I’ve been keeping an ongoing report on the Iowa Cold Cases website documenting the needless destruction and deaths — all across the nation and abroad — brought about by copper thieves. I had cases from all 50 states. From Asia and Australia, Canada and China, Scotland and South Africa. And more.

I thought I’d seen it all. I was wrong.

My list of deaths is likely far from complete, but one thing has always remained constant: of the 50+ deaths already listed, only one name — Earl Thelander — falls under the category “Innocent Victims.”  Earl was my stepfather, married to my mother just shy of 25 years before dying of burns suffered in an explosion caused by copper thieves.

Courtesy photo Daily Mail
Burnt to death: Callous copper cable thieves cut down a pylon leaving live wires exposed before using a six month old foal as a ‘tester’ to check if electricity was still moving through the line.

There’s a new victim to add to the list, though I’m not quite sure how to list it. The atrocity of this particular crime falls outside the boundaries of heinous acts and anything even I could have imagined.

It happened in the UK, in Sittingbourne, Kent, where heartless copper thieves used a six-month-old foal as a “tester” to see if electricity still moved through the line they planned to cut and steal. It did, and the “horrifically burnt remains” of the foal were left in the field for its heartbroken owner — a man in his eighties — to discover the following day.

The crime not only claimed the trusting foal’s life, it also plunged 3,000 homes into complete darkness once the thieves cut down the pylon.

Day after day I read the harrowing stories: copper thieves leaving an animal welfare league, with 86 animals, without air conditioning in the July heat; copper thieves silencing 10 sirens during a tornado warning; copper thieves leaving hundreds of Verizon customers without landline, cell phone and Internet service; copper thieves causing between $250,000 and $300,000 in damage while freezing a state bridge in place; and copper thieves threatening US critical infrastructure by targeting electrical sub-stations, cellular towers, telephone land lines, railroads, water wells, construction sites, and vacant homes.

The stories are too numerous for me to include all of them on the website. And despite every new story about a copper theft death and the thief having caused his or her own death, I feel great sadness as I add yet another name to the list and think about the families left behind — families not only grieving their loved one’s death but also forced to face unsympathetic communities rife with contempt for the deceased’s offense.

Where does it stop? When will it end? When will state legislators begin to take seriously the need for strict (and enforced) scrap metal sales?

We’re waiting.

 

Dog Killer Bobby Loggins
Bobby Loggins of Sioux City, Iowa, fed his 5-month-old American Bulldog, “Sire,” bowl after bowl of beer, and when the puppy urinated on the carpet, beat the dog repeatedly in the head until it began coughing up blood, went into convulsions and died. District Court Judge Gary Wenell’s “…not some valuable fancy show dog” comments and slap-on-the-wrist punishment left a courtroom wailing.

In Iowa and across the nation, there’s only one thing snowballing faster than the white stuff falling from the sky, and that’s the anger and outrage — downright rancor, in fact — toward Sioux City puppy killer Bobby Loggins and District Court Judge Gary E. Wenell, who, despite calling Loggins’ actions “depraved and sadistic” sentenced Loggins to only 30 days in jail (with credit for time already served), rather than imposing the maximum sentence of two years under Iowa law.

Adding insult to injury, Judge Wenell justified his decision — witnessed by a packed courtroom of dog lovers and owners, many of whom openly wept — by stating, “We must remember the victim herein was not a person,” and “[Sire] was not some valuable fancy show dog belonging to another. It was not a neighbor boy’s dog, it was not an elderly person’s companion…We do not have a statewide problem with this kind of crime.”

Wow. Just try telling any veterinarian that one’s own Border Collie beaten 30 times in the head felt less pain than neighbor boy Johnny Smith’s Border Collie, whom he also beat. Just try telling police that just because your mixed-breed terrier is bleeding from the mouth and ears and nose after you punched and kicked him that it’s really no big deal, because, after all, “Gee, it’s not like I did this to ol’ elderly Ethel Simpson’s companion dog down the road.”

Worse, just try looking into the eyes of a 50-pound bleeding and dying American Bulldog pup who wanted nothing more than to serve and love you but really just couldn’t help himself from piddling on the floor after you fed him bowl after bowl of beer, and just try telling him how his short life and the pain you inflicted on him didn’t matter because, after all, it wasn’t like he was a fancy show dog or anything. It wasn’t like he belonged to someone else. It wasn’t like he could suffer or feel pain. It wasn’t like he wasn’t yours to use and abuse as you saw fit. And, if there were any doubts about the rights you had to inflict such heinous and hideous cruelty upon him, just remind him this is Iowa where people can get away with things like that. Tell him too, that if he doesn’t believe you, well…. he could have introduced you to a judge who’d have set you straight had you not died.

