From ANIMAL PEOPLE, March 1994:
The toughest cruelty sentence ever
issued in Vermont went to Donald Bliss, of
Barre, on a December 14 plea bargain. Bliss
admitted to keeping a starving Belgian mare staked
outside for most of the winter of 1992-1993. He
drew a year in jail with immediate probation, a
suspended fine of $2,000, was ordered to donate
$1,000 to the Central Vermont Humane Society,
and was obliged to pay the town of Barre $1,100
for boarding the mare until she was adopted by
Anne Cole Butler, of Orange.
Montgomery, Alabama circuit court
judge William Gordon on February 1 dismissed
without a hearing a lower court verdict that archi-
tect William Archer was guilty of cruelty for fail-
ing to give his dog heartworm treatments. “This
was the first appeal we’ve had of a cruelty case for
neglect, and the judge wouldn’t even let a jury hear
the evidence,” lamented Montgomery County
Humane Society executive director Mary Mansour.
“He just said it was too complicated for him to deal
An unidentified 41-year-old elemen-
tary school teacher was arraigned January 31 in
Angels Camp, California, for allegedly smoking
psychedelic toad venom. The prosecution is
believed to be the world’s first.
ANIMAL PEOPLE was asked to note a
January 28 raid on animal collector David
Trystman of Lake County, who kept more than
100 cattle, horses, and sheep on just three
acres––but none of the information relayed to us
mentioned which of the many states with Lake
Counties this occurred in.
The New Jersey Supreme Court on
January 26 ended judicial review of the impound-
ment of Taro, an Akita condemned in March 1991
under the state vicious dog law, after injuring a 10-
year-old girl at a 1990 Christmas party. Taro had pre-
viously killed smaller dogs in the neighborhood.
New Jersey governor Christine Todd Whitman grant-
ed Taro clemency on February 11, after she was
adopted by new custodians who pledged to remove
her from New Jersey. The case drew international
attention when the cost of appeals and impoundment
exceeded $100,000. The state legislature is expected
to amend the vicious dog law later this year.
Alzheimer’s disease victim Martha Pope,
75, was fatally mauled by her family’s two
Rottweilers on February 5 in Chicago, after wander-
ing into their enclosure. The custodian of the dogs
was charged with failure to vaccinate.
A chained eight-month-old Alaskan
malamute fatally mauled a six-year-old boy on
Christmas Day in Hooksett, New Hampshire.
A City Council probe in DeSoto, Texas,
has concluded that police properly investigated the
November 27 fatal mauling of Dusty Patterson, age
5, as a possible homicide. The victim’s father,
Rottweiler breeder Pat Patterson, was considered a
suspect after Lt. W.M. Brodnax noted bruises and
other marks on the victim’s body that he believed
were caused by human rather than canine abuse.
Patterson has threatened to sue the city.
Crimes against humans
Former neighbors say Richard
Allen Davis, 38, set cats on fire and
threw knives at dogs as a child. Paroled
after serving time for kidnapping, he now
faces trial for allegedly kidnapping Polly
Klaas, 12, from a slumber party in her bed-
room in Petaluma, California, last summer;
raping her; and strangling her.
Dog trainer Yoshinori Ueda, of
Nagano, Japan, confessed February 10 to
killing three men in 1992 and two women
last year, apparently to conceal economic
crimes against them.
Jimmy Earl Humfleet, 33, was
to be indicted for murder, terroristic
threatening, and trafficking in under eight
ounces of marijuana on February 18 in
London, Tennessee. Humfleet called police
shortly after midnight on December 31 to
say his uncle, Samuel Humfleet, 35, was
raping a pit bull terrier. When a dispatcher
called back for directions, Humfleet said
nothing was wrong––but then called police a
second time, repeated the allegation, and
allegedly shot his uncle while still on the
telephone. Police said Samuel Humfleet’s
body was fully clothed. A sheriff’s deputy
shot the dog who was purportedly molested,
to protect an ambulance crew.
