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No Plea Deal For Poisoning Dogs

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

Jefferson County Administrative Offices
66 SE D Street / Madras, Oregon 97741
ph: 541-475-2449; Fax: 541-475-4454.
Mike Ahern, Commissioner:
John Hatfield, Commissioner:
Bill Bellamy, Chair:

Crooked River Ranch Administration Office
ph: 541-548-8939 or 800-637-5435; fax: 541-548-0278


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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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UPDATE: Dog Poisoner Gets 30 Jail Days + Counseling

DATE: 10/9/08
SOURCE: CRR man sentenced to 30 days for dog poisonings

One dog died, other survived Alan Whitacre, 68, is preparing to spend 30 days in jail and get mental health counseling after admitting to poisoning his neighbor's dogs for months. Whitacre says his neighbor Ken Schmidt's dogs, Timber and Topaz, barked constantly for a year. "He admitted he had lost his mind because the dogs were barking day after day, and he felt animal control and the sheriff's office had failed him," Jefferson County Deputy District Attorney Steve Leriche told Circuit Judge Daniel Ahern. "So he said he began trying to kill the dogs." Whitacre pleaded guilty to putting rat poison in meat and throwing it over the fence to the dogs...

Investigative and background research assistance:
Terri Kelley, Kinship Circle, Disaster Aid & Animal Cruelty Investigative Research
Plea deal settles fatal CRR animal abuse case
Jefferson County Code, Title 6 ANIMALS
CRR dog owners hope to catch suspect on tape
Dogs burned with lye, poisoned / Crooked River Ranch, OR (US)
DISCLAIMER: Information in these materials is verified with original source. Kinship Circle does not assume responsibility for accuracy of information or for consequences of its use. Nothing on this website intends to encourage illegal action in whatever country you are reading it in. Kinship Circle does not engage in, nor support, any form of harassment or unlawful action. Nothing in this alert serves to promote such conduct.

EMAIL ADDRESSES: Kinship Circle cannot guarantee validity of email addresses. During a campaign, recipients may change or disable their email addresses. Email addresses obtained from government or other official websites may be outdated or incorrect.
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