From ANIMAL PEOPLE, April 1995:
Gamecock breeder John Brown, of Corbin, Kentucky, on
March 17 sued the Knox County Humane Society, executive director
Vicky Crosetti, and operations manager Debbie Clark for $2.1 million
because they euthanized five cocks seized from him on June 30, 1993,
by the Knox County Animal Control Unit, while a Tennessee Highway
Patrol trooper was citing him for drunk driving and speeding. Those
charges were reduced to one count of reckless driving, for which
Brown paid a fine. KCHS records indicate the cocks were badly dehy-
drated. Cockfighting is legal in Kentucky, but not in Tennessee.
Brown had just purchased the cocks in North Carolina.
Animal collector Vikki Kittles, 47, on February 3 drew six
months in jail and five years on probation, during which time she may
not keep animals, after being convicted of all 42 cruelty and neglect
counts brought against her in Clatsop County, Oregon. She also for-
feited 39 dogs, was given 30 days in which to place 61 more, and was
ordered to undergo psychological evaluation and counseling. Arrested
in April 1993, Kittles served as her own attorney during a two-week
trial, after going through eight court-appointed attorneys and six
judges in nearly two years of preliminary motions. The case cost
Clatsop County $100,000; citizens also donated $40,000 in cash and
supplies to the county animal shelter, to provide for the dogs. Kittles
was previously in trouble for animal collecting in Broward County,
Florida, from 1985 into 1988, and in Missisippi and Washington later
in 1988. Kittles is also suspected in the disappearance of her mother,
who was last seen in 1988, living in a van guarded by Kittles’ dogs.
Poodle breeder Charlotte Speegel, 56, dodging cruelty
charges in various northern California jurisdictions since December
1990, was convicted on March 15 of eight felony counts of cruelty and
one misdemeanor count of neglect. She faces up to six years in prison
and has forfeited claim to 350 dogs seized by the Northwest SPCA in
two 1993 raids, of whom 30 remained at the shelter.
The American SPCA on March 1 seized 91 fighting cocks
in a raid on a Suffolk County home where 47 people were caught
attending a cockfight. “From June to this raid,” ASPCA investigator
Robert O’Neill told Evelyn Nieves of The New York Times, “we’ve
seized 1,450 birds and arrested something like 190 people. We’ve
forced cockfighting out of the city.” The maximum penalty for cock-
fighting is four years in prison, but so far, O’Neill said, no defendant
has received more than three months in jail.
Raiding a dogfight held just two blocks from City Hall,
San Francisco Animal Care and Control officers on March 16 arrested
75 people and seized seven live dogs along with two dead dogs and
$50,000 in alleged gambling stakes. Two more live dogs were recov-
ered in a follow-up raid on another location.
The Los Angeles SPCA on February 27 seized 39 allegedly
neglected animals from the Elias Pet Shop in East Los Angeles. “We
hope this will send a message to all pet shop owners that every animal
in their care must be provided for properly,” said LASPCA executive
director Madeline Bernstein.
After Eric Kiernan, 19, of Belfast, Maine, was jailed on
January 12 for alleged burglary and theft, acquaintances revealed how
he severely abused a kitten––who lived, with 24-hour-a-day care from
Sonja Berenyl and Corine Fitzjurls of the Claude Clement Animal
Shelter. On February 17, Kiernan was charged with cruelty, too.
Ingrid Leonovs and John Diehl, each 24, of Bucks
County, Pa., were fined $300 apiece on February 15 for starving their
18-month-old Dalmatian to death. Just a month earlier, three Bucks
County men were convicted of the torture-killing and mutilation of a
Dalmatian named Duke. Jason Tapper, 21 drew 18 to 36 months in
jail for the deed; Jan Pyatt, 23, got six to 23 months; and R o y
Elliott, 21, got nine to 23 months. The number of Dalmatians
involved in cruelty cases and received by shelters has soared since the
1991 re-release of the Disney video 101 Dalmatians touched off a
Dalmatian breeding boom.
