From ANIMAL PEOPLE, December 1993:
Crimes against wildlife
Hong Kong authorities confiscat-
ed $20,000 worth of rhinoceros horn in a
series of late October raids on apothecaries,
following leads provided by the London-based
Environmental Investigation Agency. But the
raids may have come too late to save rhinos in
the wild, as fewer than six remain in protect-
ed areas of Zimbabwe, according to wildlife
veterinarian Dr. Michael Kock, who could
find only two in a two-week aerial search.
There were 3,000 when Zimbabwe achieved
native sovereignty in 1980. Kock sawed the
horns off about 300 rhinos a year ago, trying
to make them worthless to poachers, but dis-
covered that even the nub left behind after
dehorning will fetch $2,400 U.S. Kock says
he has evidence that the Asian poaching car-
tels are actively trying to “kill every rhino,”
because, “If they eliminate the rhino, the value
of the horn will skyrocket. They can sit on a
stockpile for 10 years; they know there is
always going to be a market.”
Bhutanese princess Dekiy Wang-
chuck, 43, was charged November 5 with
trying to smuggle 22 rhino horns into Taiwan.
Chief prosecutor Lin Chieh-teh recommended
the maximum jail term: one year.
Taiwanese merchant Chih-chiu
H o u was arrested October 26 in Durban,
South Africa, after police seized 9,907 blocks
of ivory worth an estimated $400,000 from a
Zimbabwe on October 29 arrested
two unidentified Canadian missionaries
from the evangelical Rhema Church for
allegedly poaching antelope on private land
Sixty Quebec game wardens on
November 17 arrested 20 alleged semi-profes-
sional jacklighters on more than 200 charges in
simultaneous dawn raids at La Tuque,
Herouxville, Shawinigan, and Drummond-
ville. The two-year-old gang is believed to
have killed several hundred deer. Together,
the members could be fined a minimum of
$350,000 and perhaps more than $1 million if
convicted. Many had prior poaching records.
The Hansen Caviar Co. of
Bergenfield, New Jersey, and firm president
Arnold Hansen-Sturm, 54, were convicted
October 23 of selling more than 3,200 pounds
of poached caviar from 1985 through 1990.
The operation was discovered by accident dur-
ing an unrelated bank robbery investigation.
David Sahadi, 36, of Tenafly,
New Jersey, was indicted by a federal grand
jury on November 23 and ordered to stand trial
in U.S. District Court in Anchorage, Alaska,
for allegedly threatening to kill a member of
Alaska governor Walter Hickel’s family for
every wolf killed in the state’s wolf cull (see
page one). Sahadi allegedly made the threat in
an October 2 call to Hickel’s office. A profes-
sional photographer, Sahadi had no known
link to any animal rights group.
A satchel charge blew a hole in the
roof of the Bureau of Land Management office
in Reno, Nevada, shortly after midnight on
October 31, causing moderate damage but no
injuries. No one claimed responsibility for the
blast, and there were no suspects, but authori-
ties and media speculated that it might have
had something to do with disputes over graz-
ing fees on federal land, the enforcement of
mining laws, or wild horse policy.
Following up on an August 20 U.S.
Court of Appeals rulingthat parties in British
legal proceedings may file motions for discov-
ery in U.S. courts, libel defendants Helen
Steel and Dave Morris of London Greenpeace
filed against McDonald’s Inc. on November
16, seeking documents that they hope will
prove the veracity of claims they made against
the firm in flyers circa Earth Day, 1990.
McDonald’s sued them for linking the firm to
unhealthy eating habits, animal exploitaton,
worker abuse, and habitat damage. Their
claims probably weren’t actionable in a U.S.
court, but British libel law is less considerate
of rights of free speech. Steel and Morris are
represented in the U.S. pro bono by Reed
Jarrod Rush, 26, and Sandra
Kay, 29, of Grant Parish, Louisiana, were
charged with felony theft October 28 for
allegedly spending at least $445 they raised to
help homeless animals on personal needs.
A November 7 protest held by the
Chicago Animal Rights Coalition at the Des
Plaines Wildlife Area in Wilmington, Illinois,
brought a bizarre arrest and an equally bizarre
non-arrest when protester Deborah Leahy was
charged with criminal trespass for showing
hunters photos of caged pheasants as they
waited to buy pheasant permits, while no
charges were brought against two hunters who
admittedly threw axle grease over protester
John Bolja, 37, of Whitehall,
New York, was charged with felony assault
and menacing on October 29 for taking a .22
rifle from a 17-year-old hunter who was on his
heavily posted land and hitting him with it,
then taking a .22 from the first hunter’s 15-
year-old companion and clubbing the 15-year-
old over the head with it. The 17-year-old was
charged with trespass, but the 15-year-old was
not charged because in New York the trespass
statute does not apply to anyone under 16.
Bolja a few weeks earlier alleged that the
Whitehall village police dog had mauled his
Great Dane without provocation.
Darvin Ray Peachey, 23, of
Belleville, Pennsylvania, was charged
November 16 with torching six Amish dairy
barns on the night of March 14, 1992,
killing 139 cows, 38 horses, and at least five
pigs. Peachey was turned in by his ex-fiance,
Judith Renee Walker, a witness, who with
her mother Betty Mae Walker pleaded guilty
to perjury rather than facing trial as accom-
plices. Peachey’s grandfather is an Amish
bishop, while his father, Abraham Peachey,
served three months in prison for torching his
employer’s barn in 1965.
Two 18-year-olds have been
charged with stealing and killing Officer
Baker, a Labrador retriever trained for drug-
sniffing, who vanished from his trainer’s
yard in Sweeny, Texas, last April.
Norma Stevenson, of Wooster,
Ohio, was fined $500 and sentenced to serve
45 days in jail on November 16 for threaten-
ing a humane officer with a gun as authorities
removed 53 dogs from her home last March.
Stevenson was found innocent of animal
abuse on a technicality on August 23.
Seventeen of the dogs remain in custody
because of unpaid boarding fees amounting to
more than $12,000.
Dog breeder/collector Charlotte
Speegle, of Oroville, California, who was
charged with 275 counts of felony abuse late
last July, was charged again in early
November after authorities found 56 more
dogs in her motorhome. Humane officers
have now removed 331 dogs from the
Speegle property––and Speegle and her hus-
band have previously been charged with simi-
lar offenses in other jurisdictions.
Burglary suspect Jonathan Lamas,
27, was seized and held for Houston police
on November 11 by a 5-month-old, 200-
pound pet pig. Owner Rick Charles said he
bought the pig for meat, but couldn’t bring
himself to kill her––”Especially not now.”