Capital Hospice in Arlington.  The Orange County's Commonwealth Attorney, Diana Wheeler, said the charges against Ms. Mackall will be dismissed.  She had transferred ownership of 10 of the horses and made restitution to the county for veterinary care for the seized horses.

11/20/09  Friday
11:00 a.m.
Powhatan County General District Court
3880-D Buckingham Road; Powhatan, VA 23139
Clerk:  Ms. Gloria M. Blankenship
804-598-5665  fax:  804-598-5648 e-mail:
                                                                   (not confirmed)
Prosecutor:  Commonwealth's Attorney Robert B. Beasley, Jr.
804-598-5668  fax:  804-598-7939 e-mail:
                                                                    (not confirmed)
Defendants:  Melvin Boone
                      Kelvin Thompson
Charge:  contempt/failure to appear under 19.2-128
See details above in the 11/13/09 entry for five Powhatan defendants; the entry includes Melvin Boone and Kelvin Thompson.

Melvin Boone and Kelvin Thompson were to appear in Powhatan County General District Court on October.  They did not appear in court on those days (10/2/09 for Mr. Thompson and 10/30/09 for Mr. Boone).  Both now face contempt of court charges as a result.
action anticipated:  arraignment on failure to appear charge

11/24/09 Tuesday
1 pm
Southampton General District Court
22350 Main Street, Courtland, VA  23837
Clerk:  Belinda J. Jones
757-653-2673  fax:  757-653-2656    e-mail:
Defendant:  Patricia Louise Cohan
     one class 1 misdemeanor - selling animals after conviction of cruelty/negligence -  
     under 3.2-6570.1
     one class 4 misdemeanor - owner providing inadequate care - under 3.2-6503
Background is not known at this time.  Ms. Cohan (AKA Patricia Cohan-Kinlaw and Patricia Kinlaw) has faced other animal cruelty charges including some charges currently pending.
action anticipated:  arraignment

11/30/09   Monday   
9:00 a.m.
Spotsylvania County Circuit Court
9115 Courthouse Road; Spotsylvania, VA 22553-0096
Clerk:  Hon. Christalyn M. Jett
540-507-7600  fax:                           e-mail:
Prosecutor:  Thomas Shaia, Deputy Commonwealth's Attorney
540-507-7650  fax:  540-582-3291  e-mail:
Defendant:  Robert James Ward
  two Class 6 felony counts - carnal knowledge - animal - under 18.2-361
Robert James Ward of Spotsylvania County was arrested 5/18/09 on charges of bestiality after admitting to his family he had been "fooling around" with his German shepherd.  Mr. Ward has been registered with the Virginia State Police sex offender registry since 2005.  Mr. Ward was arraigned 5/19/09 in Spotsylvania County General District Court.

1st Sgt. Liz Scott of the Spotsylvania County Sheriff's Office said an exam by a veterinarian revealed the female dog's anal glands were swollen.  A PERK kit, usually used to test for forcible sex crimes on humans, was completed on the dog.

In the Spotsylvania County General District Court on 7/7/09, the bestiality charge was certified after a judge heard evidence.  The Grand Jury indicted Mr. Ward on 7/20/09, and the case moved to the Spotsylvania County Circuit Court.  When Mr. Ward was arraigned on 8/6/09, a trial was set for 10/1/09. 

On 10/1/09 in Circuit Court, Mr. Ward pleaded not guilty to both charges.  However, one charge against Mr. Ward was dismissed because a defendant cannot be convicted of the same offense twice, and so the prosecutor, Tom Shaia, kept only the ongoing charges (i.e., 12/1/08 through 5/18/09 dates).  Mr. Ward was tried on that charge, found guilty, and scheduled to be sentenced on 11/30/09.
action anticipated:  sentencing  


Virginians for Animal Welfare

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PHILADELPHIA - A cat found wrapped in duct tape in a North Philadelphia yard has a new home.

Pennsylvania Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals spokeswoman Liz Williamson says the gray tabby, nicknamed "Sticky" by animal welfare workers, has been adopted. Williamson says the family who took the cat wishes to remain anonymous.

The cat was found Sept. 22, wrapped neck to tail in silver duct tape. She was mildly dehydrated and had to be sedated while the tape was cut off.

Nineteen-year-old James Davis faces charges of cruelty to animals and possession of an instrument of crime in the case.

Davis is in custody awaiting a psychological evaluation. He faces up to two years in prison and a minimum $1,000 fine if convicted.

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On June 28th Odenville Al. Babyboy slipped out of the safety of his loving home .He wondered down the hill & found some small children & played with them ,then proceeded to go into a neighbors yard were he was shot,Only to die minutes later in the street befor babyboys owners could get to him.
A lawsuit has been filed in the District Courts Of Saint Clair Co.
All new info on case will be posted in the Justice4babyboy group,thank you


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Holland & Muirden Attorneys at Law
J. Jeffrey Holland
1343  Sharon-Copley Rd
P.O. Box 345
Sharon Center, Ohio 44274
ph: 330-239-4480, 866-684-7336; fax: 330-239-6224

We deeply regret all errors. Kinship Circle’s research, including media stories and
PETA’s official letter, indicated that the city attorney (Douglas J. Powley)
would prosecute this case. Mr. Powley himself has responded to letter senders:

“Attorney J. Jeffrey Holland of Sharon Center has been designated by the
Summit County Humane Society to prosecute this case.” Douglas J. Powley,
Chief City Prosecutor

Our original alert, with this correction, is below.
Brenda Shoss, Kinship Circle,

8/18/09: Put Petland Out Of The Bunny Business & Jail Killer
**There are 2 separate sample letters in this alert**

Before its removal from Facebook, the caption under this photo read, "A
normal day at Petland." Former Akron, Ohio employee Elizabeth Carlisle is
charged with two counts of animal cruelty for drowning two wounded rabbits.

8/18/09 UPDATE: Carlisle pleaded not guilty to two misdemeanor animal
cruelty charges in Akron Municipal Court. Her pretrial hearing before Judge
Stephen Fallis is 9/3/09.

Easily modify letter. Copy/paste it into an email or print letter to fax or mail.   