Washington D.C. postal worker Robert Boggs on March 6
copped a plea on a single count of postal theft. Boggs was arrested last
fall after investigators found thousands of pieces of undelivered mail,
20 dead turtles, 10 dead birds, a severely neglected dog, 43 neglected
turtles, and 15 neglected birds in his Maclean, Virginia apartment.
The Washington Humane Society laid no charges, believing Boggs to
be mentally ill and therefore not culpable for intentional cruelty.
A court in Munich, West Germany, on February 27 ruled
that use of remote-controlled electric shock collars in dog training isn’t
cruel. The case is believed to be the first of its kind to go to trial.
Prosecutors on February 8 filed stiffer charges a g a i n s t
Alameda Naval Air Station personnel Christopher Bishop, 24, Kevin
Johnson, 23, and Stephen LeBlanc, 27, for the October 3 videotaped
torture-killing of a cat named Boots, whom LeBlanc’s wife abandoned
when she left LeBlanc earlier in the day. LeBlanc and Bishop have
been held in lieu of $50,000 bail since their October arrest, while
Johnson is out on bond.
Rod Coronado, 28, pleaded guilty o n
March 3 to aiding and abetting the February 28,
1992 fire at Michigan State University that razed the
offices of Richard Auerlich, who does USDA
research on behalf of the mink industry, and Karen
Chou, who was researching alternatives to animal
testing. Coronado also pleaded guilty to the
February 1992 theft and destruction of a cavalry-
man’s journal, take from a museum at the Little
Bighorn Battlefield. In exchange for the plea, feder-
al charges against Coronado in connection with a
series of alleged Animal Liberation Front actions
against mink-related facilities in Oregon,
Washington, and Utah during 1991 and 1992 were
dropped. Coronado said he took the deal rather than
risk impeaching others through testimony presented
at a trial. He faces from 41 to 51 months in prison.
The 1994 Freedom of Access to Clinic
Entrances Act was invoked for apparently the first
time on February 15 in Cleveland, as Dr. Gerald
Applegate won a preliminary order barring anti-abor-
tion activist Alan M. Smith of Youngstown from
speaking to or harassing him or his family.
Applegate testified that someone had stabbed his dog
to death, leaving the remains on his porch with a
note saying, “From your pro-life friends.” There has
been speculation that the act could set a precedent for
ordering animal rights activists away from laborato-
ries and researchers’ homes.
Crimes against humans
Thomas William McCluskey, 39, “ter-
rorized friends and family with knives, axes, and
guns, and forced them to listen to his bloody, grisly
tales of torturing cats and dogs,” Donna M. de la
Cruz of the Nashville Sentinel reported on March 14.
On March 12, McCluskey went berserk with a
chainsaw, without apparent provocation, and dis-
membered his cousin, Jason Bowen, on a city side-
walk in Pulaski, Tennessee. He was charged with
murder, while undergoing psychiatric evaluation.
British Columbia parole officials in
mid-February relocated former Sooke school
principal Harold Irving Banks, 59, from Nanaimo
to Victoria, after his daughter Bree Smith went pub-
lic with the charges that sent him to prison, previ-
ously concealed to protect her identity. Banks
copped a plea in 1988 after being accused of more
han 1,000 sexual assaults against children, which he
logged on a calendar, including acts of buggery and
attempted bestiality. Smith testified that she was sex-
ually assaulted from age 18 months, when Banks
broke her jaw, until age 16, when she ran away from
home. Most traumatic, she said, was being forced
to eat her pet rabbits.
As ANIMAL PEOPLE went to press, a
verdict was due in the Roseburg, Oregon trial of avid
hunter and former deputy sheriff Larry Gibson for
allegedly murdering his two-and-a-half-year-old son
Timothy by abuse on March 18, 1991. After his
wife Judy fled frequent beatings last year, daughter
Karen, now 8, came forward to testify that she saw
Gibson beat Timothy, stuff him into a plastic bag,
and drive away. No body has ever been found.
