Thursday, March 22, 2007

Davy, The Conclusion

A heartfelt thank you goes out to each and every one of you who have read about Davy the last several days and left your comments. It is as hard for me to relive it and tell it as it is for you to read about. Although you may believe I did a lot of work, there are still so many instances of animal abuse in this country and in Texas. No, I don't like to hear about them, and I was pretty much done with the cat mutilation research and efforts by October 2000.

Also, I want to make it clear that the 2 suspects in these cat mutilations were not from under-priviledged, or even single parent homes. Both of them lived in more expensive homes than mine, and one lived in an exclusive part of our city where estates dot the land. And not for one minute did anyone in the courtroom buy into their "wiccan", vegetarian tales. The case was dismissed on a technicality, as are so many animal abuse cases nationwide.

In February 2001 an aide from Texas State Rep. Manny Najera's office, D-El Paso, contacted me and requested my help with collecting petitions for HB 653. That bill would change the then current animal cruelty statute from a Class A Misdemeanor to a Felony. He also asked for copies of all my information that I had collected regarding the cat mutilations in my city and neighboring North Texas areas.

Meet Loco, a puppy from East Dallas who was stolen from his front porch in February 2001 and found his way back 4 days later with his eyes gouged out. He became the "poster child" for HB 653 and SB 1724 in the 2001 Texas Legislative Session. His owner contacted me requesting help with SB 1724. He was working with Texas State Sen. David Cain, D-Dallas, on that bill which would also increase the penalty for animal cruelty to a felony.

Loco campaigned heavily for these bills. He travelled to schools to teach children about animal cruelty, he visited the capital many times, he was interviewed extensively during the legislative session appearing in the paper and on TV.

I placed petitions at numerous vet offices throughout my city and a few neighboring areas, and collected over 800 signatures that I sent into Rep. Najera's office. Statewide I believe about 34,000 signatures were collected for these bills.

Working with Rep. Najera's aide, I then found out how I could testify to the Texas House of Representatives Committee on Criminal Jurisprudence which would be the first committee to hear the bill and its supporting testimony.

I acquired the crime scene photos of Davy and blew those up to 8 x 10 for my testimony and prepared a speech.

I knew nothing about the day-to-day workings of a legislative session. The bills kept getting delayed. I was sent action alerts weekly to phone or write letters to members of the house or senate to support these bills.

Finally, we were told the week had arrived to hear the bill and it could be any day. Then the next week arrived. It was pretty much set in stone that the bill would be heard on Tuesday, April 24. So I drove down to Austin to arrive before 2:00pm for the committee. Loco and his owner were there to testify as well. The daily session adjourned around 5:00pm and the Committee began its hearings. I think I testified around 8:00pm.

Sen. Cain's aides then asked if I would testify the next day at the Texas Senate Committee on Criminal Justice. I hadn't brought anything with me other than my paperwork, but I found a motel and stayed the night and began the process again the next day. The Senate Committee was more heavily attended and more reporters were there. My testimony was taped and parts of it were broadcast statewide. I was asked more questions at this testimony.

SB 1724 died in committee, but HB 653 was amended and passed to the floor for a vote. Thus began another series of alerts to call and write representatives and senators. The floor finally passed HB 653 and it was officially signed into law on September 1, 2001 by Gov. Rick Perry and Loco, who put his paw stamp on it.

Last night I was browsing the Texas Humane Legislative Network (THLN) website to see what they are supporting this legislative session. I was appalled and LITERALLY sickened at the animal cruelty cases that have gone unpunished because of loopholes in Loco's Law. A stray is not considered "owned" therefore it can be tortured. Charges can't be filed when someone injures or seriously injures their own pet under the current law. It is not against the law to torture a wild animal that is not previously "captured", so one can torture it as long as they didn't capture it by some means. It is not against the law to kill one's own animal by any means including torture. It is difficult under the current law to define when abuse becomes "torture" because the law does not specifically define what constitutes torture. Livestock are exempt from the torture statute.

Laws aren't perfectly written the first time out. If you live in Texas, please go to the THLN website and print out the petition and start collecting signatures. Please support THLN if you live here.

