From ANIMAL PEOPLE, May 1995:
American SPCA humane enforcement chief Robert
O’Neill led the biggest cockfighting raid in U.S. history on March
25, arresting 289 alleged spectators and seven alleged organizers in a
Bronx theatre building modified so that the cockpit could be disguised
as a boxing ring at a moment’s notice. Ninety cocks were seized for
euthanasia, along with 20 dead cocks. The ASPCA had already made
240 arrests and seized 1,550 cocks in a series of previous raids that
began in June 1994. The raids caused The New York Times to editorial-
ly demand that judges begin imposing the fines for cockfighting of up
to $25,000 and prison terms of up to four years that New York law
allows, instead of the token fines of about $200 that are usually given.
Scotland Yard on March 19 arrested six men and an
eight-year-old boy in the first cockfighting raid in Britain since 1985.
Another dozen suspects escaped.
Seventy-eight people arrested at a March 11 high stakes
dogfight by the San Francisco Department of Animal Care and Control
were arraigned on March 24 for felony cruelty to animals. At least 30
defendants, claiming poverty, requested public defenders. Their
applications were to be reviewed beginning on April 24. Meanwhile,
SFDACC is seeking suspects who allegedly held another dogfight on
March 28, then buried alive two dogs who lost.
Robert Homrighous, 42, of Oakland Park, Florida,
pleaded no contest on March 22 to burying nine newborn Rottweiler
puppies alive on January 15, in a case that made national headlines
when Sheba, the mother, broke off her chain and dug them up. Six
survived, and have been adopted out, as was Sheba, by the Broward
County Animal Shelter. Homrighous could get up to a year in jail.
Gerald Jerome, 51, of Los Angeles, was arrested on
March 28 by Los Angeles Department of Animal Regulation officers
Eric Gardner and Annetta Vernon for trapping without a permit, suspi-
cion of cruelty to animals, and possession of four pounds of marijuana.
Investigators called by a neighbor who found an injured cat in a trap
discovered 13 steel-jawed leghold traps set on the property, one of
which held a badly decomposed opossum. The Los Angeles legal
response is in distinct contrast to the failure of the city of Moscow,
Idaho, to prosecute professional fur trapper Curt McLam, one of
whose leghold traps, illegally placed within city limits, injured a cat
belonging to Tim and Kenna Eaton on January 4 of this year. Tim
Eaton requested that charges be brought on January 10.
Legislation In Support of Animals on March 15 honored
Teresa Daigle of Port Sulphur, Louisiana, with a Golden Heart
Award for courage and diligence in securing the prosecution of neigh-
bor Kurt Stewart for shooting her dog with a crossbow, in front of her
three children, ages 10 to 15. Stewart on March 14 pleaded guilty,
drawing a 30-day suspended jail term, six months on probation, a fine
of $100 and court costs, and $240 restitution to Daigle for veterinary
bills. The dog survived.
Massachusetts Appellate Court judge George Jacobs ruled
on March 22 that condominium regulations allowing pets inside units
but not allowing them to walk through common areas are illogical,
unjust, and in the specific case of Rhonda and William Dean vs. the
Granby Heights Condominium Association, amounted to an improper-
ly adopted ban on pet ownership. The ruling could overturn many such
defacto bans on pets around the state.
Police officers Greg Trantham, 27, and John Overstreet,
32, of Bayou Vista, Texas, were acquitted on March 28 of allegedly
using a stray Lhasa Apso dog for target practice in April 1994. Jurors
said that although they felt the two were guilty, in the absence of a
corpse they lacked the evidence to convict. The case drew national
note as result of Internet postings.
Investigating his first animal-related case in 25 years on
the force, Akron police officer Tom Miksch made headlines on March
30 for recovering a Moluccan cockatoo, stolen March 5 from the Two
Turtles Pet Center. The bird was store owner Mary Kay Roediger’s
mascot. Charged with the theft was Gary L. Peavler, 39, who had 90
previous adult arrests, leading to 42 convictions for assault, petty theft,
and gross sexual imposition. A second suspect was sought.
High school principal Jerry Slyker, of Hardin, Montana,
has been sentenced by a Bighorn County court to donate $350 to Help
Every Pet, a local animal welfare group, for gassing five cats obtained
through free-to-good-home ads last October and having students dissect
them, including at home gatherings where they were boiled down to
bones. “We are trying to convince the prosecutor in neighboring
Yellowstone County to press theft charges,” said Bill Dollinger of
Friends of Animals. “Since some of the cats were stolen (via alleged
fraud) from Yellowstone County, and since that county was under a
rabies quarantine at the time, Slyer could also be prosecuted for violat-
ing the quarantine.” Letters in support of the FoA petition may be sent
to Dennis Paxinos, County Attorney, Yellowstone County
Courthouse, Billings, MT 59101.
Crimes against humans
A small bomb damaged the U.S. Forest
Service office in Carson City, Nevada, on March
31, days after the Justice Department sued to over-
turn a Nye County ordinance claiming authority over
all public lands. Under the ordinance, Nye County
Commissioner Richard Carver reopened a road
closed by the Forest Service, enabling ranchers to
pasture cattle on federal land where grazing had been
halted to prevent erosion. Similar ordinances have
been adopted by at least 35 counties in western
states, and are reportedly pending in 35 more. The
bombing paralleled the Halloween 1993 bombing of
the Bureau of Land Management office in Reno.
Lindy and Michael Chamberlain, for-
merly husband and wife, of Sidney, Australia, on
March 23 petitioned Northern Territory coroner John
Lowndes to formally rule that a dingo killed their
daughter Azaria, who vanished from a campground
at Uluru, then called Ayers Rock, in August 1980.