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

Sire

When I wrote my original post here on the blog about Bobby Loggins pounding to death his 5-month-old American Bulldog, “Sire,” for piddling on the floor, I had no foresight of the venom about to spew forth from across the country after Loggins’ sentencing. The judge’s slap-on-the-wrist punishment sparked a chain reaction of outrage and vitriolic comments with regard to Iowa’s double-edged and reprehensible miscarriage of justice.

I also, admittedly, did not know the full extent to which poor Sire was beaten and suffered until the recent court proceedings. And though it pains me even now to include those details absent from my original post, they are precisely why our state and every other state needs to recognize that tolerating such abominable acts is precursory to eroding one’s very morals and soul. When that happens, can the breakdown of families and communities be far behind?

Show and Tell: Value’s Sliding Scale

Not until Judge Gary Wenell’s Feb. 12, 2010, decision of Bobby Loggins’ fate did I really recognize the extent to which lives are graded on a sliding scale. It’s a tough thing to swallow. Like bile. The lesson began last June.

On June 9, 2009, Bobby Loggins, then 35, spent the first part of the day drinking beer, smoking marijuana and fishing with his friend, Chad Peterson. After the two returned to Loggins’ home at 1611 23rd Street in Sioux City and were joined by other friends for a party, Loggins began feeding his 5-month-old American Bulldog, Sire, “bowl after bowl of beer,” according to Peterson.

When Sire began to urinate on the dining room floor, Loggins — who has a history of drug and alcohol abuse — straddled the pup and restrained it with one hand while using the other to repeatedly strike blows to the dog’s head. He then picked Sire up by his ears and tail and took him outside through a back door.

Witnesses said (and later testified) that when Loggins eventually brought the puppy back into the house and placed it on the kitchen floor, that the brown and white pup was bleeding from the mouth and nose, shaking and unable to move.

“To me it looked like the dog was paralyzed,” Peterson stated. “He was shaking. It looked like convulsions. He was coughing up blood.”

Peterson said he knelt down and tried to comfort the puppy while Loggins just stood there, showing no remorse for what he had done. When Peterson confronted Loggins about his [lack of] reaction, Loggins shoved him into a chair and ordered him to leave. Peterson obliged and peddled his bike to the Kum & Go station at 14th and Court streets, where he called police.

Guest Kollin Jones said he’d witnessed Loggins rubbing the dog’s nose into the carpet before pinning it down to inflict additional punches. Jones also said that he, his girlfriend, Alexandra Groves, Loggins and his wife and Peterson had engaged in a conversation about dogs drinking beer, and told police Loggins “took it way too far.”

Loggins’ wife, Rochelle Loggins, didn’t see it that way. Rochelle Loggins said her husband had only given the dog “a few taps on the head” before grabbing it by the collar and escorting it outside. She said her husband told her he had slammed the door into the dog.

Loggins was charged with animal torture, though Iowa’s current animal cruelty/torture laws allowed no more than aggravated misdemeanor charges being filed in his case, which carried a sentence of up to just two years in prison and a $6,000 fine. On June 18, 2009, Loggins pleaded not guilty to inflicting the 30 blows to Sire’s head that caused the puppy’s death.

On Friday, Dec. 18, 2009, Loggins stood trial before Sioux City District Court Judge Gary Wenell for allegedly beating Sire to death. Loggins, who waived his right to a jury trial, also was charged with making a false police report, a simple misdemeanor. Wenell dismissed that charge when Assistant Woodbury County Attorney Mark Campbell said the facts of the case did not fit the charge.

Wenell found Loggins guilty of the animal torture crime on January 25, 2010, with sentencing scheduled for Feb. 12.

As eyes across the nation focused on Iowa that day, it came as no surprise when Loggins’ attorney, John Moeller, and Loggins’ wife pleaded for a shorter sentence than the two-year maximum pushed for by the prosecutor. Rochelle Loggins argued she needed him at home to take care of the kids while she slept so she could work nights.

No one, however, ever imagined the nonsequitur the judge would deliver.

Wenell wrote that eyewitness accounts and testimony of the veterinarian clearly indicated that Loggins’ actions caused the puppy’s death. Loggins had restrained the puppy with one hand in order to inflict blows with the other, which Wenell said caused the animal severe physical pain.

