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Archive for Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Man receives jail time for killing rabbit

December 4, 2007

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Man to serve 30 days for animal cruelty

A Lawrence man convicted of suffocating his roommate's pet rabbit will serve 30 days in jail. 23-year-old Austin Newport plead guilty last month to a misdemeanor animal cruelty charge for attempting to suffocate a rabbit several times in July 2006. Enlarge video

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Animal rights advocates praised a 30-day jail sentence handed down Monday to a Lawrence man for an animal cruelty conviction.

"I'm very happy because before (anyone convicted) got a slap on the wrist and nothing happened," said Midge Grinstead, executive director of the Lawrence Humane Society.

Austin Newport, 23, reported to the Douglas County Jail on Monday to begin his one-month sentence - a condition of his 12 months of probation.

Newport pleaded guilty Nov. 19 to a misdemeanor animal cruelty charge for attempting to suffocate a lop-eared pet rabbit, Melvin, with a plastic bag July 27, 2006. The animal later died at a veterinary clinic.

Douglas County District Court Judge Robert Fairchild sentenced Newport on Monday morning and included a $500 fine and $107 restitution to a former roommate for veterinary bills. Newport will serve one year in jail if he violates his probation.

When Newport was charged in 2006, it was the first Douglas County case under a stricter Kansas law that made intentional animal cruelty a felony.

"Austin found himself in a situation that spun out of control on him, and I don't think this is a bad person at all," defense attorney Jerry Wells said. "But he did something I'm thinking is a very foolish thing to do."

Although he pleaded to a misdemeanor, Douglas County District Attorney Charles Branson said prosecutors were satisfied he agreed to take felony-level punishment, which includes a psychological evaluation.

"When you get somebody who's doing something remarkably heinous to a defenseless animal, we want to know why," Branson said.

He said any treatment recommendations will be written into Newport's probation agreement.

Martin Mersereau, a supervisor with the cruelty investigations department for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, praised the mandatory psychological evaluation although he said the jail sentence "seems like a slap on the wrist."

"Hopefully the next time an animal abuser is brought before this judge, he or she will see more jail time. But that said, 30 days isn't going to be a picnic for this guy," Mersereau said.

Comments

domino 7 years ago

Seems a little wacked when I know of a young man, known drug abuser/drinker, wrecked his car 2 years ago around 2AM New Years Morning -young woman in the car with him was killed - neither he or the 2nd passenger were badly hurt. The first people (from a nearby farm) at the scene found a purse by the car and kept asking the 2 guys if anyone else was with them and neither one could remember - just thought it must be the 2 of them - they were so out of it. Found the girls body quite a ways away where it had been thrown from the car. Fast forward to the judge and his sentencing - gave the guy 10 days in jail, about $500 in fines and 1 year unsupervised probation. Guess it was a good thing it was just a person that was killed and not a rabbit - he might have got something serious!

Now don't go off on me about the poor rabbit - I am totally a pet person and don't want to see any animal abused - just making a statement as to how crazy our judicial system.

lunacydetector 7 years ago

people for the ethical treatment of animals?

fyrfighter 7 years ago

Only in Lawrence Kansas could this happen. You think maybe this and other stupid things going on in that town are the reason the population is going down? And yes, city leaders, the population is going down. With everything going on in this world that needs corrected, they are going to worry about killing animals. What a deal!

gphawk89 7 years ago

A woman who killed a highway worker in a work zone in St. Louis got probation today. Kill an animal, get jail time, kill a person, get probation. Go figure...

gphawk89 7 years ago

You know those glue traps that you use to catch mice? The ones that smell good and the mice step in to the glue, start struggling, and then get the glue all over themselves and can't get out? The container says that you can just drop the trap, mouse still attached, into the trash. Doesn't say anything about killing the mouse, just drop it in the trash and let it starve to death. Doesn't this seem even worse than what Mr. Neweport did? How can those be legal? Legal to sell them but potentially a felony to use them as instructed on the container? I dont get it.

Erin Parmelee 7 years ago

Hummmmm....I wonder if those of you in this thread okay with suffocating a pet rabbitt would also be okay with suffocating a pet dog??

UKept 7 years ago

"Austin found himself in a situation that spun out of control on him, and I don't think this is a bad person at all," defense attorney Jerry Wells said. "But he did something I'm thinking is a very foolish thing to do."

This is the Best. Defense. Ever. I mean how many times have we all been sitting there with a plastic bag, and a lop-eared rabbit, thinking...hmmmm....this could get crazy real fast.

There but for the grace of God go we.

akt2 7 years ago

Maybe if a few examples are made in Lawrence, these people that can't live by basic human rules, will either get their act together or leave. His family must be so proud.....

geekin_topekan 7 years ago

Ever see the cartoon with Elmer Fudd? I wonder if this kid had the evil in his eyes and raised his arms high and sang "Kill da wabbit!!'?.

pace 7 years ago

wasn't the rabbit his girlfriends or roommates? A little different killing a rabbit to hurt someone else. thirty days might give him a chance to cool off. Lucky he didn't kill the roommate.

gphawk89 7 years ago

Agnostick:

Post Dispatch article at http://www.stltoday.com/stltoday/news/stories.nsf/stlouiscitycounty/story/6120CEA9F6936721862573A70016A220?OpenDocument.