Her remains have never been found. Lindy
Chamberlain, who served three years for allegedly
murdering Azaria, claimed to have seen a dingo run-
ning away from their tent with her. Michael served
18 months as an accessory. Their convictions were
reversed on appeal in 1988.
Chicago police on March 22 arrested but
refused to identify a 51-year-old man they said they
had suspected since 1970 of having placed a dyna-
mite bomb in stable owner George Jayne’s Cadillac
back in June 1965. The bomb killed Cheryl Lynn
Rude, 22, when she tried to move the car. Jayne’s
brother Silas was suspected of hiring the bombing,
but was never charged George Jayne was shot dead
in 1970; Silas Jayne served eight years in prison for
ordering that hit. The arrest in the Rude case devel-
oped out of an investigation into killing horses for
insurance money, which also led to charges against
alleged gigolo Richard Bailey in connection with the
1977 disappearance of Helen Vorhees Brach, and
against Kenneth Hansen, Silas Jayne’s former stable
hand, for the rape/murders of Robert Peterson, 14,
and John and Anton Schuessler, 13 and 11, in 1955.
Brach is remembered via the Brach Foundation, a
major patron of animal protection groups and zoos.
Police hint that the probe may also lead to charges in
the 1966 disappearances of Ann Miller, 21, Patty
Blough, 19, and Renee Bruhl, 20; Miller and Bruhl
also rode at George Jayne’s stable. Twenty of the 21
people charged only in the horse-killings and related
fraud have already pleaded guilty.
Leland Leo Brady, 36, of Ashland City,
Tennesee, was charged on March 23 with aggravated
criminal trespass, aggravated assault, false impris-
onment, theft, and cruelty to animals on March 23
after holding his estranged wife hostage for 36 hours
and killing her cat to keep her terrorized.
Authorities in two other recent cases––
including women––were tragically slow to recognize
the behavioral connection between habitual violence
toward animals and domestic violence, perhaps
because the habitual violence toward animals in each
instance occurred through mostly legal hunting.
Last November, Maine state trooper Jeff
Parola died in a car crash while speeding to intervene
as Lynwood Doughty Jr., of Sidney, Maine––pre-
viously convicted of domestic assault in
Massachusetts––threatened to kill former girlfriend
Robin Dore, 26, and her entire family. Waterville
District Court Judge Rae Ann French fined Doughty
$300 for that, plus $200 for poaching a deer. On
March 26, Doughty allegedly tried to disfigure Dore
by forcing her face against a woodstove, burning her
arms so severely as to require skin grafts; threatened
to kill her daughter Lizzie, age 4; and broke her
mother Randa Christy’s jaw when Christy came to the
rescue. The local bail commissioner set bail at
$40,000 double surety or $4,000 cash. Judge French,
at request of defense lawyer Pam Ames, cut it to
$1,000 cash––which Doughty’s mother immediately
posted. Freed, Doughty found Dore within 15 min-
utes and according to police wounded her with his
hunting rifle. “I’m going to shoot you once and wait
for your mother and baby,” he purportedly told her.
“I’m going to kill your mother. I’m going to slice
your baby’s throat so you can hear her die, and then
I’m going to kill you and kill myself.” Instead
Christy created a diversion, enabling Dore to escape.
Charged with the July 1993 hunting knife
thrill killing and mutilation of Hillary Norskog, 13,
Steven Pfiel, 18, was freed from jail on a $1 million
bond posted by his father, Chicago-area meatpacking
executive Roger Pfiel. On March 18, Pfiel surren-
dered to police in Crete Township, Illinois, turned in
the family arsenal of rifles and shotguns, and con-
fessed to the Norskog murder as well as to bludgeon-
ing his brother Roger Jr., 19, with a baseball bat as
he slept the night of March 17, then slashing his
throat with a meat cleaver and sexually assaulting an
unidentified female family member. His parents
were not home.
The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled 3-0
on March 24 that as Judge Harry Pregerson wrote for the
majority, Congress in passing the Endangered Species Act
“intended to allow citizen suits to enjoin an imminent threat of
harm to protected wildlife.” The ruling, which has the effect
of strengthening the ESA pending anticipated amendment by
Congress, reinstates a case filed by the Forest Conservation
Council against a proposed 40-acre clearcut in Lane County,
Oregon, on grounds it might harm spotted owl habitat.
Rock star and hunting advocate Ted Nugent o n
April 3 agreed to pay Fund for Animals national director
Heidi Prescott $75,000 in legal fees and damages for having
accused her of sexual licentiousness during a November 19,
1992 morning talk show on WRIF, a Detroit radio station.
The case was to go to trial on April 6. The station settled out
of court last year for what the Fund called “a sizable sum.”
Pet dealers Vernon L. Diggins III, 27, and
Vernon L. Diggins Jr., 46, of Lakemont Altoona,
Pennsylvania, were charged with battery on March 27 in
Arlington Heights, Illinois, for taking the film from a 26-
year-old Harper College journalism student and smashing her
camera after she photographed turtles they were selling at the
Arlington International Racecourse and asked them if the tur-
tles might carry salmonella.
West Palm Beach federal court judge Kenneth
Ryskamp on March 31 ordered Worldwide Primates Inc. and
attorney Paul Bass to each pay Shirley McGreal of the
International Primate Protection League $25,000 for filing a
lawsuit “without adequate research and development of the
facts” against her in August 1990. McGreal had asked the
U.S. government to probe Worldwide Primates owner
Matthew Block’s role in arranging the February 1990 attempt-
ed smuggling of six baby orangutans from Indonesia to
Russia. Block eventually pleaded guilty to felony conspiracy
in that case, and was sentenced to serve 13 months in
jail––but is still at large pending resolution of an appeal.