Additionally, though no witnesses saw what happened outside, Wenell wrote that circumstantially, the evidence supported that additional blows took place outside, and that Loggins took the dog outside because he knew his actions would be deemed unacceptable.

“Restraint of a more or less helpless creature to administer pain to such a creature connotes depravity and sadism,” he wrote.

Yet after noting all these facts, the judge then stripped 95 percent off the maximum sentence, sentenced Loggins to only 30 days in jail and credited him for time already served.

“[Sire] was not some valuable fancy show dog belonging to another,” he said.

A fancy show dog? Belonging to another?

The sliding scale nosedived. I choked on the intimations: Show me a plumber and I’ll tell you why his life is less important than a bank’s vice president. Show me your next-door neighbor’s 5-month-old daughter and I’ll tell you why her life matters more than your own little girl’s. Show me a champion greyhound on the track and I’ll tell you why his life is valued more than that happy-go-lucky family retriever racing to fetch the frisbee your son threw in your back yard.

Wenell also stated that Iowa didn’t have a statewide problem with animal torture and that there was no evidence that Loggins — whose prior convictions include drug possession and traffic offenses — would commit similar violent acts against people. Loggins will be on probation for 18 months upon his release, and the possible $6,000 fine was shaved down to only $650.

Loggins was to report to the Woodbury County Jail by 6 p.m. on February 17th.

“We have to start as a community to change this, and today we didn’t do very good,” said animal rescuer Terry Mann, who added she was more motivated than ever to continue her fight against abuse. “We’ll be watching,” she said, “we’ll be watching, and you’ll be seeing us.”

In a landslide of raging injustice across Iowa and beyond, one question remained consistent: How could something like this have happened in our justice system?

For the answer, my friends, look no further than the voter registration card in your wallet or desk drawer, and if you hold it just right, you’ll see the state legislature in its reflection.

Making the Grade

Remember your school report cards? Yeah, me too. We may not always have liked all those grades, but how else were we to know if our efforts added up to usual, customary and reasonable standards? Report cards measure progress. They highlight our strengths, punctuate our weaknesses and enable us to work toward realizing our own individual capabilities.

Report cards don’t end after high school or college. The follow us throughout our lifetimes: in our jobs, in our families and communities, and even all the way to the legislature and beyond. We’re constantly being summed up, evaluated, measured and compared, and assigned a grade. Terry Mann knows this well; people are watching.

Rep. Steve King

Iowa Congressman Steve King

When it comes to Sioux City, Iowa, it’s really no exception to other states and cities. One thing Sioux City has that other cities don’t, however, is Iowa Congressman Steve King.

According to tabs kept on Rep. King by the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), one might even say he’s a good friend to the likes of Bobby Loggins, who, fortunately for Loggins, just happens to reside in Steve King’s district. The HSUS, you see, also does report cards. Legislators nationwide are scored according to his or her vote on specific pro- or anti-animal related issues — everything from puppy mills and horse slaughtering to pet abuse and grinding chicks alive and using electrified prods to bring “downer cows” to their feet.

The Humane Society’s Legislative Fund just recently released their Mid-Term Humane Scorecard reporting on legislators either leading the way or blocking pro-animal legislation, and anyone living in western Iowa’s 5th Congressional District won’t even bother to ask how King fared. Of 100 possible points (equivalent to an A), King, not surprisingly, scored not only an “F” (Zero percentage points) but was singled out by a long row of bright red Xs used to denote those who specifically took an “anti-animal” issue with one’s vote.

Don’t for a minute think this “F” will cause King to lose a minute’s sleep; he’s repeatedly stated in the past he won’t support bills aimed to prevent animal torture and abuse until Roe v. Wade is overturned. (No, I am not making this up.) And while I truly understand and respect opinions on both sides of the abortion debate, I also recognize that it doesn’t preclude the crime behind beating to death either a 5-month-old puppy or 50-year-old woman and that each issue should be addressed on its own merit.

One might think a legislator would take into consideration the values and opinions in his or her legislative district, yet King places no more value on the HSUS report card than he did with the one at Northwest Missouri State University, where he dabbled in a few courses before becoming a college drop-out. His opinions regarding whether legislators should be educated mirror those pertaining to animal abuse and even human torture; he simply does not care what other people think. As has been noted repeatedly by the press, he actually brags about having said or done something that would render a decent human being embarrassed and ashamed.