If you live in a southern state or a ranching state, know that your laws are likely as open as Texas' laws. The good ol' boy network has difficulty in assigning animal status to livestock and wildlife.

You can help nationwide by supporting the Animal Legal Defense Fund. The THLN website also has a list of resource links that all support anti-cruelty laws. Check it out and find out how you can help.

Please help those who can't speak for themselves. It's hard to know about these crimes, but if you don't act, who will?

I think I was meant to write about our "cage" and tell all of you about Davy so that I would find that I am once again called upon to help with the 2007 Texas Legislative Session.

Luf, Maw


Mo and The Purries said...

Oh, Maw -- that picture of Loco broke my heart again. How wonderful that he was able to help pass the bill.
You're right, there seems to be too many loopholes in the original, but I hope good people like you have the strength to help pass a better law.
My love and support goes out to you and your family.

Anonymous said...

My eyes got all leaky as soon as I saw that picture. I'm going to look into what I can to as well. Bless you.
Karen C.

Daisy said...

Oh, look at sweet Loco. I am very proud of him too for helping to make a difference. You might not think so, but you are very brave to have done all that you did to help get the law passed. I am also glad that you posted this story. Even though it was hard to read, it is an important message. Thank you for all of your efforts!

The M's said...

We do hope that those loopholes will get fixed soon..It is horrible what people are allowed to do to animals.

Unknown said...

Maw @ 40 Paws,

We haven't commented on Davy's story until now. We wanted to read it all.
We know Davy is smiling at you from the Bridge for what you have done. We are sad that his life was cut short by such sick kids.
our mom remembers reading something (maybe from the Humane Society) about Loco. That made her sad. It's unfortunate though that it took something like that to open up people's eyes to the abuse and mutilation of animals.

We are all indoor kitties because not only is it healthier for us, but unfortunatley, there are sick people everywhere that would not blink to hurt us.

Thank you again for telling Davy's story. We thinks God has a special place for people like you!!

Conner Cloud
and the Mom that Lives Here (jennifer)


Yesterday I went and searched out Loco's Law and read about the little fella that you pictured today. It broke my heart to know someone hurt such a beautiful creature. Where do these people come from and how do they become such vile monsters? I know that is a question for sociologists and psychologists to answer.

But, all of the effort that you put forth will never go unnoticed. Not especially by the one who was harmed by some evil person. Thank you for everything you have done and even though the law isn't perfect it's still better than no law. What you did helped to bring that into fruition.

Davey thanks you.
Loco thanks you.
We all thank you.

The Meezers or Billy said...

oh my heart is just shattered looking at that picture of Loco. I am proud of his owners for helping pass the law too. You are such a brave and wonderful woman. I would just be a mess if I had to testify about anything like that. I don't even think I could talk. Thank God that there are strong people out there like you. Loopholes or not, you did get the first phase passed and hopefully the loopholes will be closed.
Meezer Mom Mary

Angel Junior, Orion and Sammy said...

I am apalled at what humans can do...and when it is children/teenagers and the parents refuse to do something aobut it, it makes me even angrier.

We have a dog here in Salt Lake who went to our legislature to help pass a bill for stronger punishment for abuse of animals. His owners husband (or boyfriend, I'm not sure which) was angry at her, so he put the dog in the oven. The dog was in there for 5 minutes, but his chest was burned and the skin between his toes melted together. He was lucky, kind of.

However, our illustrious legislature didn't get around to the bill before they were finished with their "season" that ended in early March. To me this is a no-brainer law, and if you can't get to all of the proposed laws, then work past the march deadline....that is what you are (over)paid for.

Good for you for going to bat for these animals. There will be a special place for you in heaven and Davy will be so glad to see you!

Zippy, Sadie, Speedy and M'Gee said...

