CRIME & PUNISHMENT
From ANIMAL PEOPLE, October 1992:
Crimes Against Humans
* The FBI and local police are seeking a
serial killer who is believed responsible for
shooting a bowhunter, a deer hunter, two
fishermen, and a jogger since 1989 in rural
eastern Ohio. An anonymous letter to a local
newspaper from the purported killer indicates
he himself is a hunter; he demonstrates a
hunter’s knowledge of firearms. The man
boasted that these are not his only murders.
* Imperial Food Products owner Emmett
Roe pleaded guilty Sept. 14 to 25 counts of
manslaughter in connection with a Sept. 3,
1991 blaze at the company’s chicken process-
ing plant in Hamlet, North Carolina. Similar
charges against Roe’s son and another plant
official were dropped as part of a plea bar-
gain. Roe was setenced to 20 years in prison
for locking exits and neglecting fire precau-
tions. Roe was earlier fined $808,150 for fire
code violations, and still faces 19 civil suits
from bereaved survivors.
* Cleveland police are probing the Sept. 2
death of Angela Kaplan, 28, a mother of two
young daughters, who bled to death over a
period of several hours after suffering over
180 bites from a pit bull terrier belonging to
her unidentified common-law husband. The
man told police that Kaplan refused medical
treatment, and that he received a cut on his
forehead when he accidentally broke a glass
of water he had offered her.
* Paroled killer Charles Brown, 36, drew
the death penalty from a Philadelphia jury on
September 15, for murdering Richard Bethel,
45, because Bethel threatened to shoot
Brown’s leashed but growling Rottweiler.
* Cameron Kocher, 13, of Stroudsburg,
Pennsylvania, pleaded no contest on Sept. 2
to shooting seven-year-old Jessica Ann Carr
with his father’s deer rifle on March 6, 1989.
Kocher, who “simply shot the wrong kind of
animal” according to one court-appointed
psychiatrist, will be on probation until age
21. During that time he is not allowed to pos-
sess, use, or reside in a house that contains
* Judge Stuart Ain of the New York
State Supreme Court on August 31 ordered
the Long Island Pet Cemetery to pay Joyce
Wallip, 45, and Michael Bachman, 36, $1.2
million for improperly disposing of their dog.
Cemetery owners Samuel Strauss, 70, and
Alan Strauss, 35, are appealing an earlier
conviction for mail fraud. They were charged
in June 1991, after investigators found the
remains of an estimated 250,000 pets in mass
graves and ash heaps on the cemetery
grounds, while marked graves were empty.
Numerous other suits from bereaved pet keep-
ers are pending.
* Dwight Burkhalter, 22, of Tulsa,
Oklahoma, was acquitted of shooting at a
police officer on July 18 after he demonstrat-
ed to the judge that the shot was actually
directed at a cat—whose corpse he offered as
* The Progressive Animal Welfare
Society won an August ruling by the Superior
Court of King County, Washington, that the
University of Washington must release an
unfunded grant proposal involving primate
research because it remains a public docu-
ment even though it was rejected in June
1991 by the National Institutes of Health.
The proposal, by psychology professor Gene
Sackett, called for rearing newborn rhesus
macaques in complete isolation, to induce
* In Defense of Animals has sued the
University of California for censoring public
records pertaining to animal experimentation,
purportedly to protect researchers from
harassment by activists. The case is to be
heard on November 4.
* Fifteen volunteer foster keepers of 38
dogs seized from an allegedly abusive kennel
near Redding, California, in November 1989,
are scheduled for trial on contempt charges
October 16 for refusing to return the dogs to
the kennel owner. Although veterinarian H.
Sterling Fenn testified that the 107 dogs found
at the kennel suffered from malnutrition and
chronic parasitic infection, the kennel owner
was twice acquitted of cruelty charges in a
case the foster keepers claim was badly mis-
handled by the prosecuting attorney. Over 50
dogs have already been returned to the kennel
owner, who still hasn’t corrected sanitation
problems, according to the foster keepers,
who have organized as Citizens for Animal
Protection, c/o Michele Sevryn, 20519
Conestoga Trail, Redding, CA 96003.
Crimes Against Animals
* Mississippi State University football
coach Jackie Sherrill escaped cruelty
charges in early September for having a bull
castrated in front of the team, after witnesses
refused to cooperate with an investigation by
the Mississippi Animal Rescue League.
Sherrill and MSU president Donald Zacharias
did apologize for the incident.
* Caesar Morelli, 79, of Barrington,
Massachusetts, died August 23 of burns suf-
fered 19 days earlier, when he tried to incin-
erate two live raccoons and a skunk. One of
the raccoons survived.
* Allen Wlodarczyk, owner of the
Sentry Security guard dog rental firm in
Griffith, Indiana, has been charged with 66
counts of failure to vaccinate, nine counts of
neglect and abandonment, and three counts
relating to unethical business practices. If
convicted, Wlodarczyk faces up to seven
years in prison and fines in excess of $9,000.
* Alleged serial animal killer Michael
Charles Bessigno, 22, has been held without
bond since August 13 in Lake County,
Indiana. Bessigno was apprehended after
allegedly approaching children and “warning”
them an animal killer was around.
* The St. Clair County Humane Society
and Shelby County Humane Society com-
bined forces September 3 to seize 140 animals
from alleged puppy miller Chester Sweatt of
Pell City, Alabama, including fighting
cocks, rabbits, ducks, and pheasants as well
as numerous dogs. The humane societies
were aided by volunteers from the
Birmingham Kennel Club, the Georgia
Alliance of Purebred Canine Rescue, and
Humane Society of Douglas County,
Georgia. If convicted on misdemeanor cruel-
ty charges, Sweatt faces a maximum fine of
just $500; Alabama has one of the weakest
animal protection laws in the U.S.
* Thirty-eight sickly small dogs, their fur
matted with feces, were seized in an August
18 raid on alleged unlicensed animal dealer
Thomas Bruchaiski, 37, of Monroe, Conn.
Also seized were three birds. The animals had
shared a single food bowl. Although the
Bruchaiski site was within a block of Monroe
animal control officer Ed Risko’s office, the
dogs were so closely confined that it took
Risko months of surveillance to obtain
enough evidence to get a search warrant.
* Investigator Sue Skaskiw of Vermont
Volunteer Services for Animals seized seven
sick rabbits and 300 bagged goldfish from the
Vermont State Fair in Rutland on September
13. The animals were to have been used as
prizes in a carnival game run by Wayne Furr,
of North Carolina. Despite the raid, and
despite a two-year-old ban on animal sales at
the fair, about 20 rabbits and a number of her-
mit crabs were awarded as carnival game
prizes the following day.
* Landowner Bruce Berend and tree-
trimmer William Kincaid, of Solana Beach,
California, have agreed to work 100 hours
apiece for Project Wildlife, the rehab group
that rescued some of the victims when they
cut down trees June 13 in a heron nesting
area. Police found 20 heron chicks stuffed
into garbage bags, 17 of whom died. Berend
and Kincaid will also be fined.
* Patrick Eberhart, of Tampa, Fla.,
was convicted August 16 of stealing two
puppies and dropping them off at the
Sarasota County dog pound to stifle their
barking. Eberhart was sentenced to work 60
hours for local humane societies.