Petland USA
Ed Kunzelman, Founder and Chair
Frank Difatta, President
250 Riverside St.; Chillicothe, OH 45601
ph: 740-775-2464, 800-221-5935; fax: 740-775-2575
Petland marketing and communication:,

Dear Mr. Kunzelman and Mr. Diffata,

I understand Petland closed its Akron, Ohio outlet after employee Elizabeth
Carlisle bragged about drowning two rabbits on her Facebook page. I implore
you to take one more step: Please end rabbit sales at all Petland stores.

As you are aware, Carlisle not only drowned rabbits, but also dangled their
dead bodies on either side of her grinning face for an Internet photo. In
Facebook comments, Carlisle says she posed for her manager's camera
"swearing at [the rabbits] to just hurry up and die..."

Do workers like Carlisle represent Petland's euthanasia policy and overall
mission "to make a difference" in the communities it serves? Carlisle claims
the rabbits had been "attacking and eating each other." On Facebook she
describes wounds such as a missing eye, broken jaw and lower-body paralysis.
Where were other employees as these injuries occurred over a span of time?

If the rabbits had been responsibly tended to in the first place, this
merciless killing might not have happened.

Animal health and safety seem problematic for Petland, despite statements
about "the best health care practices [for] the pets in our care." Petland
ought to focus exclusively on pet supplies and counseling, while promoting
the adoption of homeless animals in cooperation with local rescue groups.

As a minimum effort -- considering the negligence and cruelty in these
killings -- Petland should terminate rabbit sales at all stores. Thank you
for your valuable time and consideration.


Easily modify letter. Copy/paste it into an email or print letter to fax or mail.   

Accused rabbit abuser faces protesters, pleads not guilty
Liz Carlisle will be arraigned Monday on cruelty charges in rabbit drowning case
Petland Employee Who Drowned Rabbits Should Serve Time if Convicted, Says PETA
Ask Petland to End Rabbit Sales After Employee Rabbit Killings
Akron Petland closes and employee faces cruelty charges...

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Virginians for Animal Welfare

Alert     7/16/09         More  July Court Watch

Here are cases for the middle of July.
Please particularly see the Iris Hedrick case on 7/23/09.  You may recall this case from earlier this year; the picture that remains in my mind is of the little pigs frozen in the ice as they tried to survive.  Will you attend the trial?
Here is what's on this alert.  Some already have updates:

Montgomery County
Michelle Atkinson
Montgomery County
Virginia Atkinson
Chesterfield County
Patti Wheeler
Newport News  
Stephen Bennett
King George County  
Iris Hedrick
Camilo B. Delfinado


7/14/09  Tuesday
10:30 a.m.
Montgomery County General District Court/Christiansburg
1 East Main Street; Suite 201; Christiansburg, VA 24073
Clerk:  Kimberly W. McKittrick
540-394-2086    fax:  540-382-6988   
Prosecutor:  Asst. Commonwealth Attorney Robby Fierro
804-748-1221  fax:  804-717-6277  
Defendant:  Patti Wheeler
          five Class 1 misdemeanor charges - animal cruelty - under 3.2-6570
        (four with arrest date of 5/30/09 and one with arrest date of 5/14/09)
        four Class 4 misdemeanor charges - failure to dispose of dead dog -
        under 3.2-6587
        one Class 4 misdemeanor charge - failure to get kennel license
        - under 4-35
        one Class 6 felony charge - destruction of property with intent - under
On 5/14/09, 60 animals (56 dogs and four dogs) were removed from a home in Chesterfield County which Patti Wheeler rented.  It is not clear whether Ms. Wheeler lived in that house, or if only the animals were there continuously.  Ms. Wheeler turned custody of the pets over to Chesterfield County authorities, and the animals were taken to the Chesterfield Animal Shelter.  On 6/1/09, Chesterfield County Police Department said Ms. Wheeler is also charged with failure to dispose of dead companion animals, failure to obtain a kennel license, and destruction of property. 
Ms. Wheeler was arraigned on 6/3/09.  The felony destruction of property charge was to be heard separately from the animal charges, but all charges will now be heard at the same time on 7/14/09.
anticipated action:  trial
UPDATE:   case continued until 8/12/09

7/15/09 Wednesday
11:00 a.m.
Newport News General District Court
2500 Washington Avenue, Newport News, VA  23607
Clerk:  Faye L. Rogers
757-926-8811  fax:  757-926-8496 E-mail:
Defendant:  Stephen Darnell Bennett
          one unclassified misdemeanor charge - failure to obtain license -
          under 6-33
          one Class 1 misdemeanor charge - cruelty to animals -
          under 3.2-6570
            one unclassified misdemeanor charge - failure to obtain rabies
          vaccination - under 6-88 
Court Watch was told this case was underway, and that there is likely some family connection between the defendant, Stephen Bennett, and someone in the Newport News sheriff's department.  To date, no additional information is available other than the court records on line.
anticipated action:  disposition/sentencing/revocation hearing
NOTE:  incomplete information
UPDATE:  continued to 9/23/09

7/23/09 Thursday
:00 a.m.
King George County Circuit Court - Criminal Division
9483 Kings Highway; Suite 3; King George, VA  22485
Clerk:  Charles V. Mason
540-775-3322 (also is fax)  E-mail:
Prosecutor:  Commonwealth's Attorney Matthew J. Britton
540-775-4442     fax:  540-775-7310  E-mail:
Defendant:  Iris Marie Hedrick
          five unclassified misdemeanor charges - animal cruelty 
          - under 3.2-6570A
          two unclassified misdemeanor charges - animal neglect
          - under 3.2-6503
          five unclassified misdemeanor charges - failure to bury animal -
          under 18.2-510
            four Class 6 felony charges - animal cruelty, 2nd offense in 5 years-
         death - under 3.2-6570
Authorities went to the home of Iris Marie Hedrick on 1/2/09 in response to an anonymous tip.  There they found dozens of animals, dead or severely malnourished.  Ms. Hedrick faced multiple animal cruelty charges because sheep, goats, pigs, ducks, chickens, and dogs were found in poor condition on her property.  Included were baby pigs which froze in the mud where they struggled and died.  Many of the animals were in pens within 30 feet of the house, and some living animals were eating dead ones.  Veterinarians saved some of the animals, but others were euthanized.  Animal control officers and volunteers worked with the veterinarians to save as many as possible, and many were placed with volunteer groups.
At a hearing on 3/11/09 in King George County's General District Court, Ms. Hedrick waived her right to a preliminary hearing on the felony charges, and the case was certified to the Grand Jury, which heard the case on 4/9/09.  On that April date, Ms. Hedrick was indicted on charges that she severely neglected a variety of animals, resulting in 16 offenses charged against her.  On a hearing on 5/7/09, a trial date was set for 7/23/09.
action anticipated:  trial   

