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Hi, fellow animal-lovers. Your intrepid Pet Laws Examiner has been scouring the web for news you might find interesting...and if you don't believe me then just check out the pic to the right. That's me, hard at work ;o)
Today's news highlights have a good news/bad news feel to them...unfortunately.
The good news is that an irresponsible breeder has been shut down and is no longer able to cause harm to potential pets through neglect. The bad news is the joke that makes up the first line of the second article - "A court in Monticello put Arkansas' newly enacted felony animal cruelty law into action."
If this is Arkansas' way of putting a law "into action" then I really hope they do a little more work on it because this is nothing but their new animal cruelty law failing miserably.
Lutz dog breeder shut down, charged with cruelty
LUTZ — Hillsborough County Animal Services seized 62 dogs and three cats from a breeder Wednesday charged with 80 counts of misdemeanor animal cruelty.
Officials say Maxine Reynolds, 72, had been warned in September to clean up the deplorable conditions of her home kennels.
But investigators arrived at her home Wednesday afternoon to find floors covered in water, urine and feces, with animals roaming the property in groups as well as confined in filthy cages, said Marti Ryan, a spokeswoman for animal services.
Investigators found Pomeranians, poodles and mixed-breed Pom-Poos inside the house at 5711 Carey Road. Some were nursing, others pregnant in a spare bedroom converted into a maternity ward, and a few of the animals were visibly ill, Ryan said.
"We received an anonymous tip in January and another in September," Ryan said.
Authorities warned the breeder to clean up the mess in July, she said.
Reynolds was charged with misdemeanors because Ryan said there had been an effort to clean-up the conditions after the warning, but it still didn't meet standards.
"She's a known breeder who advertises Pomeranians that can go anywhere from $500 to $700 a pop," Ryan said. "I think she has a lot of love in heart for these animals but she may have just been overwhelmed."
Reynolds runs her business out of an office on the side of her home, which was kept clean and tidy, investigators noted.
"But as soon as you step in the front yard you could smell the animal waste," Ryan said. "It was disgusting."
Most of the animals were willingly surrendered to animal services and will be examined to determine if they can be sent out for adoption with partner shelters such as the Humane Society of Tampa Bay.
"Some of the puppies are newborn, so they have to spend some time with mom," Ryan said.
Until that time, animal services and local shelters are accepting donations of comfort items that the agencies can't afford such toys and towels and necessities in short supply such as food.
Benjamin Briney found not guilty of felony animal cruelty for beating horse to death
A court in Monticello put Arkansas' newly enacted felony animal cruelty law into action. Drew County prosecutors charged Benjamin Briney with the beating death of a Shetland pony. It took jurors just 45 minutes Wednesday to find Briney not guilty.
That morning, the judge told potential jurors the case wasn't about whether the animal was killed, it was about if it was tortured.
"Drew County needs some publicity; I don't think this is the best publicity for it but it doesn't surprise me," says dismissed potential juror Gwen Robinson.
The state says Briney beat the horse to death with a baseball bat. Sheriff's reports show the attack happened last August, hours after Arkansas' felony animal cruelty law took effect.
"To me, it's going to be a case of right or wrong and I don't think that there's a deer hunter out there or duck hunter or any other hunter, that doesn't have a limit on the humane treatment of an animal," says Drew County Deputy Prosecutor Zachary Vaughn.
Chris Briney says his brother is being used as an example.
"It's wrong. My little brother, he's not at all right in the head," says Chris Briney.
According to witnesses, the pony was being housed in Briney's neighborhood when it was attacked two separate times, possibly by dogs. The horse's owner Peggy Trantham says she talked to Briney and asked that he "handle it." She says she meant for Briney to nurse the horse.
The state says Briney took that statement as a cue to beat the horse to death with a bat. Briney, however, testified he thought he was doing all he could to keep the horse from suffering because he didn't have access to a gun.
"He felt the horse was suffering, so he put it out of its misery. Like I said, that's the way we was raised," says Chris Briney.
Briney admitted hitting the horse three times in the head. The jury had to decide if using a bat to put down a horse constitutes torture and decided it was not.
Briney was released Wednesday after the not guilty verdict. He'd been in jail since August.
In Arkansas, a conviction of aggravated animal cruelty can lead to a prison sentence of up to six years and a fine of $10,000.
Meanwhile, Vaughn says he's received a lot of calls and letters about this case. In contrast, last week he argued a case involving an infant burned by her father. Vaughn says he didn't get any calls or letters.
Disclaimer: The Houston Pet Law Examiner provides general legal information only. Please consult an attorney for legal advice.