Dis is da kinda stuff mom works wif her brother, the syko, um, I mean psychologist on. To many times dem kids dat do bad things haf parents who's branes are clouded. We haf gotted one passed for Milwaukee county dat defines it as "living creature" defined as "one that is breathing" so dat yoo can't hurt anyfing dat iz breefing. Dis is why if'n yoo gots skunks or skwerrels in yoor howse yoo gotsa call da wildlife rescoo and haf dem trap and relocate da aminal, yoo can't just shoot or beat or poison it. Da law has an exeption fur "known carriers of disease such as rats, roaches, muskeetos" stuff like dat. Insects were exkluded and so were fishies and lizards and invertibrates. It is a felony to "harm, mutilate, beat, burn or cause undue injury or pain to any living animal either for amusement or any other reason than agriculture/food/medical or businesses related to these." You may not "poison, drown, suffocate or in any other than a humane way dispatch any living animals either in your possession or the possession of another." "It is unlawful and an added Class C felony to remove from the county any living animal for any disposal or to use in such a manner as is illegal in Milwaukee County." This is just parts of it that mom's brother helped them to write so dat it is not only a felony in Milwaukee to hurt or kill pets it is also a felony to remove the animal from the County just so you can hurt it. It also has da part dat sez if it's a kid under, um, I think it's 12 dat dey hasta see a shrink for help. Someone thot it wood be funny to test the law by shooting his doggy in da hed, he sed it wuzn't inhumane to "dispatch" hiz dog that way, 'cept it's also illegal to fire a gun in da city and da big guy vets on da State Veterinary Licensing Board sed dat it wuz inhumane, cuz he missed and maked da doggy hurt and hadda shoot again - so he gots charged wif a felony for hurting hiz doggy and one fur shooting da gun! Sorry dis is so long, but we just wanted to show yoo dat not every state, county or city/town will let loopholes thru. Da county guyz akshooaly asked fur help from da profeshunal community to make sher dat der wuzzent a way fur beans to get away wif hurting aminals.

HRH Yao-Lin said...

That picture is the most heart wrenching thing I have ever seen.

Why? Thats all I can think .

Victor Tabbycat said...

It's a start. You helped put the wheels in motion an you can help push it further along. I guess that's why we haf lawyers; to identify the loopholes the first time through (Mom's mom an Dad's dad are bof lawyers). But it's so hard to imagine all the aminals that suffer to reveal the loopholes! You know, many many aminal angels appreciate what yur doin an every small step forward helps. We don't know the laws in Dane County, WI.

Oh, anofur fing. After Mom readed Part 2, she was watchin TV late an sawed an ad wif a famous singer an many pictors of abused aminals an it was askin fur money for ASPCA. The ad maded Mom cry lots.

Anonymous said...

The Blonde Girl (Kelly - 12) came to me a couple months ago in tears. She had been on the internet and had read some things about animal cruelty and had seen disturbing videos. She asked what she could do about it, and wanted to get involved. In her own words, she wrote an excellent letter and sent it to the ASPCA. They responded with a letter and large packet of material and even some little gift items. She was thrilled and took it in to show her teachers and her class. I promised her that we would get involved to fight against animal cruelty and abuse. I'm going to find out what she and I can do, and do it.
Karen C.

Memories of Eric and Flynn said...

What you have done is wonderful, I just hope that now all the loopholes can be closed. The picture of the puppy was terrible,the people who do these things are evil monsters.If I see headlines about animal cruelty,I cannot read aboutit. Maybe I should so I know just what is going on,but I find it too upsetting. I read Davey's story right through and tried to tell my husband but couldn't,but told him to read it too, and he was just as upset as I was. You are so brave,not just in what you are doing, but to have to re-live those terrible events over again. You are an amazing person.
Eric and Flynn go outdoors, but only with me in tow.They wander along thinking they are on their own, but they are always in my sight. I have never heard of any cruelty cases in my area, but after reading this, I will never take their safety for granted. Thank you for your sad story, I truly admire you.

MaoMao said...

How heartbreaking what was done to precious little Loco, but I'm so glad that he, his momma, you, and your love and memories of dear Davy helped get the law passed. Laws are works in progress, however, and loopholes must be closed and laws strengthened, and I'm glad you reminded us of that.

Thank you for sharing your story, and thank you for your call to all of us to work tirelessly and vigilantly to stop animal cruelty. You are an inspiration to us all.


