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June 29, 2009

Pig-Cruelty Case is Groundbreaking

Congratulations to prosecutor Kevin O'Laughlin

The Humane Society of the United States

  • Pigs, like all animals, suffer terribly when they are abused or neglected. iStockphoto

by Sherry Ramsey

In a job where cases pile up until it is often tempting to dismiss or downgrade charges, it takes dedication to ensure justice. That's why we are especially grateful to prosecutors who pursue justice when it comes to animal cruelty.

High praise is in order for Assistant Winona County, Minnesota, Attorney O'Laughlin, who this year successfully prosecuted two cases of animal cruelty.

Mistreated Potbellied Pig

In State v. Beesecker, the defendant was charged with mistreating an animal for allowing a collar to become embedded in a pig's neck, requiring surgery. The collar was embedded approximately one-half inch, with much of the neck infected.

In prevailing on a motion to dismiss, O'Laughlin argued that Alaina's case constituted neglect due to the time it would take for the collar to become embedded. The judge ruled that the embedded collar caused Alaina "unnecessary and unjustifiable pain and suffering" and was sufficient evidence. Accordingly, the motion to dismiss was denied.

The defendant ultimately pleaded guilty to one count of mistreatment.

Cat Shot with An Arrow

In State v. Corcoran, the defendant was charged with one misdemeanor and one felony count of mistreating animals for shooting a cat with an arrow. The cat, named Sauki, was the pet of the defendant's neighbor and had to be euthanized.

Although the defense challenged the sufficiency of the evidence, after a hearing in June where the defense stipulated to the state's evidence, the court found the defendant guilty of felony mistreatment. Sentencing is pending.

UPDATE

Aug. 14, 2009: The cat shooter was placed on felony probation for up to 4 years, ordered to complete a psychological evaluation, required to pay restitution to the cat's owners, prohibited from owning any pets or possessing any dangerous weapons, and sentenced to 21 days in jail.


Appreciation

We thank Assistant County Attorney O'Laughlin, who reached out to The HSUS for advice and input, and was dedicated to seeking justice.

Other prosecutors and attorneys general are welcome to take advantage of the resources we offer, both online and off.

Sherry Ramsey is manager of animal cruelty prosecutions at The Humane Society of the United States.

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