7/23/09  Thursday
10:00 a.m.
Suffolk General District Court
150 N. Main Street; Suffolk, VA  23434
Clerk:  Brenda C. Brown
Ph:  757-514-4822 Fax:  757-925-1790    E-mail:
Prosecutor:  Commonwealth's Attorney Susan H. Walton
Ph:  757-514-4383 Fax:  757-9223-2253 E-mail:
Defendant:  Camilo B. Delfinado
Charges:  four Class 1 misdemeanor counts of cruelty to animals generally filed under 3.2-6570
Because of a complaint, Suffolk animal control officers went to property in Suffolk owned by Camilo B. Delfinado of Virginia Beach.  Found were four dead goats.  Necropsy showed that one goat died of starvation; the other three goats died of a combination of starvation and parasites.  Twenty or 30 other goats were found along with many chickens.  Animal control officers reported there was no food or water for the animals, although there was food stored on the property.  Debris on the property was an additional reason for continuing the investigation.  
Mr. Delfinado was arraigned on 6/3/09.
anticipated action:  trial

Lillian Clancy and Don Marro


Virginians for Animal Welfare

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Hi Jill,
Right now in Michigan, shelter cats and dogs can be bought for experimental research. The animals are then euthanized.
Support Michigan House Bill 4663 to eliminate pound seizure in Michigan animal shelters >>

Companion animals depend on humans for their safety and well-being. Tragically, this dependency is betrayed when shelters allow these pets to be taken by Class B Dealers for resale to research.

When Class B dealers (animal brokers) and research facilities can obtain cats and dogs from animal shelters, it diminishes the shelters' credibility and purpose, and betrays public trust.
From Care2Best,

Karina M.
Care2 Petition Site Team

Take action link:

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Ohio Man Faces Jail Time for Killing Dogs

posted: 15 HOURS 1 MINUTE AGO
comments: 186
COLUMBUS, Ohio (July 8) - An Ohio firefighter faces jail time and may lose his job for shooting his two dogs to death rather than pay to board them while he went on a cruise.
Columbus firefighter David P. Santuomo, 43, took Sloopy and Skeeter to his home's basement, suspended them from a pipe near the ceiling and fired at least 11 shots from a .22-caliber rifle fitted with a homemade silencer, Franklin County Prosecuting Attorney Ron J. O'Brien said.
Santuomo then wrapped the carcasses in plastic and dumped them in a trash bin behind Firehouse 27, where he worked, O'Brien said.
"This is pretty heinous," said Cheri Miller, spokeswoman for the Capital Area Humane Society, which carried out a search warrant in Santuomo's home. The humane society has limited law enforcement powers in Franklin County.
Santuomo pleaded guilty in June to two misdemeanor counts of improperly killing a companion animal and a felony count of possession of a criminal tool. Santuomo had fashioned a makeshift silencer by taping a 2-liter soda bottle to the end of the rifle. The incident happened in December.
Miller said appalled fellow firefighters turned Santuomo in to authorities.
"There were reports that he was bragging about this," she said.
Santuomo initially told investigators the dogs had ingested antifreeze and he killed them to put them out of their misery, Miller said. However, after necropsies showed the dogs were not poisoned, the firefighter admitted shooting them because he couldn't afford to board them, she said. Public records show Santuomo has twice filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection and underwent a home foreclosure in 2003.
The Columbus Division of Fire has received more than 2,000 outraged e-mails and calls from the public, said Battalion Chief David Whiting, the department's spokesman.
"People are not very happy," he said. "We had people say they should do to him what he's done to the dogs. A lot of people want him fired. They don't want him coming into their house. They're worried about their animals; they're worried about their kids. They'd just as soon let their house burn down if he shows up."
The Division of Fire has concluded an internal investigation, including interviews with Santuomo, Whiting said. The report now goes to Fire Chief Ned Pettus Jr., who will schedule a disciplinary hearing. Punishment, if any, could range from a verbal reprimand to firing, Whiting said. With appeals and possible arbitration, the whole process could take a month or more, he said.
In the meantime, Santuomo is working in the division's fire alarm office, "where he is not dealing face to face with the public," Whiting said. If he remains employed with the fire division, he will return to his regular assignment, though that could bring a new set of challenges, Whiting added.
"If someone did this that worked next to you at work, how would you feel about working with him?" Whiting asked. "We'll cross that bridge when we come to it. ... There are a lot of options."
Santuomo has only minor disciplinary matters, such as tardiness, in his record, Whiting said.
Skip over this content
Santuomo was sentenced to 90 days in jail, to be served in 10-day increments over the next two years. He also has to pay $4,500 in restitution, perform 200 hours of community service, stay away from companion animals for five years and write a letter of apology to be published in the local newspaper and the International Association of Firefighters magazine, the humane society's Miller said.
Santuomo's attorney said that his client is remorseful over his actions and that people need to temper their outrage. "It's the same old story. They couldn't care less about people and they love animals," lawyer Sam Shamansky said.
The firefighter, who could not be reached for comment, has no criminal history other than traffic violations, Shamansky said.
"It, of course, was a heinous act, and it's an act for which he's sorry and has accepted responsibility," Shamansky said of the dog killings. "He's been punished appropriately, and I think it's now time for the public to practice what they preach and show a little forgiveness and mercy. Maybe that might be a novel approach."
© 2009 Cable News Network. Turner Broadcasting System, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
2009-07-08 16:20:03

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Click on EMAIL THIS LETTER underneath recent sample letters in Kinship
Circle’s Letter Library (above link). A ready-to-send message opens in the
email software on your computer. Just sign and hit send.

5/19/09: Trophy Hunters To Prey On Delisted Wolves

On 1/14/09, an Interior Department rule under the Bush Administration
removed gray wolves in the western Great Lakes and northern Rocky Mountains
regions from the federal endangered species list. Then Obama froze and
seemingly overturned this decision. In round 3, new Interior Secretary Ken
Salazar once again stripped wolves of their protected status.
Photo: National Geographic, Joel Sartore

FULL CONTACT INFORMATION. Sample letter follows

Honorable Ken Salazar, Secretary of the Interior
U.S. Department of the Interior
1849 C Street, N.W.; Washington DC 20240

Dr. Rowan W. Gould, Acting Director
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
1849 C Street, NW, Room 3256
MailStop 3238 MIB; Washington, DC 20240-0001
ph: 1-800-344-9453

ALL EMAILS FROM ABOVE, to cut/paste in TO: or BCC: line of your email:,,,,

During campaigns, recipients may change or disable their email addresses.
Emails from government, corporate, or institute websites may be incorrect.

