National Outrage: Despite Witnesses, Inadequate Charges, Dog Killer Bobby Loggins pleads Not Guilty

Sire, the 5-month-old American Bulldog killed by his owner, Bobby Loggins

Sire

His name was “Sire.”

The 5-month-old American Bulldog’s short life came to an abrupt end on June 9 when he urinated on a carpet while his owner, Bobby Loggins of Sioux City, Iowa, entertained friends.

Despite three witnesses who say otherwise, Loggins pleaded “not guilty” today to having inflicted 30 blows to Sire’s head, causing the puppy’s death. Even had Loggins pled guilty, Iowa’s current animal cruelty/torture laws would have allowed no more than aggravated misdemeanor charges being filed in his case.

The horrific puppy-killing case has drawn both statewide and national attention to animal abuse and animal torture legislation, and websites and bloggers across the U.S. are demanding change. Several focus on one key plea: those outraged with Iowa’s law should write Sioux City’s County Attorney Patrick Jennings asking that charges against Loggins be amended to reflect a crime far more serious than a simple traffic violation.

Dog Killer Bobby Loggins

Bobby Loggins

For many, Loggins’ “not guilty” plea to the misdemeanor charge only added insult to injury.

Sioux City’s KMEG 14 — who had the only crew inside the courtroom Thursday morning when Loggins pleaded not guilty — said Loggins plans to hire his own attorney before the July 21 pre-trial hearing.

Regarding the aggravated misdemeanor charge — which carries a sentence of up to two years in prison and a $6,000 fine — Siouxland Humane Society Executive Director Jerry Dominicak said, “We’re hoping for the maximum, but we would like to see the animal laws in Iowa be stronger.”

Dominicak and his staff have given out thousands of flyers asking people to flood the Woodbury County Attorney’s office with letters. “The citizens in Sioux City and the Siouxland area need their voices to be heard,” he said.

Those voices are sounding off — loud and clear.

At Monday night’s Sioux City Council meeting, local animal lovers spoke about the dog’s beating death, and the Iowa Voters for Companion Animals talked with the city council about changing city ordinance to keep convicted dog abusers from owning animals in the future.

Under “Education for Responsible Pet Ownership,” Pit Bulls for Justice began an article with “One word for Bobby: MURDERER” before reporting the crime and offering the quote: “We can tell a lot about a society by the way it treats animals, children and the elderly.”

In Lincoln, Neb., one concerned citizen called the Woodbury County Attorney’s office only to be told they would not take phone calls expressing outrage over the incident but would accept “letters for their files.” Undeterred, the Nebraska caller not only wrote and sent the letter, but posted a copy of it — along with the Woodbury County Attorney’s mailing address — to Pet Enthusiast Magazine, imploring others to write letters, too.

The Daily Hobbit’s “Beyond the Shire” also has noted the pup’s merciless killing. The article invites reader comments and prominently displays the Woodbury County Attorney address.

RunningForaPaws posted what they called a “Simple but Very Important Request” asking readers to contact Jennings and ask their letter be added to the file.

KTIV-TV reported Wednesday on the Siouxland Humane Society’s letter-writing campaign encouraging the Woodbury County Attorney to seek the toughest penalties possible.

The blog “For the Love of the Dog” — which also listed the county attorney’s address — didn’t bother mincing words. “Please, please, please…post and crosspost. Let’s get the word out and the letters and calls in!” the site reported, concluding with the final directive, “Don’t let this heartless bastard walk with just a little fine after brutally beating this defenesless little puppy!!”

Under the dogster.com forum “Dog Laws & Legislation,” there are pleas to read about “Sire’s” death and “do something!”

The Woodbury County Attorney’s address — along with, not surprisingly, more comments — shows up on the care2 make a difference site as well.

KCAU-TV in Sioux City reported today that, if convicted, Loggins could spend 2-years in prison and pay a $6250 fine. His trial is set for August.

PiddleTails took time to weigh in on what Sioux City Police Chief Doug Young called “a heinous crime.”

In addition, KPTH FOX News re-emphasized today the Humane Society’s push for stronger animal laws in Iowa and, of course, director Dominicak’s letter-writing campaign.

And, the Sioux City Journal’s June 11 article on the dog-beating death now leads the site’s “Most Commented” upon news story, with 104 angry comments — and still counting.