To wit, King’s intense hatred and/or disregard for any animal’s welfare made headlines yet again as recently as yesterday. In Iowa’s bitterly cold temperatures, a raccoon seeking refuge from our latest blizzard had begun scratching at King’s rural home in search of shelter. King grabbed “Desert Eagle” (his gun) and went after the raccoon, who fled. King then chased down the cold but trusting animal and shot and killed it. And, once again, instead of feeling remorseful for his actions, King used the opportunity to brag about his “kill” on his Twitter page, going so far as to use the juvenile phrase “Desert Eagle 1, Crazy Raccoon zero.”

Bret Hayworth

Bret Hayworth

Sioux City Journal political reporter Bret Hayworth — one of the most unbiased political journalists I’ve ever had the privilege of knowing and calling a friend — wrote yesterday about the King/raccoon incident on his Politically Speaking blog. I’ve known Bret for a number of years and have long admired his ability to remain impartial while still drawing in readers with his engaging writing style and commitment to certitude vs. slant. But in between the paragraphs of his King’s raccoon conquest post, I saw lurking between the lines a human being troubled by the story about which he wrote.

It’s that kind of character that earlier this month earned Bret the Best Blog by a Newspaper award by the Iowa Newspaper Association annual convention. The blog contest wasn’t simply for political blogs, but for blogs of any subject matter for Iowa newspapers. And, at the risk of offending other newspaper bloggers whom I regularly follow, nobody deserved that award more than Bret.

There are parallels here, you see, between the work Bret does and the work our congressman is supposed to be doing and the death of a 5-month-old American Bulldog named Sire. Perhaps if Rep. King led by Bret Hayworth’s example — that being the providing of fair and equal representation to both sides of those whom one is hired or elected to represent — it’s possible Sire might still be alive today and joyously chasing after a frisbee thrown in the back yard by one of Bobby Loggins’ own children.

A Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) follow-up investigation has found that Petland stores are still supporting puppy mills, including some of the largest and most notorious in the country.

The new intensive study analyzed thousands of pages of public interstate health documents in multiple states, revealing that almost every Petland store in the country is buying from puppy mills, either directly from commercial breeding facilities or indirectly through middleman brokers.

Two of the worst offenders included “Perfect Puppies” in Iowa and the Hunte Corporation in Missouri. More than 80 stores were linked directly to the Hunte Corporation alone, a massive Missouri broker that resells about 80,000 puppies a year and has documented Animal Welfare Act violations.

The new investigation of Petland’s puppy sources also traced shipments of puppies from out of state brokers to more than 95 percent of Petland’s domestic stores, revealing once again the chain supports puppy mills.

The HSUS also found that several Petland stores continued to buy from some of the facilities the HSUS clearly named and exposed as part of their initial Petland investigation in November, including MAM (Mike and Melanie Moore’s) Kennels in Missouri and Charlene Koster’s kennel in Kansas—puppy mills where more than 100 dogs were filmed running back and forth in small wire cages. Read one family’s story: Heartbreak at Petland

Supporting Cruelty

A woman convicted of animal tortureAs implausible as it might seem, the HSUS investigation found at least two Petland stores in Florida still buying puppies from the facility associated with Kathy Bauck in New York Mills, Minn. Bauck was convicted of three counts of animal torture and one count of animal abuse in March 2009, the same month the East Orlando Petland store purchased several puppies from her facility. Health certificate documents show that the Largo Florida Petland store also purchased at least one puppy from Bauck’s kennel in February 2009. See where your local Petland gets its puppies

“Petland claims again and again that they deal only with a special selection of breeders,” said Stephanie Shain, senior director for the HSUS puppy mills campaign. “Our new investigation proves that the vast majority of their stores are buying either directly or indirectly from puppy mills and brokers—large-scale commercial facilities where puppies are treated like nothing more than a cash crop.”??

In addition, the investigation also found two Petland stores buying from a convicted animal abuser, others buying from individuals with long histories of Animal Welfare Act violations, and some who held no USDA license at all. (Even licensed and legal commercial kennels can still be puppy mills, where 100 or more breeding dogs have been found confined for life to small wire cages.)

Since the original Petland investigation was released in November, a consumer lawsuit has been filed against Petland and more than 600 former Petland customers have contacted the HSUS to tell their heartbreaking stories. HSUS has also led three nationwide demonstrations this year at Petland stores across the country to tell the chain to stop selling puppies and start supporting pet adoptions instead.

Please speak out against Petland’s illegal and inhumane practices. Tell Your Story Here or Put Your Pet on the HSUS’s “Pets Against Puppy Mills” page.

Your best friend will thank you.

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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

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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.

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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.