Easily modify letter. Copy/paste it into an email or print letter to fax or mail.   

Dear Secretary Salazar and Acting Director Gould:

I applaud the Obama administration for reviewing many Bush-era rules that
harm environment and wildlife. Unfortunately, science-based progress froze
when Interior Secretary Ken Salazar okayed the removal of gray wolves from
the Endangered Species list in the Northern Rockies and western Great Lakes.

For more than 1,000 wolves between Greater Yellowstone and Glacier National
Park, this means open season. In fact, Idaho Gov. C.L. Butch Otter told
reporters his state is "really counting on a robust population of trophy
animals" to gun down.

With breeding season in full swing since April, pregnant females and pups
are among those caught in the crossfire. Please don't relinquish wolf
management to Montana, Idaho and parts of Washington, Oregon and Utah, along
with Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin.

Wolves are key to thriving ecosystems. When the Bush/Cheney administration
delisted them, a federal judge reinstated all safeguards. Once again,
wildlife/environment groups are in court to challenge this ill-advised
decision. We cannot stand by as the largest wolf slaughter in the lower 48
United States unfolds.

Less than a year ago, 11 conservation groups argued (and won) that wolf
populations had not rebounded. Wolf numbers still don't add up to biological
recovery status. Yellowstone populations have dropped 27% in the last year.
Moreover, delisting wolves does not consider their long-term survival.

At the very least, I urge suspension of this reckless plan until it
undergoes the type of scientific scrutiny the Obama administration

Thank you,


Natural Resources Defense Council
Gray Wolves To Be Removed From Endangered Species List
Salazar Approves Removing Gray Wolves From Endangered Species List
Interior Secretary Announces Wolf Delisting; Conservation Groups Will
Challenge Removal of Essential Federal Protections

We Can’t Work For Animals Without You!

   Kinship Circle / 7380 Kingsbury Blvd. / St. Louis, MO 63130

KINSHIP CIRCLE is a 501c3 public charity. Donations are tax-deductible.

* Select a Kinship Circle ALERT received in your mailbox
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Kinship Circle Primary:
    Action campaigns on animal cruelty issues worldwide
Kinship Circle Animal Disaster Aid Network:
    Animal rescue coordination/news in disasters + companion animal alerts

*DISCLAIMER: The information in these alerts is verified with the original
source. Kinship Circle does not assume responsibility for the accuracy of
the information or for the consequences of its use. Nothing in this email is
intended to encourage illegal action in whatever country you are reading it
in. Kinship Circle does not engage in, nor support, any form of harassment
or unlawful activity. Nothing in this alert serves to promote such cond

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It's Finally Here! A Time for Justice for a Pet Goat Who Looked into the Eyes of Evil On Friday, May 15th, alleged suspect Timothy Douglas Brown, makes his plea. Will you be there with us?
If it weren’t for the actions of Angel, Pasado's Safe Haven's cruelty investigator, this day would never have come. And if it weren’t for you, the necropsy, the time, gas, and effort that made the prosecution of three suspects, this little animal’s life would be forgotten.
YOU and Pasado’s – are an amazing team. Celebrate this small victory with us. Friday May 15th - 8:30AM Alleged suspect, Timothy Douglas Brown Pleas before a Pierce County Judge Histor y You will recall PasadoAlerts that told the story - A neighborhood pet goat was led by his collar into the woods outside a small town south of Seattle. Three men tied him to a tree. He stood - looking into the eyes of evil. They shot him with bows and arrows, time after time. He suffered as they walked away; he took his last breath, alone. Animal control wouldn’t respond to calls so neighbors called Pasado’s Safe Haven. We are the only animal shelter that investigates animal cruelty in the Northwest and there was a job to be done this August night. Angel, Pasado’s investigator, arrived and got to work; she was this innocent animal's only voice. Eight months after lifting the lifeless body from the dirt, her anger is still palpable. "The fear and confusion he must have felt will forever leave an impression in my mind," Angel says. "Of all the cases I have worked, this one touched my soul in a profound way." After carefully gathering evidence from the scene, Angel and her posse, carried the goat through the deep, dark woods for over and hour so a necropsy could be performed. It is you who help pay for "animal autopsies" to help prosecutors make their case. It is you who pay for what Angel did next: tracking down witnesses into the morning hours, collecting all the evidence, drafting the final reports and turning over hours of work to the sheriff.
Angel, and all of us at Pasado’s, waited anxiously for weeks. Would all of this work make a difference? Would this animal’s suffering matter?
The answers were ‘yes’. The sheriff took Angel’s evidence seriously. They referred the case to the Pierce County Prosecuting Attorney. The very men Angel reported as the perpetrators of this heinous crime were charged with Animal Cruelty in the First Degree.
She has done you and your gifts to Pasado's Safe Haven proud. She went the distance for this animal. Please join her and many of Pasado's Safe Haven's supporters on the steps of the courthouse tomorrow. Pasado's Safe Haven will be there - and we hope you will join us! We'll bring banners. You make any kind of sign you wish. Friday, May 15th at 8:30AM Pierce County Superior (CDPJ) 930 Tacoma Ave S. Room 250 | Tacoma, Wa map and directions If you can't make it, help me help Angel continue this vital work. Please make a donation of any amount – everything helps! Thank you so much. Click HERE to Donate. For more information on our current cruelty cases, go to

  Susan Michaels, Founder - Pasado's Safe Haven
"Pasado's Safe Haven has been rated a 4-Star Charity for a record five years in a row. According to Charity Navigator, the nation's pre miere independent evaluator of charities: "Only 4% of all charities in the U.S. have received at least 5 consecutive 4-Star evaluations. This indicates that Pasado's Safe Haven outperforms most charities in America in its efforts to operate in the most fiscally-responsible way possible. This "exceptional" designation from Charity Navigator differentiates Pasado's Safe Haven from its peers and demonstrates to the public it is worthy of their trust."

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Contact Page For The Death Pet Ranch Let Them Know We Are Angry!