There are more. In fact, far more accounts of outrage than I can possibly include in this post. But, my hope is that some of the above links will provide a glimpse into a nation’s response to a particularly senseless, cruel and brutal act, and (in this case) a defendant who clearly has shown no remorse by pleading “not guilty” to a crime already defined well below the scope of its severity.

While I find the county attorney letter-writing campaign absolutely worthwhile and certainly worth pursuing, there’s still another Iowa address conspicuously missing from these appeals; it’s the one for your state legislator.

Sharpen your pencils. It’s time for change in Iowa.

Feb. 18, 2010 update: Read Jody’s latest post on this case

Why do so many states allow (i.e. tolerate) animal torture and killing?

HSUS Felony Cruelty Map

Don’t let the map fool you.

While the Humane Society of the United States has made enormous strides state by state in animal cruelty legislation over the past several years (due largely, in my honest opinion, to current HSUS President & CEO Wayne Pacelle’s tireless dedication and ongoing efforts), we as a civilized country still have a long way to go.

As of May 28, 2009, only four states remain without felony animal cruelty provisions, but don’t let all the others lull you into believing they don’t tolerate unspeakable crimes; many states hiding beneath the red-colored designation (meaning they have “felony legislation in place”) won’t bring about felony charges until a second or third offense. See where your state stands.

Another crime? Seeing the word “misdemeanor” in the same news article that details how a defenseless dog was beaten to death by its master for urinating on the floor.

First, though, let’s head to New York. There’s someone there you need to know.

Meet Cheyenne Cherry — sociopath-in-training

Cheyenne Cherry, a 17-year-old New York teen, was arrested June 3 after admitting she threw her former roommate’s two-month-old female kitten, Tiger Lily, into an oven and roasted the animal to death. The reason she gave for torturing Tiger Lily to death: “I hate cats.”

According to ASPCA officials, Cherry brushed the incident off as “a practical joke.”

ASPCA official Joe Pentangelo says the animal suffered “an agonizing death.” Cherry and an accomplice left the apartment as the kitten cried and scratched at the oven door, Pentangelo said.

The tragedy was discovered by neighbors who noticed smoke and a foul odor coming from the apartment. When firefighters arrived, they found Tiger Lily’s smoldered remains. Investigators say the kitten was burned so badly, a necropsy had to be performed to determine the kitten’s sex.

It wasn’t the first time the kitty-killing Cherry had used the term “practical joke” when it came to abusing or killing other people’s pets. Cherry was charged in the armed robbery dog-napping of a teacup Yorkie in a Bronx park last June, police said. And, Cherry said it was also “just a joke” after her arrest for robbing a man of his iPod at gunpoint. She’d pleaded guilty to robbery and got five years probation.

Despite Cherry’s June 2008 arrest for larceny and extortion — along with two other busts — Cherry was released into her mother’s custody without bail; this after she was charged with aggravated cruelty to animals, burglary, arson, reckless endangerment and criminal mischief for burning alive her friend’s kitten.

Cherry’s community, outraged by her latest gruesome act and her dismissive attitude towards the crime, is asking that the 17-year-old be charged as an adult. An online petition has been set up requesting a modification of the charges, with petition signatures and comments being forwarded to the judge by month’s end. Though the site’s initial goal was 2,500 signatures, more than 13,000 incensed citizens already have signed — a vast majority also taking time to comment on Cherry’s barbaric crime. Sign the Petition Here.

Fast forward to Sioux City, Iowa

Meet Bobby Loggins: Prefers Killing Own Dog vs. Someone else’s Pet (also prefers house guests who will lie — albeit conflicting stories — about dog’s death)

Bobby Loggins, 35 and intoxicated, was upset. His young American bulldog, whom he obviously hadn’t taken the time to fully train, had just urinated on the carpet during Bobby’s house party at 1611 23rd Street in Sioux City. Instead of leading the dog outside as any responsible pet owner would do, Loggins punched his own loyal dog in the face approximately 30 times — in front of several witnesses, no less. Police reports confirmed the dog was bleeding from the facial area, and animal control officers said the dog died before help could arrive.

If that weren’t bad enough, Loggins, as well as one of his “guests,” lied about what happened.

Loggins told police he “accidentally” slammed the dog’s head in the door. And, according to Sioux City Police Sgt. Mike Post, an unnamed witness told police the dog had been hit by a car.

One witness, however, had a conscience; Post said 34-year-old Chad Peterson was one of the witnesses and reported the incident to police.

