From ANIMAL PEOPLE, January/February 1996:
Crimes vs. humans
Convicted rapist Lloyd Frank Millett, of
Turner, Maine, charged November 6 with killing Rachelle
Anne Williams, 33, of Gorham, New Hampshire, and
Terrie M. Lizotte, 39, of Canton, Maine, was said to be
good with cattle, as a farm hand but also reportedly had a
prevous record for cruelty to his dog, as well as for assaulting
his ex-wife. Arrested 14 times since 1987, Millett is under
investigation in connection with six other murders and disappearances
since January 1983.
Northern Territories coroner John Lowndes
ruled December 13 in Darwin, Australia, that there is
insufficient evidence to say either that a dingo snatched 9-
week-old Azaria Chamberlain from her parents’ tent on
August 17, 1980, or that her mother was involved. The
infant vanished without a trace, but her mother, Lindy
Chamberlain, screamed “A dingo’s got my baby!” to tourists
at a nearby campfire. A February 1981 coroner’s verdict held
that a dingo took Azaria, but was overturned by an Australian
Supreme Court ruling. Lindy in October 1992 drew a life
term for allegedly murdering Azaria; her husband Michael
was convicted as an accessory, but remained free on a good
behavior bond. Two appeals failed, but in February 1986 a
hiker found Azaria’s bloodstained, torn jacket in a dingo den.
Lindy was released from prison five days later, and in May
1992 received $962,000 compensation for wrongful conviction.
Lindy and Michael requested the coroner’s re-examination
of the evidence in hopes of finally clearning their names.
Du Runqiong and her son Tang Youhua, 20, of
Jinli village in southern China, drew death sentences on
December 27 for killing 18 people, 10 cattle, 300 fish, 240
pigs, and 3,100 chickens with rat poison between May and
November 1995, purportedly to rid the earth of “bad people.”
Another 160 people were poisoned but survived.
The libel suit waged by McDonald’s Corporation
against London Greenpeace activists Helen Steel, 30, and
Dave Morris, 41, on December 11 became the longest-running
civil case in British history––and is expected to continue
into summer, costing McDonald’s an estimated $8,000 a day
in legal fees. Steel and Morris, who alleged circa Earth Day
1990 that McDonald’s promotes an unhealthy and environmentally
unsound meat-centered diet, are conducting their own
defense plus a concurrent countersuit.
A jury in Roanoke, Virginia, on November 30
awarded bird-lover Ruby Campagna $135,000 for emotional
distress suffered when South Roanoke Apartment Village
building manager Judy Woody crushed a nest of wrens in front
of her. Campagna’s granddaughter, Ginny Davis Owen, a
registered nurse, found her half an hour later in a state of clinical
shock. Campagna was represented by former U.S. attorney
and state senator-elect John Edwards, who said she remains
“very sad and depressive.”
U.S. district judge James Lawrence King r u l e d
December 21 in Key West that Russ Rector of the Dolphin
Freedom Foundation and Ric O’Barry of the Dolphin Project
were responsible for their own injuries suffered during a protest
against underwater bomb tests by the U.S. Navy on August 9,
1990. Rector and O’Barry held that the Navy and civilian contractors
intentionally ran over them with boats.
British activists Sandra White, Gaynor Ford,
and Gillian Peachey were arrested Christmas Eve and charged
December 29 with a December 5 arson at a poultry farm, as
well as with conspiracy to possess explosives and commit
arson. Peachey was already under a 21-month suspended sentence
for conspiracy related to a 1994 attempted arson at a hotel
that was hosting a hunt club meeting.
A 12-year-old girl and a 13-year-old boy have been
sentenced for their part in releasing more than 1,000 black
mink from a mink farm in Cleveland, Wisconsin, last July,
with charges pending against a 13-year-old girl. The 12-yearold
was ordered to apologize to the mink farmer. Wisconsin
media have often reported, apparently due to a typo in an early
account, that the mink were valued at $3,000 apiece; the going
price for a black mink pelt at auction is actually $30.00 or less.