In memory of my sweet old man, Caesar D. (April 1995-Jan. 6, 2009):
"They are gone from our sight...but never our memory, gone from our hearing...but never our hearts, gone from our touch...but their presence is felt, and the love that they gave us never departs."

From: Sarah Cole  (at
Sent: Thursday, April 16, 2009 4:52 PM
My dog died - Dude Ranch Pet Resort - Glen Allen, VA

Please please pass along this sad warning to fellow dog owners...Be careful
who you trust to care for your precious animals.

Last weekend (April 10th, 2009), we were going out of town  to visit family for Easter so I arranged for my 2 dogs to stay at the posh Dude Ranch Pet Resort in Glen Allen, VA. 
They offer a dog pick-up service, so they arrived to pick up my 2 dogs, but they only brought one dog cage.  We put one dog in the cage in the back seat of the Scion, and the other in the back.  
About 15 minutes after the kennel drove away with our pets, I got a phone call that made me feel sick- the owner said my dog Zeus somehow opened the back window and jumped out - he was missing and probably hurt.  We cancelled our vacation, and frantically raced to the road where they said they lost him.  The kennel employee driving didn't know where lost him (which makes us very mad), so we didn't know where to look. We looked through fields, woods, yards and still could not find him by 10pm.  We went home and made lost dog signs on posts and made a ton of flyers.  At sunrise, we went back out to look optimistically, but were terrified at the thought that he was hurt and alone in the woods.  We knew we might never find him.  
After filling mailboxes with lost dog flyers and putting signs on the side of the road, we still couldn't find him.  We asked a pack of bikers if they had seen a lost dog running around but they all said no.  Slowly, one biker pedaled back and told us that he had seen our dog, about a half mile up the road in a ditch.  We burst into tears and walked that dreadful half mile only to see that it was our sweet Zeus.  We collapsed on the side of the road when we saw him - he was twisted and broken and dead.  He had never been hurt before, so it was just so shocking to see him dead and unmoving.  We are so sad about his death, and we are very angry at the Dude Ranch Pet Resort.  I believe the driver did not latch the back door, so it flew open and my dog fell out to his early death, but they told us that he opened the window himself.  In any case, it should never have happened, and we are crushed and so sad and we just wish we could have Zeus back.  I will never use the Dude Ranch Pet Resort again.  
I'll be on Channel 6 WTVR at 5pm and 6pm talking about it.  The reporter talked to the kennel manager who said that Zeus' death isn't newsworthy, that dogs die all the time and that no one cares about this.  We are very upset...
Sad regards,
Sarah Cole

Rest in peace, Zeus.

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an "EMAIL THIS LETTER" feature. Just click and an addressed, ready-to-go
message opens in the email software on your computer. All you do is sign and
send. This feature is always below the sample letter, on our website.

4/25/09: Don't Stain 2010 Olympics With The Blood Of Seals

FULL CONTACT INFORMATION. Email block & sample letter follow.

Vancouver Olympic Organizing Committee
Mr. John Furlong, CEO, Vancouver Organizing Committee for the 2010 Olympic
and Paralympic Winter Games (VANOC)
#400 - 3585 Graveley Street
Vancouver, BC; V5K 5J5, Canada
ph: 1-778-328-2010, 1-877-408-2010; fax: 1-778-328-2011

Canadian Olympic Committee (COC)
Mr. Michael A. Chambers, President
21 St.Clair Avenue E., Suite 900
Toronto, ON; Canada, M4T 1L9
ph: 416-962-0262; fax: 416-967-4902

Her Excellency the Right Honourable Michaelle Jean
Governor General of Canada
Rideau Hall, 1 Sussex Drive
Ottawa, Ontario  K1A 0A1
ph: 613-993-8200, 1-800-465-6890; fax: 613-998-8760

Mayor Gregor Robertson
Vancouver City Hall
453 West 12th Avenue
Vancouver, BC V5Y1V4
ph: 604-873-7621; fax: 604-873-7685

Vancouver City Council
Vancouver City Hall, 453 West 12th Avenue
Vancouver, BC V5Y1V4
fax: 604-873-7750
Councillor Suzanne Anton:
Councillor David Cadman:
Councillor George Chow:
Councillor Heather Deal:
Councillor Kerry Jang:
Councillor Raymond Louie:
Councillor Geoff Meggs:
Councillor Andrea Reimer:
Councillor Tim Stevenson:
Councillor Ellen Woodsworth:

The Right Honourable Stephen Harper, Prime Minister of Canada
Office of the Prime Minister, 80 Wellington Street
Ottawa K1A 0A2
fax: 613-941-6900; email:

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-- Easily modify letter. Copy/paste it into an email
or print letter to fax or mail.   

Honourable Canadian Officials and 2010 Olympic Organizers:

A spotlight shines on Canada as it readies to host the 2010 Winter Olympics.
Unfortunately, the Games also shed light on the world's largest marine
mammal massacre. I urge government officials and 2010 Olympic organizers to
publicly oppose the commercial harp seal hunt.

You have an opportunity to show responsible stewardship of Canada's wildlife
and environment. Please use your influential status to help end the annual
slaughter of some 300,000 seals off Canada's East Coast.

To butcher seals, 98% of whom range from 2 weeks to 3 months in age, sealers
ambush ice nurseries. They gun down, bludgeon, kick, and thrash pups with
razor-sharp hakapiks. The 2009 kill quota allows for 338,200 seals.

You don't need to be an "animal lover" to know this yearly onslaught is
wrong. In fact Canadian Senator Mac Harb introduced a bill to ban seal
slaughter in Canadian waters. The Harb Seal Bill is a first-ever attempt to
recognize global disapproval of a dead-end industry. Belgium, the
Netherlands, Slovenia, Croatia, the United States and Mexico already
prohibit seal products. The European Union's pending trade ban on all
non-aboriginal seal goods is progressing through European Parliament.

Images of sealers dragging alert animals with boathooks tarnish the
character of the Vancouver Games. Hunters commonly hook seals without
verifying unconsciousness or death. A team of impartial veterinarians once
concluded 42% of examined seals were still awake when skinned.

A hunt with little financial relevance shouldn't be allowed to damage
Canada's reputation. In Newfoundland, where 90% of sealers reside,
seal-related revenue constitutes a small percentage of the economy. Sealers
fish year-round. Killing seals generates a minute portion of their incomes.