On the other hand, the man-without-a-conscience-dog-killing Loggins has been charged with animal torture and filing a false police report, both of which (do-I-really-really-really-have-to-use-this-word?) are misdemeanors. Loggins will likely be ordered to get some psychological counseling. Perhaps even do some community service. Meanwhile, a young unschooled dog met a horrendous death at the very hands of the man he trusted most.

Loggins was released from jail on bond about two hours after being taken into custody.

Misdemeanors? But what about That Map?

Are you asking yourself the same question I’ve asked myself a thousand times? “How can this animal torture/cruelty crime be a misdemeanor when the map clearly shows Iowa has statutes in place to make this crime a felony?”

The answer, my friend, is in the fine print. You’ll find it in Iowa Code 717B.3A under Animal Torture. What it means is that the Bobby Loggins of Iowa can relentlessly beat and kill a family pet with 30 hard punches to the face and still answer to no more than misdemeanor charges — until their second offense, that is, when that animal’s death matters and it becomes a Class D Felony.

It could be worse. In Alaska, one has three opportunities to torture or kill the family pet before being charged with a felony. Idaho, Mississippi, South Dakota and North Dakota have no felony provisions at all.

Shame on those state legislators.

One need not be a dog lover or cat lover or animal lover of any kind to possess the simple knowledge that animals experience pain no differently than human beings. But does placing the value of a human life over that of an animal preclude legislators from understanding the parallels in violent behavior exhibited by those who would inflict such pain and/or death on either?

It isn’t enough to just ask questions; we must demand answers, action and accountability. Our lives — and the animals with whom we so lovingly share those lives — depend on it.

“Special Agent” Efrem Zimbalist, Jr., Honored by FBI

I was just six years old when “The FBI” starring Efrem Zimbalist, Jr., first premiered on television in 1965, but I vividly remember watching nearly every episode over the next nine years because of the things I associate with the program; it was broadcast on Sunday nights and my family spent nearly every Sunday having dinner at my Grandma Ewing’s home.

FBI Director Robert Mueller and Efrem Zimbalist, Jr.

FBI Director Robert Mueller and Efrem Zimbalist, Jr.

When I think of the show, the vision that springs to mind is my dad sitting upright in Grandma’s recliner with a TV tray in front of him, spooning hot chili into his mouth (while never taking his eyes off the TV), Mom sitting on the corner of Aunt Mabel’s old worn chair, and the five of us kids sitting cross-legged on the floor adding oyster crackers to our own bowls of chili and hanging on “Agent Lewis Erskine’s” every word while Grandma kept poking her head into the living room long enough to ask if everyone was getting enough to eat.

Each week’s episode closed with the same voice announcing, “This has been a Quinn Martin Production.”

In the years following the series run, I never gave much thought to whatever happened to Efrem Zimbalist, Jr., and certainly had no idea that once his “fictional” show ended he’d continued his relationship with the FBI, participating in charity events and helping raise money for families of agents killed in the line of duty.

Today’s FBI Press Release showed me just how busy Mr. Zimbalist has been. During yesterday’s ceremony at the Los Angeles Field Office, FBI Director Robert Mueller presented Zimbalist with an honorary special agent badge for embodying the qualities in the FBI’s motto: fidelity, bravery, and integrity.

The FBI says Zimbalist inspired a generation of real-life FBI special agents, and I don’t doubt it for a moment. That’s not counting the number of other FBI-inspired television series over the past four decades.

I’m thinkin’ J. Edgar Hoover would’ve been proud.

Abused, Sick Dogs Left At Bainbridge Island Animal Rescue

Stories like this just make my heart sink. Six dachshunds — likely rejects from a puppy mill — were dropped off at a Bainbridge Island rescue facility with all kinds of serious health issues.

Rescue manager Suzannah Sloan said the dogs had been “bred and bred and bred and bred.” They had mammary tumors, ovarian tumors, and all showed signs of neglect.

There’s a short video featuring the dogs here:
Abused, Sick Dogs Left At Bainbridge Island Animal Rescue – Seattle News Story – KIRO Seattle

One thought provides a little comfort; the ones who may not make it will at least get to spend their final days in loving hands instead of dying alone in a small cramped cage.

A Man, His Dog, and a Neighborhood’s Loss

On a typical block in a small town neighborhood, houses form two rows, back to back, their front doors facing outward and in opposite directions from the homes behind them.