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Chimps Deserve Better – the HSUS Undercover

On March 10, 2009, in Legislation, by Jody Ewing

I occasionally receive e-mails from the U.S. Humane Society, and whenever one shows up with a months-long undercover investigative report and accompanying video, I know I’m in for some serious heartbreak. Yes, there are those who say “then why watch it” and some who even say “I can’t bear to watch those,” but ignoring a problem or turning a blind eye — particularly when it comes to any kind of abuse — is to deny help or justice to those without a voice.

And, when it comes to animal rights, there’s no professional organization working harder than the HSUS. Because of them, legislation has improved the lives of hundreds of thousands of farm and domestic animals.

Their most recent nine-month-long undercover investigation exposed the mistreatment of nearly 300 chimpanzees and other primates at the New Iberia Research Center (NIRC) in Louisiana. Living lives of deprivation and misery, these chimps are among the more than 1,000 chimpanzees languishing in laboratories across the United States.

ABC News: Nightline broke the story on March 4. Each animal’s suffering detailed in the report was wrenching, but the story of 26 elder chimps currently warehoused at the facility was particularly poignant. These 26 chimps were taken from their mothers in the wild, and have since lived a life behind bars. The oldest, Karen, was captured in 1958, when Dwight D. Eisenhower was still president.

Newly released images from the investigation reveal the psychological distress lab officials cited as “standard industry practice.”

I encourage you to watch the video and then contact your congressman as well as Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal. (The HSUS pages will provide the contact information.)

Thank you.

PETSMART CRUELTY TO ANIMALS: BUSINESS AS USUAL

On February 8, 2008, in Crime, by Jody Ewing

PetSmart may be smart about making money, but it’s clueless when it comes to taking proper care of the animals it buys and sells by the millions.

The company’s trade in live animals supports a mass-breeding industry just as cruel as—and less regulated than—the puppy mill industry. This results in abysmal treatment of tiny, vulnerable beings and ultimately leads to their overpopulation, homelessness, neglect, and suffering.

Take a closer look at PetSmart and please do not buy anything from PetSmart until it stops selling all animals.

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How Can People Be So Cruel?

On October 16, 2007, in Crime, Pets, by Jody Ewing

From the Omaha World Herald — Published Tuesday | October 16, 2007

Reward offered in dog poisonings

Eight dogs have been fatally poisoned in the past 18 months in Neola (IA), and Pottawattamie County authorities are offering a $750 reward to find the person or people involved.

The latest poisoning killed a 13-month-old chocolate Labrador retriever that was in its kennel at its owner’s residence, said Stacey Robertson, Pottawattamie County animal control supervisor.

“Somebody’s baiting the animals,” Robertson said. In the latest death, “the poison was put on the meat and tossed into the kennel.”

Robertson said the poisonings could harm children.

“We’ve been working on this for a long time, and our investigation has reached a dead end,” Robertson said. “I really hope somebody will point a finger.”

The Pottawattamie County Sheriff’s Office is investigating the incidents.

Anyone with information can contact Robertson at 712-366-1143 or the Sheriff’s Office at 712-890-2200.

– Abe Winter

News Full of Ews

On April 5, 2006, in Crime, by Jody Ewing

After 18 years working as a writer, it’s not often the news shocks me anymore. Sure, people lie, they steal, they kill, and they often get away with crimes — sick and twisted acts against humanity — that never should go unpunished.

Today, however, several news articles caught my eye. They all don’t involve murder, and some aren’t even crimes against humanity but rather crimes against canines and wild animals.

Still, they all had the ability to stun me, to leave me asking questions like “How could someone do this?”

Ergo…

Dept. of Homeland Security official arrested in child sex sting
Meet Brian J. Doyle, 55, who didn’t even bother to conceal his identity while engaging in online conversations “too extraordinary and graphic for public release,” according to a statement from the Montgomery County (MD) sheriff’s office. Doyle not only gives the “14-year-old girl” (actually an undercover officer) both his home and work numbers, but even his government-issued cell phone number.

A back to school special…

Teacher charged with raping student 28 times
Rachel L. Holt, a 34-year-old science teacher at Claymont Elementary School in Deleware, is charged with having sex with a 13-year-old student 28 times over a one week period. But not without an audience, of course. A 12-year-old.

And the final stomach twister…

Dog decapitations shock Michigan town
Nine dead dogs — including four without heads — are found dumped in a rural Michigan township, along with piles of skinned foxes and coyotes. Despite a growing reward, officials have yet to determine who is responsible or even who the dogs belonged to.

Jody – who won’t be visiting Michigan (with her dogs) anytime soon.

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