Police believe Gibson dispatched Timothy with a pis-
tol; Gibson admits firing the shot that neighbors
heard, but claims he was killing a cat.
Abdalah Benhajra, 28, of Casablanca,
Morocco, on March 7 drew eight years in prison and
a fine of $349 for selling dog meat sausages.
Benhajra butchered about three stray dogs per week.
That was legal; selling the meat to humans wasn’t.
Animal Welfare Act
The feral rhesus monkeys at Silver Springs,
Florida, are all to be trapped by June 1 and held for life in
one-acre pens inaccessible to visitors, under a plan approved
by the USDA, which had threatened to charge the town of
Silver Springs with violating the Animal Welfare Act for
keeping the monkeys as a tourist attraction while failing to
keep them properly caged. The monkeys were apparently
released on an island in the Silver Spring river circa 1937 by
one Captain Colonel Tooey, promoter of a “jungle cruise”
boat ride. In 1984 the Florida Game and Fresh Water Fish
Commission ordered Silver Springs to curb colony growth,
but 25,000 citizens petitioned to have the monkeys left alone
after 217 were captured and sold for laboratory use. A steri-
lization program followed, but was stopped when the mon-
keys were found to be carrying the simian herpes B virus,
usually fatal to human victims. The Florida Department of
Natural Resources, Centers for Disease Control, Humane
Society of the U.S., and Florida Audubon Society all urged
that the monkeys be euthanized, but that plan also met pro-
Endangered species act
The Sierra Club on February 16 sued the U.S.
Fish and Wildlife Service in Sacramento, California, for
failing to add the peninsular desert bighorn sheep to the
endangered species list. The USFWS determined that the
sheep were eligible for listing in 1992. Coveted by hunters
and poachers, they numbered circa 1,200 in 1980, but fewer
than 400 remain in the mountains of San Diego, Riverside,
and Imperial counties. The listing is opposed by cattle ranch-
ers, who will probably try to claim cash compensation if it
The USFWS on February 17 declined to list the
Alexander Archipelago wolf, an Alaskan subspecies of 600 to
1,000 members, as threatened. Logging on 600,000 acres of
the 17-million-acre Tongass National Forest had been held up
while the status of the wolf was under review.
The Fund for Animals announced February 15 that
the USFWS has now proposed endangered species listings for
154 of the 443 species for which listing decisions are to be
made by 1996, according to the 1992 settlement of a suit filed
against former Interior Secretary Manuel Lujan by the Fund
and Defenders of Wildlife.
The Biodiversity Legal Foundation has asked the
USFWS to list the fisher as a threatened species in the western
U.S., “due to isolated, low population levels, direct and acci-
dental trapping pressures, loss of habitat through destructive
timber practices, restricted range, and inadequate govern-
ment protection,” according to petitioner Jasper Carlton.
Carlton has also pledged to sue the USFWS and Interior
Secretary Bruce Babbitt for refusing to protect the lynx. “This
case is of particular concern to conservationists,” he said,
“since it is one of the few times the Washington office of the
USFWS has reversed recommendations from biologists in
both its Montana field office and its regional office in Denver,
both of which recommended the listing of the lynx.”
U.S. District Judge Louis Bechtle on February 26
issued a permanent injunction under the Endangered Species
act to keep the Pacific Lumber company from logging a 237-
acre portion of the Owl Creek Forest in Humboldt County,
California, which may host the rare marbeled murrelet.
Judge Yoichi Ono of the Kagoshima District Court
in Japan on March 8 threw out a suit filed by the Environment
Network Amami on behalf of the Amami hare, Lidth’s Jay,
White’s ground thrush, and Amami woodcock, on grounds
the four endangered species have no legal names and address-
es. “We knew the court would do something like this,” said
ENA leader Hiroaki Sono. “We just wanted to point out the
huge gaps in the law.” The four are among 100 species Japan
protects as “national monuments,” forbidding their killing or
sale, but not preventing the destruction of their habitat.