As all eyes focus on Vancouver and Canada, please advocate an end to the
non-sustainable and ethically indefensible harp seal hunt.

Thank you,


Urge the Olympic Committee to Help End the Canadian Seal Slaughter

KINSHIP CIRCLE is a 501c3 public charity. Donations are tax-deductible.


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   Action campaigns on animal cruelty issues worldwide

Kinship Circle Animal Disaster Aid Network:
   Animal rescue coordination/news in disasters + companion animal alerts
    SEND: Address / Phone / Email for placement in geographic disaster zone

*DISCLAIMER: The information in these alerts is verified with the original
source. Kinship Circle does not assume responsibility for the accuracy of
the information or for the consequences of its use. Nothing in this email is
intended to encourage illegal action in whatever country you are reading it
in. Kinship Circle does not engage in, nor support, any form of harassment
or unlawful activity. Nothing in this alert serves to promote such conduct.

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Virginians for Animal Welfare
Alert  4/20/09 Dog Beating by Police Officer - We Need You!

There will be a trial on Wednesday, 4/22/09.  It is important that as many as possible attend. 

1.   Come.  Details are below.  This is not a pleasant case.

2.   If you can't come, please let the prosecutor, Ms. Shannon Manning, know you want the law vigorously enforced, and convey the same to the Chief Deputy City Attorney Allen Jackso n.  Contact info is below.

3.   Please give Animal Control Officer Angie Gromlich your thanks and support for standing up to Mr. Brown, and for being the complainant on this case!  Contact info is below.

4.   Here are several places you can learn more about this case:

5.   Encourage the Daily Press reporters who have already written about this case to be in court on 4/22/09 at 1:30.  The reporters:
Sabine Hirschauer - 757-247-4536
Peter Dujardin - 757-247-4749

6.&nb sp;  What would you like to do about the statement attributed to Rashad Brown that it is OK to beat dogs and children and he knows this to be so because he is a police officer for Newport News.

7.   If you do not agree with the action of Judge Alfred O. Masters who returned the dogs to Mr. Brown, his office number is 757-926-8876.  Judge Masters is a Traffic Court Judge for Newport News.

8.   Please contact the Attorney General, William Mims, and ask why someone who breaks the law is allowed to be a police officer.  Attorney General Mims is at 804-786-2071; his mail is 

4/22/09  Wednesday
1:30 p.m.
Newport News General District Court
2500 Washington Avenue, Newport News, VA  23607
Clerk:  Faye L. Rogers
Ph:  757-926-8811   Fax:  757-926-8496   E-mail:
Prosecutor: Asst. City Attorney (Ms) Shannon Manning
Ph:  757-926-8416   Fax:  757-926-8549   E-mail:
Chief Deputy City Attorney Allen Jackson
Ph:  757-926-8416   Fax:  757-926-8549 E-mail:
Complainant:  Animal Control Officer Angie Gromlich
Ph:  757-595-7387   Fax:       &n bsp;                  E-mail:
Defendant:  Rashad Brown
  two Class 1 misdemeanor charges of animal cruelty and torture
Rashad Brown, a Newport News police officer since 2005, is charged with two counts of animal cruelty and torture.  On 3/8/09, animal control officers were called to Mr. Brown's apartment to investigate a complaint, and when they arrived, Mr. Brown admitted beating his two dogs with a hard plastic stick.  During that visit, one of the dogs, a lab, is reported to have shown aggression toward the animal control officer, Angie Gromlich, despite several requests from her to confine the dog.  Mr. Brown is reported to have stated that in Virginia, it is not illegal to beat your dogs or your children, adding that he knows this because he is a policeman.  Animal control officers seized both dogs and brought them to a veterinarian for examination.  Abrasions and bruises on the dogs were "consistent with being struck by an object and kicked", Ms. Gromlich wrote.  Subsequently, Judge Alfred O. Masters, Jr. returned the dogs to Mr. Brown.  Crystal Brown will apparently also be a participant in the proceedings, being charged with two Class 4 misdemeanors (failure to obtain licenses and failure to get rabies vaccinations).
Mr. Brown is the sixth police officer from Newport News facing criminal charges since 8/08. 
Action anti cipated:  trial   

Thank you.

Lillian Clancy and Don Marro

Virginians for Animal Welfare

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6/24/08: Nepal's Monkeys Sold To Animal Experimenters
Easily modify letter and copy/paste it into an email or print out to fax or mail.

FULL CONTACT INFORMATION. Sample letter follows.

Ministry of Forest & Soil Conservation
Mr. Matrika Prasad Yadav
Singh Durbar, Kathmandu, Nepal
ph: 977-1-4262428; fax: 977-1-4223868

Department of Forest
Babarmahal, Kathmandu
ph: 977-1-4220303, 4221231, 4256227
fax: 977-1-4254305; email:,

Department of National Parks and Wildlife Conservation
Babarmahal, Kathmandu
ph: 977-1-4220912, 4220850; fax: 977-1-4227926

Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation
Mr.  Prithvi Subba Gurung
Singha Durbar, Kathmandu
ph: 977-1-4232411, 4222846, 4228847, 4216372
fax: 977-1-4227758; email:

Ministry of Environment, Science and Technology
Mr. Farmullah Mansoor
Singha Durbar, Kathmandu
ph: 977 (1) 4211661, 4211709, 4211860, 4211617, 4211698,4211641, 4211734
fax: 977 (1) 4211754; email:,

Rt. Hon. Girija Prasad Koirala, Prime Minister of Nepal
Office of the Prime Minister and Council of Ministers
Singh Durbar
P.O. Box: 23312
Kathmandu, Nepal
ph: 977-1-4211000; email:

Advisors to the Prime Minister
Mr. Ramesh Jung Thapa, Defence and Administration Advisor:
Mr. Aditya Baral, Senior Expert-Foreign Relations:,

Permanent Mission of the Kingdom of Nepal to the United Nations
Rue de la Servette 81
1201 Geneva, Switzerland
ph: (+41-22) 733-2600, 733-2621; fax: (+41-22) 733-2722

Permanent Mission of Nepal to the United Nations
820 Second Avenue, Suite 17B, New York, NY 10017
ph: 212-370-3988/3989; fax: 212-953-2038

Embassy of the Kingdom of Nepal In USA
2131 Leroy Place, N.W.; Washington D.C., 20008
ph: (001) 202-667-4550/4551/4552; fax: (001) 202-667-5534  


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campaigns, recipients may change or disable their email addresses. Emails
from government, corporate, or institute websites may be incorrect.