Navy officers Jeffrey Scott Wilkerson, 21, and
Dennis Steven Artzer, 20, pleaded guilty to felony cruelty
in Sonora, California, on December 13, for dragging a cat
behind a car last June 18––right after sheriff’s deputy Todd
Blankenship warned them not to––but Judge William Polley
said he would reduce the charges to misdemeanors on
January 16 if he got a good probation report. The cat was
rescued by animal control officer Wynette Townsend.
Letters to the judge may be sent c/o Tuolomne County
Animal Control, 2 S. Green St., Sonora, CA 95370.
James Michael Fishburn, 18, and Robert
Francis Lipsky, 20, of Pottsville, Pennsylvania, were
charged December 26 with misdemeanor cruelty and conspiracy
for allegedly nailing a dog’s chain to a tree 10 days
earlier and using him as an archery target. Left for dead,
the dog dragged himself over a mile to animal rights activist
Doris Gitman’s porch in nearby Mechanicsville. District
Justice Andrew Zelonis of Tamaqua set bail at $10,000,
then raised Fishburn’s to $15,000 after he threatened to kick
a witness. Failing to make bail, the suspects were remanded
to Schuykill County Prison. The dog’s owners, Joseph
and Judy Harkins of Pottsville, said they didn’t want him
back, but Ruth Steinert SPCA shelter manager Diane
Reppy said more than 50 other people asked to adopt him.
Pottsville, Mechanicsville, and Tamaqua are all near
Hegins, scene of the notorious Labor Day pigeon shoot.
Jesse Bryan, 20, of Menomonie, Wisconsin,
on November 16 drew a year in jail on work-release toward
restitution, plus 10 years probation, for shooting cats,
dogs, cows, horses, and wildlife on a five-county crime
spree also including theft, burglary, and vandalism in
Alan Dahle, 34, of Haugen, Wisconsin, o n
November 29 drew 15 days in jail, two years probation,
and a seek-treatment order for killing his children’s dog and
fish because his 12-year-old son played hooky.
William J. Olson, 24, of Sand Springs,
Oklahoma, drew an 18-month deferred jail sentence plus
18 months probation on December 13 for abusing two tiger
cubs. A 5-month-old tiger with a broken leg and a 2-monthold
tiger who was partially blind from malnutrition were
found July 28 at Olson’s residence. Olson is not allowed to
keep exotic animals during his probation.
Allen Laboy, 37, of Miami, Florida, drew 9.5
years in prison on December 9 for brutally killing a dog in
August 1994––five years for cruelty, and 4.5 years as a
habitual offender, with priors for burglary, assault, and
drug possession. The total sentence appears to be the
longest on record for abusing a single animal.
Jay Messinger, 35, of McKeesport,
Pennsylvania, on December 4 drew 90 days in jail for beating
a dog who bit his 18-month-old daughter to death with a
hammer on November 14––28 days after Alan Roberts of
Westminster, California, was acquitted of cruelty for beating
a dog who bit his son to death with a baseball bat, in a
nationally publicized case. Messinger will get 45 days off if
he pays $210 in necropsy and court costs.
Farmer Daryl Larson, of Craig, Missouri, is to
be sentenced on January 11 for 50 counts of animal abuse
and 50 counts of improperly disposing of dead animals, all
misdemeanors. A jury on December 16 convicted Larson of
allowing an unknown number of hogs to starve in his barn.
“Estimates of the number of dead hogs ranged from several
hundred to 2,000,” reported Associated Press.
Three of seven students from McNary High
School in Keizer, Oregon––four of them football players––who
beat and burned to death an oppossum on video in
October and then showed the video as a high school class
project are now doing 60 hours of service apiece at a local
humane society, and are to do another 40 hours with other
institutions, according to the Portland Oregonian. The
other four youths are awaiting trial.