No Plea Deal For Poisoning Dogs

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Status: Current
Originally Posted: September 28, 2008

No Plea Deal For Poisoning Dogs

From Kinship Circle

To receive a formatted letter (word doc), email Kinship Circle to copy/paste into an email or print letter to fax or mail.

FULL CONTACT INFORMATION. Sample letter follows.

Jefferson County District Attorney Peter L. Deuel
Jefferson County Courthouse
75 SE C Street, Suite B, Madras, Oregon 97741
phone 541/475-4452
fax 541/475-4512

Copy comments and send to:
Jefferson County Administrative Offices
66 SE D Street / Madras, Oregon 97741
phone 541/475-2449
fax 541/475-4454
Mike Ahern, Commissioner
John Hatfield, Commissioner
Bill Bellamy, Chairs

Crooked River Ranch Administration Office
phone 541/548-8939 or 800/637-5435
fax 541/548-0278

(Kinship Circle cannot guarantee validity of email addresses. During
campaigns, recipients may change or disable their email addresses. Emails
from government, corporate, or institute websites may be incorrect.)

SAMPLE LETTER. This letter is prepared to inform you about the issue.
Write a personal letter using these talking points:

Dear Jefferson County District Attorney's Office and Commissioners:

I am dismayed that a case of aggravated animal abuse may result in probation
for Crooked River Ranch resident Alan Whitacre. I understand Whitacre, 68,
accepted a plea deal for the 2007 poisoning of his neighbor Ken Schmidt's
dogs, Timber and Topaz. Whitacre allegedly gave the dogs meat laced with
razor blades and fishhooks and peanut butter saturated in drain cleaner.

With the subsequent death of Topaz, Whitacre faced one count of felony
aggravated animal abuse plus six misdemeanor counts of attempted aggravated
animal abuse. In a final photo before her euthanasia, Topaz's exposed ribs
revealed the severity of her suffering.

Yet the Jefferson County District Attorney's Office opted to bring back a
plea offer that may land Whitacre some probation, restitution for veterinary
bills, and limited local jail time. I respectfully urge you to forego plea
bargains and lenient punishment. Please advocate maximum penalties for all
counts of felony and misdemeanor animal abuse. Whitacre ought to undergo
anger management counseling and be barred from contact with animals.

Whitacre claimed that after complaints to Schmidt and Jefferson County
animal control, the dogs' continued barking caused him to "snap." Annoyed
citizens, however, have no legal right to poison, maim and kill dogs. "A
law enforcement officer or any other police, sheriff or dog control officer"
cites a keeper or impounds any dog who causes a "Public Nuisance" as
described under Jefferson County Ordinances (6.04.090 Public nuisance dogs).

Furthermore, violence against animals is a well-documented precursor to
violence against humans - particularly vulnerable victims such as children,
women or the elderly. Animal cruelty investigations often uncover domestic
violence or other signs of a troubled family, P. Arkow notes in "Breaking
the cycles of violence: A guide to multi-disciplinary interventions."

ASPCA's Randall Lockwood, Ph.D., notes that perpetrators who project blame
onto their animal victims, tend to be "repeat offenders, less likely to take
responsibility for their actions."

Deliberately poisoning two companion animals qualifies as abuse. Thank you
for holding animal abusers accountable for their crimes.


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