A 36-year-old woman in
Firestone Park, Ohio, was charged
January 12 with felonious sexual penetration
and child endangerment, after telling police
her 70-pound pit bull terrier raped her son.
The boy said the woman did it, enraged that
he’d had an accidental bowel movement in
his pants. Semen from the pit bull was
found in the boy’s severely torn anus, but
there were no scratches or dog bites on him.
Johnny Edward Garren, 39, of
Knox County, Tennessee, was charged
with aggravated assault, intentionally
killing an animal, and driving on a revoked
license on January 4, after allegedly trying
South Carolina State University
premedical student Edward L. Summers,
22, reputedly the most skilled vivisector in
his class, was indicted January 28 for
allegedly killing Michael Falcone, 18, and
wounding Scott Nappi, also 18, in order to
steal their Jeep. Both victims were shot in
the head point-blank on January 3.
Mary Beth Bradley, of
Williamstown, West Virginia, won a $5
million judgement against serial killer
Thomas Lee Dillon on January 5, for caus-
ing the wrongful death of her husband Gary
Bradley. Dillon admitted to shooting
Bradley in April 1992, while both were
hunting. Dillon, an ardent hunter who also
boasted of killing more than 1,000 animals
in illegal drive-by shootings, is serving a life
term in Ohio on five murder convictions.
Skater Tonya Harding, suspect-
ed of complicity but not charged in the
January attack on rival Nancy Kerrigan to
which her ex-husband and two aides have
pleaded guilty, has avidly hunted deer since
kindergarten––but bodyguard Shane Stant,
who carried out the assault, is according to
his mother a dog and cat rescuer.
Animal collector Vikki Kittles,
46, now facing trial in Astoria, Oregon,
after dodging cruelty and weapons charges in
Florida and Mississippi, remains the only
suspect in the 1987 disappearance of her
mother, Jean Sullivan, who was last seen
confined to Kittles’ van in Manatee County,
Florida. Kittles purportedly fed dogs who
died to the rest of her pack, usually number-
ing more than 40. Police believe that may
have happened to Sullivan as well.
Authorities are still probing t h e
suicides of prize-winning cattle breeder
Gregory Wilcom, 26, on March 8, 1993,
in Ijamsville, Maryland, followed days later
by suicide of his business partner, James
Wright, in Cortland, New York. The two
were under investigation in connection with
the mysterious deaths of several cattle, who
were insured for up to 25 times their market
value. Wright had also collected insurance
on two suspicious barn fires.
A 24-year-old former horse
t r a i n e r has sued seven rodeo stars for
allegedly dosing her with Ketamine, a para-
lytic used to immobilize animals, and gang-
raping her on March 27, 1993, after a rodeo
in Long Beach, California. She promptly
reported the incident, but the Los Angeles
County Sheriff’s Department did not press
charges. Named were bullriding champs
Tuff Hedeman, Ted Nuce, and Adam
Carillo, along with Charlie Horky, Jim
Sharp, Clint Branger, and Gilbert Carillo.
An item in the January/
February “Crimes Against Humans” sec-
tion scrambled the identity of the dog whose
December 17 killing apparently incited
David Mack Flinn of Hugo, Oklahoma, to
murder Luke and Mary Sheehan, 52 and 49,
and wound three bystanders later that day.
The dog belonged not to the Sheehans, but
to Flinn, who later committed suicide.
Police initially said Flinn had accused Luke
Sheeham of killing the dog, but later said
they couldn’t confirm that Flinn and the
Sheehams even knew each other.
Right to a dog
The first test of the Texas law
protecting the right of a deaf person to a
helper dog was decided in favor of Don
Adkins, of Austin, and his cocker spaniel,
Lucky, on January 12. Restaurant owner
Ben Mousavizadeh of the town of Katy
barred Adkins and the dog last July.