This doesn’t mean one doesn’t come to know his or her neighbors. Especially if the neighbor has a dog, and particularly if that neighbor walks his dog once, twice, and often three times a day down one sidewalk and across a block’s end and up yet another narrow concrete path on the circular route toward back home, stopping to visit with whomever might happen to be outside at any given time, regardless of whether a warm sunny summer morning or frigid cold afternoon with snow flurries swirling overhead.

Jim Johnson

Jim Johnson

Jim Johnson was that kind of neighbor. Luther was his small terrier and constant companion.

Jim loved to stop and talk politics. Or tell us about our 100-year-old home’s fascinating history and the people who’d once lived here. Or ask us if we’d read the latest book he’d just finished. He never stopped smiling. Everything in life, it seemed, always had a happy ending.

And while we’d chat and catch up on daily and neighborhood news, Luther always inched them both closer to our chain link fence’s south gate, sniffing the grass while pretending not to notice our two big brown dogs on the fence’s other side, or even that small brown feisty one everyone called “Oh Cocoa!” Luther would wait patiently for the walk to resume, knowing the instant his master rounded the corner that those three brown dogs would retreat inside. He’d show those brown dogs. Tomorrow. Today, though, he and Jim still had stops to make. Other neighbors to visit.

In the nearly five years I’ve lived on this block, I’m quite certain Jim and Luther circled my home thousands of time. A few short days ago, they made their last trip. Mid-morning. A beautiful day. A brief conversation…”See! Cocoa’s not so tough after all!”

The next day the sidewalk lay quiet. Empty. One small rain cloud rumbled discontent, dropped down a bucket of tears in our yard, and then retreated just as quickly as it arrived. For the next two days, the sun fought hard to shine.

Today I learned the news. Jim will not walk our block again. He was 61. And we are less of a neighborhood because of his passing.

Then there’s Luther.

I am saddened beyond words to learn of Jim’s death, but can only imagine that small dog’s sorrow. Jim wasn’t just his neighbor or friend. He’d been his lifetime companion. They’d spent all those quiet nights together. Taken a thousand walks in the rain and snow and sunshine.

Surely, he must be waiting, even now, to walk with Jim again.

We’ll keep walking. We have to. But we’ll see you again, Jim. We’ll pick up where we left off. We’ll meet you near the fence, the south gate. You know the one. Cocoa won’t even pretend to growl, so you may have to look close. But he’ll be sitting there, right between the two big brown dogs and your Luther.

And on that tomorrow, we’ll all go for a walk. You can show us around the new neighborhood.

Christian the Lion headed for the big screen

Okay, I confess — I’m one of those millions who just can’t get enough of this almost 40-year-old true story about Christian the Lion and the YouTube video that helped bring about its resurrection.

My obsession, however, was further fed last night when the Animal Planet channel aired its hour-long television special A Lion Called Christian featuring clips and narrative (and oh-so-much-more) from the original Christian the Lion documentary film, Christian the Lion (The Lion Who Thought He Was People) made by Bill Travers.

But, the Animal Planet channel didn’t stop there.

Recognizing one hungry audience, they served up the best hors d’oeuvres fit for a king’s pride: Christian the Lion Videos from the documentary; Christian the Lion Pictures, Christian the Lion Puzzles, the first chapter from the Christian the Lion book, and, in what I expect will draw even more interest, a Christian the Lion Movie Site where fans can cast votes on the upcoming feature film’s preferred theme song, who’s going to play Ace Bourke and John Rendall, who will direct, and even marketing campaigns for the film’s trailer. (Sony Pictures has begun the process of acquiring rights to the book, and though negotiations are in the early stages, we all know they know a good thing when they see it.)

Sure, I’ll admit I’d hoped for a feature film and had even given thought to who might portray Bourke and Rendall, but in this day of numerous Facebook quizzes where users cite top television series and films and recording artists, I still found the Animal Planet survey worthy of each and every click. After all, I’m already vested in this story; Christian has laid claim to a big part of my heart.

Of the five categories where visitors may vote (Theme Song, Casting John Rendall, Casting Ace Bourke, Director, and Marketing Campaign), I differed in the majority choice in all but one — the marketing campaign for the film’s trailer — but then, that one is/was pretty much a given. Its most popular answer lies in those numbers on the YouTube videos…millions of universal hearts gathered there, indeed.

If you missed the not-to-miss Animal Planet documentary on Christian and Ace and John, take heed: it will air again on Thursday, April 9, at 6 pm CST and on April 10 at 1 a.m. CST. Be sure to check your own local listings — this you don’t want to miss.