Chairman Mao's Momma

Shaggy and Scout said...

God Bless You.

Lux said...

Thank you for sharing all this with us. It's something most people don't think about that much - except I did shudder when I read that news story about the girl receiving her dog's head in a gift box.

You're doing great work for the precious little animals, the innocents among us.

Elaine & Lux

momsbusy said...

i agree with everyone else. animal lovers/owners/ownees must work towards getting those in public office to pass laws and close the loopholes that let sick people get away with hurting/killing animals. not only for the animals sakes but also for our childrens sake.

you are a extra-ordinary woman to go thru davy's story so many times to bring about change. we will keep you and everyone involved in the fight against animal cruelty in our prayers.

Lone Star Purrs said...

Hi y'all! We hasn't been able to read all of the previous story.....but Grammi did. We wuz wantin' to ask if y'all culd keep an eye owt fur Momma, Daddy, & Uncle Dan. They's gonna be headin' down that way tomorrow to spend a week wif all of the fambly down there. Fanks!!! Come by ofur the weekend..we's cellybratin' owr 1st blogiversary!
~Meeko, Kiara, & Emmy

BTW...Momma is short wif long dark hair (and fake claws), Daddy is pretty tall wif dark hair, & Uncle Dan is tallish wif brown hair.

Sunrunner said...

Keep up the good work! If you have any resources in St. Paul, Minnesota, a girl named Crystal Brown could use some help and encouragement. She is another victim of animal mutilation, which is also being investigated as a menacing. You can find her story at www.crimelibrary.com. I feel so bad for everyone who is a victim of this type of crime.

In a way I'm surprised that Texas doesn't crack down on this more than they do. So much of their money is made by cattle in some form or another! Colorado has actually become pretty strict in recent years in regards to crimes against animals (I work in a county jail). Some of the city municipalities aren't as strict, but since the "puppy burner" and Columbine everything is being tightened up to keep kids/people with severe issues that could put public safety at risk from falling through the cracks. Good luck, with the Texas legislature, and I'll be trying to spread the word of what you all are trying to accomplish!

Karen Jo said...

The picture of little Loco really tore at my heart. I am so glad that you managed to get a law passed, even if it is full of loopholes. I find it hard to believe that the law doesn't consider it animal cruelty if you do it to livestock, wild animals or your own pet. But then, come to think of it, I live in New Mexico where cattle mutilations are blamed on aliens from outer space. I wish you the best of luck on closing the loopholes until all animals are covered by the law. I'll check your links to see what I can do to help.

Unknown said...

I can't say anything...at all...I am mute at this load of BOLOGNA--LOOPHOLES??? Lawmakers and judges aught to be disgusted with themselves...I'm going to look into FLorida law to see what I can find...and commit to help when I educate myself on this matter!

You are an inspiration...And I believe you when you say this is a calling...


Cats~Goats~Quotes said...

Davy's story and Loco's story breaks my heart.
You've done an amazing job with this. Hopefully Texas will do as Georgia has done and make better laws concerning animal cruelty.
There is no reason to let this happen to innocent animals. *tears*
As much as it hurt to read this, I appreciate you posting it.

Gemini said...

We're sad that you are still having to fight to fight this fight, but it's heartening to know that there are people who will fight.

Anonymous said...

I have read over this all over again and it makes my heart ache. I find it shocking that we have such sick people out there that do such horrible things.
Poor Loco. This is such a tragedy.
We just need to really watch our pets like our little children, that is a fact! and my gosh I would hope that if anyone ever witnessed this sort of cruelty they must report it... especially kids that see this behavior.
Just sick!

I know this was exhausting for you to retell.


Rosie & Cheeto said...

We're so happy you shared your and Davy's story. We can only imagine how hard it is for you to tell us what happened so candidly.

Bless your heart for being proactive and standing up for those animals that can't stand up for themselves.

Jan Price said...

We are so sorry you had to write this 4-part story. What a terrible ordeal! Thank you for caring enough to fight for all animals.

Jan has posted a link to parts 2, 3 and conclusion on "Justice for Anne" on mercyandpercy.blogspot.com/

Jan's Funny Farm