This letter is prepared to inform you about the issue.
Try to shorten and personalize your letter before sending.

Rt. Honorable Prime Minister, Respected Ministers and Nepalese Officials:

I kindly ask the government of Nepal to acknowledge global concern about its
breeding and export of monkeys for use in biomedical experimentation. Please
halt any shipments of rhesus macaques and enact laws to protect your
treasured wildlife.

As you know, India outlawed overseas sale of rhesus monkeys in 1977 in
response to ghastly radiation experiments on animals considered sacred by
many Indians. As a result, Western labs want Nepali monkeys -- and have
opened the door to let other foreign researchers exploit Nepalese species.

Experimentation upon primates has failed to produce tangible data for AIDS,
Alzheimer's, stroke, cancer, and other diseases. Still, electrodes are
lodged in the brains and spinal cords of monkeys. Seizures and infections
are artificially induced. Toxic substances are injected. Babies are forcibly
separated from "breeding" mothers.

It is irresponsible to promote animal research when so many animal-free
methods now offer data more relevant to humans. Findings from distressed
animals do not result in accurate extrapolation to humans. Though primates
possess physiological and psychological instincts as intricate as our own --
lab variables such as pain, injury, confinement, loneliness and repeated
handling generate misleading data.

In Nepal, Hindus celebrate monkeys as a reincarnation of Lord Hanuman.
Buddhists feel the killing or mistreatment of any animal is wrong. Monkeys
are an integral thread in Nepal's rich natural and cultural tapestry. They
live alongside humans in the temples or roam mountain forests. Inside a lab,
a monkey's life is defined by metal bars, cement floors, terror and pain.

I respectfully ask Nepalese authorities to advocate progressive animal-free
research. Please eliminate breeding compounds -- and stop the removal of
rhesus monkeys from their natural environment.



Stop Monkey Business Campaign
Gateway To Hell Campaign
Coalition Anti-Vivisection

Kinship Circle Animal Disaster Aid Network
was enlisted by Iowa Agriculture Dept/State Veterinary Response to send
volunteers for animal flood victims. During disasters, we are on phone, fax,
and Internet 24/7. The cost to keep our tiny staff on-call is immense.
donations are greatly appreciated at this time
Kinship Circle is a 501c3
nonprofit organization. All contributions are tax-deductible.


DONATE BY MAIL: Kinship Circle
7380 Kingsbury Blvd.; St. Louis, MO 63130

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Ohio to ban all pit bulls!!!

An Ohio legislator has proposed a bill to ban all pit bulls from the state. Owners would have 90 days to surrender their pit bulls which would then be killed by the dog warden.

Click here for more information and how you can help stop this medieval, cruel legislation.  Read why breed bans don’t work and what will help to reduce bites and improve community safety.

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Alert  5/8/08                            The Dogs vs. Junior Horton


Junior Horton will be tried on Friday, 5/16/08, at 1pm in Carroll County.

If there ever was a day to speak out for the animals, this is it.

We need you to come to the trial. 

This is where it all starts – with the Mr. Hortons of Carroll County, Virginia, and in places like his puppymill there.

Now it is time to say to every citizen of Virginia and every elected official in Virginia that you will not tolerate animal cruelty and flagrant violation of the law.


If you aren’t angry about what this man has done, let this refresh your memory:


On 11/1/07, Carroll County Animal Control authorities were contacted by Virginia Partnership for Animal Welfare and Support (VA PAWS) concerning a puppymill located in the Town of Hillsville.  A team of animal control professionals along with a veterinarian visited the property and found 1,080 small breed dogs of various ages in several locations on the property, including buildings and cages.  The owner/operator of the puppy mill, Lanzie Horton, Jr., had a license to keep 500 dogs.  He consented to the surrender of 980+ dogs on that date.  Source:  Carroll County Animal Control Press Release

There was an outpouring of assistance from a network of shelters to aid in this rescue operation.  Volunteers from the Washington region joined others from Florida and New York who streamed to the rural town of Hillsville.  “It’s been incredible,” Carroll County Administrator Gary Larrowe said.  Larrowe had declared a state of emergency after hundreds of dogs were found living in filthy cages.  Officials said they think it is the largest suspected puppy mill ever found in the state.  Source:, 11/11/07; Houston Chronicle, 11/11/07;, 11/11/07.

Horton surrendered to authorities on 1/31/08 and was released on $5,000 bond.  Source:  WHSV, Harrisonburg, VA News.  He was charged on 1/31/08 with 14 counts of animal cruelty (punishable by fine of $2,500 and 1 year in jail on each charge), 25 counts of animal neglect (punishable by fine of not more than $500 each count) and one count of failing to obtain a license tax for 125 unlicensed adult dogs (punishable by fine of $250).  The charges accuse Horton of depriving dogs of necessary food, drink, shelter or emergency veterinary treatment, and of failing to adequately house, feed, water, exercise or care for animals in his possession.  Source:  The Roanoke Times, 2/2/08. 

What can happen:

Mr. Horton is charged with 14 counts of animal cruelty, and each count is punishable by a fine of $2,500 and a year in jail.   If found guilty of all 14 counts, that certainly should get the attention of Mr. Horton and all the other Horton Wannabees in Virginia.

And do you know what has happened since?

Mr. Horton surrendered over 980 dogs, letting others pick up the tab for his flagrant violation of the law as they fed, cared for, and provided veterinary care for that incredible number of dogs. 

And are you ready for this? 

Mr. Horton is still in business, still selling dogs.

This case broke in November and here we are, 6 months later, still waiting for justice to be meted out on behalf of the dogs.

And after many shelters and rescues in Virginia and beyond spent over a quarter of a million dollars providing medical care and shelter to dogs from the Horton puppymill.

There is information on the case on the Carroll County website giving much information:

Remember this and the Bland County fire (the Schmucker case) are the reasons you all worked so hard and were successful in passing HB 538 – Del. Orrock’s puppymill bill.  Now we need to you come to the trial.  We want a crowd – a large crowd!!

Please don’t say it’s too far, or you have to work.  Many of you can make the drive, and many of you can take a day away to do this.   It is that important.

We know about the cost of gas, and if any of you can’t attend because of gas cost, let us know and a gas fund will be established, or just call it the tax deduction to VAW (Virginians for Animal Welfare) that it is.

