In most states, killing an animal through a cruel or painful means constitutes a felony crime. Why then are so many people getting away with acts of cruelty towards domestic animals that are entrusted to their care? Why aren’t harsher punishments being meted out? Punishments that actually fit the crime?
On December 22nd, 2015 sixty dogs were found dead in a wooded area in Arkansas. The dogs had been poisoned then shot. The perpetrator has not yet been apprehended. On December 23rd, 2015 an equally disturbing story made the news. An Akron, Ohio woman was only sentenced to a year’s probation and a $620 fine for starving her dog “Bones” to death. Kathleen McLaughlin, 69 years of age claimed that her failing health and loss of income caused her to starve the dog to death. A lame excuse considering a bag of dog food is very inexpensive and local humane shelters often have programs to assist families in the area who are unable to feed their pets. She never even attempted to get help for her poor dog. She stood by and ignored his cries for food and watched him die a slow, agonizing death. Yet in court photos, Kathleen McLaughlin does not look like she has ever missed a meal, even on lost income. So why couldn’t she feed her dog?
Now, a case in Winchendon, Massachusetts involving a Beagle puppy who was murdered in April of 2014 is still unsolved and no one has yet to pay the price for taking the dog’s life.
It all started on April 14th, 2014 when Allyson Clark, the mother of 4 children was in the house cooking dinner. She claims that she asked her 10 year old daughter Katelyn to go check on their 3 ½ month old puppy named Snoopy who had been chained on the side of the house for approximately 25 minutes.
Allyson was concerned because the puppy was quiet. When Katelyn went outside she found the puppy hanging from a tree about four feet off the ground, tied by a length of rope used to hang a bird feeder. Katelyn called for her older sister Brittany Clark, 20 years of age to come outside and that’s when Allyson heard Brittany scream. She ran outside and witnessed the puppy hanging from the tree. She described the rope to hang Snoopy was in so many knots it took two of them to untie him and get him down.
There was no way possible for the puppy to have hanged himself. His dog house and 6-7 foot tether were a good 15 feet away from the tree. Some person or persons had to have picked the dog up and physically carried him to the tree and then taken excessive time to tie multiple knots around the dog’s neck and run away without being seen or heard by anyone in the house or outside.
Also, according to Allyson Clark, the dog was quiet, he didn’t bark so it would lead someone to believe he knew his attacker. But how could he? The Clarks only had Snoopy for 6 weeks when he was given as a gift to Brittany Clark. Prior to that he was with the breeder whom they got him from. And, it was his first time outside. The dog knew no one outside the family and no one outside the family knew a puppy lived there.
The Winchendon Police claim there is not enough evidence to charge anyone with the murder. So yet again, another dog is tortured to death and no one is held accountable. However, there are some oddities surrounding this case. The family found the dog hanging at 3:30 pm but the police did not arrive until 7pm. They also buried the puppy first before notifying the police. Snoopy’s body was unearthed when the police arrived on the scene.
Peter Clark, the father and Joseph Clark, the oldest son were the only ones not present when Snoopy was killed. Peter was working and Joseph advised he was out for a run when he received the call from his mother who was crying. Also, according to the Winchendon Police, the family members appeared evasive during questioning. And, shortly after Snoopy was killed, the Clark family took their other dog, a Golden Retriever puppy and dumped him at an animal shelter.
So the question still remains today; who killed Snoopy? According to the necropsy that was performed on the deceased dog, he was most likely dead before he was hanged. The report shows he was hit on the head with a blunt object. If this were the case how come no one heard the dog yelping in pain? How could this be happening outside and no one hear anything? Also, the puppy was in full view of the street. No one saw or heard an animal being beaten?
Whoever did this is a deeply disturbed individual. If this person would inflict this type of pain and suffering on an animal, what’s to stop them from inflicting this same pain and suffering on a human?
“If you have men who will exclude any of God’s creatures from the shelter of compassion & pity, you will have men who will deal likewise with their fellow men” – St. Francis of Assisi.
Someone knows exactly what happened to Snoopy but they don’t want to tell because they are covering for someone. And that is why so many people get away with murder and acts of intentional cruelty.
Until there are harsher sentences for animal abusers and killers, and wrong doers are held accountable for their actions, the justice system will remain a complete mockery. If you have any information on who killed Snoopy, please contact the Winchendon Police Department at 978-297-1212.
We cannot bring Snoopy back but in charging and punishing his killer we can set a strong precedent that acts such as these will not be tolerated in a civilized society.
Until then, all we can do for Snoopy, Bones, and the sixty dogs who were poisoned and shot is to apologize for the human race.