Little shops of horrors

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, April 1998:

Truckers David Cook, 48, of
Jonesboro, Arkansas, and Edward
Earl Ruyle, 37, of Filley, Nebraska,
were jailed overnight on March 12 in
Greenwich, Connecticut, after a propane
heater fell over and started a fire in their
trailer that killed 44 puppies. Six others,
badly hurt, were later euthanized. Thirteen
more were hospitalized. Five, not
injured, were held by the Connecticut
Humane Society shelter in Newington.
Cook and Ruyle were initially charged
with 68 counts of cruelty, but the charges
were reduced to a single count of failing to
have a health certificate for one puppy.

Police said the puppies had adequate food
and water, and were not overcrowded.
They also noted that when alerted to the
fire by another trucker, Cook and Ruyle
immediately stopped and tried to save the
puppies at risk of their own lives.
The Cook/Ruyle incident came
five months after Larry Jenkins, 49, of
Tunis, Missouri, and Eric Matthews, 25,
of Elkland, Missouri, were charged with
96 counts of cruelty after crashing a truckload
of puppies into an overpass in nearby
Bridgeport. Caged in the truck for four
days, five of those puppies starved to
death. CHS adopted out the rest.
The Cook/Ruyle case a l s o
broke one day after William E. Pugh Jr.,
24, was arraigned for alleged cruelty in his
management of The Pet Company f r a nchise
at the Connecticut Post Mall, in
Milford. An ex-employee of the same
store was reportedly charged with cruelty
in 1997. Town of Fairfield assistant animal
control officer CherylAnn Haas, also
president of Teaching Animal Awareness
in Legislation, cites the Bridgeport and
Milford cases as evidence that Connecticut
needs tougher laws to govern the pet trade.
District judge Robert Braithwaite,
of Cedar City, Utah, on February
11 jailed former Pinky’s Pets o w n e r
Debbie Jo Sisk for 15 days, fined her
$1,500, ordered her to do 300 hours of
community service, and barred her from
having contact with animals. Cconvicted
of 36 cruelty counts on December 19,
1997, Sisk was again selling pets, said
Iron County attorney Scott Burns.
Authorities seized 51 allegedly neglected
animals from Pinky’s Pets in July 1997.
Two months after seizing 2 9
horses, two donkeys, and two dogs from
alleged puppy miller Joni Booth, 40, the
Kansas Animal Health Department,
Seward County Sheriff’s Department,
and Southwest Kansas Humane Society
on March 3 raided Booth again, impounding
127 dogs. On February 24, Booth
reportedly pleaded no contest to cruelty
charges resulting from the earlier raid,
drawing a year on probation; agreed to
pay restitution for the care of the animals
seized from her then; and agreed she
would not keep other livestock during her
probation. As part of the plea bargain, the
state dropped charges from July 1997 incidents
in which Booth allegedly beat a
horse with a lead pipe, set the horse on
fire, and beat her husband with a shotgun.
Municipal court judge Denise
Dartt of Toledo, Ohio, on March 12 convicted
Opal Covey, 47, owner of Opal’s
Country Store & Thrift shop, of 14 of 26
cruelty charges laid against her after an
August 1997 raid by the Toledo Humane
Society seized 477 fish, birds, dogs, and
cats. Forty-nine animals died in custody.
“It was a victory even if we won on only
one count––as long as we can keep the
remaining animals,” THS investigator
Kevin Warner told Robin Erb of the
Toledo Blade. The fate of the animals was
to be decided on March 27. Covey has
accused THS and local birdwatchers of
conspiring against her.
Eleven puppies burned to
death in their cages on February 23 when
for the third time in four months someone
threw a Molotov cocktail into Poodles by
Dewey, a shop opened in November 1997
by poodle breeder Dewey Root in Davie,
Florida. A previous firebombing killed
two puppies. Root sold poodles from his
home for about 30 years, but moved sales
operations to the store after neighbors
complained about traffic and noise.
Lethal sabotage also surfaced
in February at the All About Pets store in
East Montpelier, Vermont, where someone
poured bleach into a water reservoir
that served 25 fish tanks, killing hundreds
of goldfish. Owner Sylvia Spooner s a i d
someone had previously used thumbtacks
to puncture plastic bottles on her shelves.

Print Friendly

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.