No, I'm not giving all the facts - don't feel like typing that much. Read the article if you want all the facts. Old lady killed a highway worker, plead guilty and got probation rather than going to trial and risking jail time.

black_butterfly 7 years ago

He should have been sentenced to a year of cleaning out cages at the humane society (supervised of course, LOL) instead of spending 30 days in jail where he can make new friends, watch Cable, get on the internet, lift weights and get three hots and a cot!!!!!!

CR 7 years ago

Must have had a wild hare up his ass.

kneejerkreaction 7 years ago

Anyone who thinks giving this kid jail time for killing a rabbit is equitable, meets the crime or is "justice" is just plain stupid, maybe as stupid as the kid who killed the rabbit.

The judge should have figured out some other punishment that actually fit the crime and not tie up our tax dollars keeping this kid in jail.

Jillster 7 years ago

Hunters try to kill quickly to spare the animal suffering. Sometimes it doesn't work out that way, but the intent is to kill quickly, and to use the animal for food.

Suffocating an animal is a slow, painful death, hence the conviction on charges of animal cruelty. It was cruel to intentionally kill an animal that way, even if his aim was to eat his former pet because he could no longer care for it (as he supposedly told an animal control officer).

So people...the heinous thing wasn't the fact that he killed a rabbit. It was how he tortured the rabbit that got him the jail time.

kneejerkreaction 7 years ago

Jillster, ever watch a deer run for miles with an arrow or a bullet lodged in a non vital organ? That's worse than suffocation, I'm sure, although I'm not an expert on either.

I'm not standing up for the rabbit-killing kid, but the punishment just doesn't seem to fit the crime. Maybe cleaning kennels for 1 year, helping out local pig farmers, donating a year's worth of his time to the humane society (although the employees there may have placed a bag over his head).

cap10_insano 7 years ago

enforcer, agnut, and all the other defenders of animal 'love'. You couch your argument that these people (Udai the rabbit killer) need help because the next victim may or may not be a human. Is this YOUR pre-emptive strategy?

gphawk89 7 years ago

Agnostick-

I read all of both of the articles and then stated "A woman who killed a highway worker in a work zone in St. Louis got probation today. Kill an animal, get jail time, kill a person, get probation." What part of that is not true?

I'm not saying the rabbit killer should not be punished. Anyone that intentionally tortures an animal deserves the level of punishment that Mr. Newport got - or worse. But that being the case, shouldn't the punishment for NEGLIGENTLY TAKING ANOTHER PERSON'S LIFE be much greater?

cap10_insano 7 years ago

I love the lack of logic in the loons arguments. On one thread they condemn GWB for attacking Iraq, they call it an "aggresive pre-emptive strategy" then on this thread they say we must punish agressive behavior directed against animals before it threatens humans. The punishment against rabbit boy is 'pre-emptive'.

Sounds like a page out of the Presidents playbook?

LOL

perkins 7 years ago

Agnostick continues to be the voice of reason on this topic.

jonas 7 years ago

"HodgePodge (Erin Parmelee) says:

Hummmmm:.I wonder if those of you in this thread okay with suffocating a pet rabbitt would also be okay with suffocating a pet dog??"

That's been my thought. I have a feeling that a lot of feelings would be changed very quickly if some yahoo came over and suffocated their family cat or dog.

cap10-insano: "On one thread they condemn GWB for attacking Iraq, they call it an "aggresive pre-emptive strategy" then on this thread they say we must punish agressive behavior directed against animals before it threatens humans."

Seriously, do you really think that you just made a clever connection there? Unless your suggesting that they are consistent in their dislike of overt aggression, which then I'm not sure why you would consider that the behavior of a loon. Maybe you should just go back and try again.

gr 7 years ago

What would you guys be saying if he sprayed chemicals on cockroaches and watched them quiver for hours before finally falling over on their backs and curling their little legs and their cute little feelers up in a slow, painful, and agonizing death?

Jillster 7 years ago

kneejerkreaction wrote: "Jillster, ever watch a deer run for miles with an arrow or a bullet lodged in a non vital organ? That's worse than suffocation, I'm sure, although I'm not an expert on either."

Yep, I'm aware that things like that happen. That's why I wrote that hunters try to kill quickly, and that sometimes it doesn't work out that way.

kneejerkreaction 7 years ago

DirtyLinen (Anonymous) says: "Maybe cleaning kennels for 1 year, helping out local pig farmers, donating a year's worth of his time to the humane society (although the employees there may have placed a bag over his head)." Maybe a well-intentioned solution, if not very well thought out.


huh? You've never heard of a criminal peforming civil duty....around civilians....against whom he had previously commited crimes??

And we would be talking about supervised duty. No one is going to give him a roll of plastic baggies and say, "stay overnight and clean those cages".

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