Under any circumstances, get your email machine out and start sending to as many as you can, and tell others, in Carroll County or elsewhere, to do the same.  This isn’t a Carroll County problem.  It’s a Virginia problem.  No, it’s an American problem.

And this is hardly the way Carroll County wants Virginia and the rest of the country to think of it.

Let Carroll County officials know the animal welfare community across the US is watching, and Carroll County is on the radar screen whether it wants to be or not.

Let the people who run Carroll County know that you want Mr. Horton convicted and sentenced to the max – no token fines, no little slaps on the wrist, no more continuances – just do it and convict him, put him out of business, and prevent him from having any further commercial involvement with dogs.  He deserves no less.

Here are the contacts, and you needn’t be clever or long-winded.  Just say you fully expect Mr. Horton will be severely punished if convicted, and you expect nothing like this will ever happen there again.

The trial starts at 1:00 pm on Friday, 5/16/08 at:

Carroll County General District Court

605 Pine Street;  Hillsville, VA  24343-0698

phone:  276-730-3050             fax:  276-730-3054

Clerk:  Donna Janette Webb


Prosecutor:  Gregory Goad, Commonwealth Attorney

PO Box 280;  Hillsville, VA  24343

phone:  276-730-3091                         fax:  276-728-5111


Asst. Commonwealth Attorney:  Karen O. Boyer

phone:  276-730-3090                          


County Administrator, Carroll County:  Gary Larrowe

605-1 Pine Street;  Hillsville, VA  24343

phone:  276-730-3001                         fax:  276-730-3004

These are the members of the Carroll County Board of Supervisors:


Sam Dickson, Chairman, Carroll County Board of Supervisors

David Hutchins, Vice Chairman, Carroll County Board of Supervisors

Wesley Hurst, Member, Carroll County Board of Supervisors

Andrew Sanford Jackson, Member, Carroll County Board of Supervisors

Tom Littrell, Member, Carroll County Board of Supervisors

Manus McMillian, Member, Carroll County Board of Supervisors

Also contact the Carroll County Attorney (different than the Commonwealth Attorney):

James E. Cornwell, Carroll County Attorney

Send a short note to the Carroll County Office of Tourism, suggesting how this case reflects on Carroll County:

Donnie Turner, Chairman, Carroll County Office of Tourism

Please also contact the Commonwealth Attorney for your own county (see your county/city website) and ask them what they suggest you do to draw attention to the Horton case, and ask what they will do if puppymills are found in your own county.

Please contact the State Veterinarian and ask him how he and his staff are working to eliminate puppymills in Virginia.  Ask nicely but ask exactly what they have done to expedite proper implementation of Virginia law with the Horton case and other puppymills in Virginia.

Richard Wilkes, DVM, State Veterinarian, Virginia

Please contact the Animal Control Officer for Carroll County, Terry Woods, and ask what he may need to do his job and make sure the law is enforced, particularly with the Horton puppymill, but also generally in Carroll County.

Terry Woods, Animal Control Officer, Carroll County

A long way to drive for some of you, many contacts for each of you to make, but doing this is why we are all involved.  This only gets better if everyone gets involved.  You now have a chance to make something happen.  Grab the chance and do it.

Thank you.

Lillian Clancy and Don Marro

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Networking reso===========================================================
FULL CONTACT INFORMATION. Sample letter follows.

Katherine Fernandez Rundle, Miami-Dade County State Attorney
Isis Perez, Assistant State Attorney
Public Corruption Unit
1350 N.W. 12th Avenue Miami, FL 33136-2111
ph: 305-547-0664; Ms. Perez's secretary, Sharon:

*Kinship Circle cannot guarantee validity of email addresses. During
campaigns, recipients may change or disable their email addresses. Emails
from government, corporate, or institute websites may be incorrect.

SAMPLE LETTER --  This letter is prepared to inform you about the issue.
Try to shorten and personalize your letter before sending.
===========================================================urces for animal disaster victims + companion animal campaigns

5/12/08: K-9 Killers Go To Trial
Easily modify letter and copy/paste it into an email or print out to fax or mail.
  1. Rondale Brown, TRIAL DATE: May 19, 2008
  2. Alan Cockfield, TRIAL DATEL July, 28, 2008

Miami-Dade County State Attorney's Office:

Please accept my comments about Rondale Brown and Alan Cockfield, Miami-Dade
police officers who face animal cruelty charges in separate cases.

As you are aware, Officer Brown is accused of deliberately starving his K-9
partner Dynasty, a 4-year-old bloodhound. Sgt. Cockfield fatally kicked his
German shepherd, Duke, during K-9 training exercises. He allegedly jerked
and battered Duke until the dog became unconscious.

I respectfully ask that both offenders receive the maximum incarceration and
fines allowable by law. Please assure Brown and Cockfield acquire permanent
criminal records and undergo psychological evaluation and counseling. Both
men ought to be barred from personal or professional interaction with
animals. Lastly, convicted animal abusers should not fulfill community
service orders at an animal shelter, where they're exposed to vulnerable
animals and youthful volunteers.

According to the investigation in Officer Brown's case, Dynasty weighed a
robust 66 pounds in January 2007. By the following November, she perished at
33 pounds, with hollow eyes, bald patches and a wounded paw. Dynasty's
necropsy exposed acute malnutrition and dehydration.

Sgt. Cockfield reportedly fell into a "fit of rage" when Duke barked during
obedience drills. The dog succumbed to a "lethally timed heart-disrupting
kick delivered by his handler," the Miami Herald stated. Cockfield's blow to
the heart resulted in Duke’s excruciating and immediate death.

Brutal kicking and prolonged starvation do not qualify as "discipline." I
call upon the justice system to recognize the gravity of violence against
animals. Criminologists view the viciousness of an act, regardless of the
victim's identity, as a forerunner to more violence. Even police officers
must be subject to penalties commensurate with their actions.

Animal cruelty is a key trait in the American Psychiatric Association's
criterion for conduct disorders. The FBI red flags animal abuse when
profiling homicidal criminals and their potential for recurring violence.

Moreover, police officers are entrusted to protect the public. Both accused
men display utter lack of judgment in volatile or frustrating situations.
Their actions should serve as yardstick to measure probability of repeat
offenses. Please inform me of any progress in these very disturbing cases.

Thank you,