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November 12, 2009

Prosecutor Wins One for Wildlife

Praise for Commonwealth Attorney Robert Adams, Jr.

The Humane Society of the United States

  • Opossums are often victims of human cruelty. iStockphoto

At The HSUS, we appreciate every case of animal cruelty that is successfully prosecuted. But we are particularly impressed when prosecutors understand that all animals are worthy of protection under our state cruelty laws.

That's why we are grateful to Virginia Commonwealth Attorney Robert Adams, Jr., for a successful prosecution against a defendant who cruelly chased down and kicked to death an innocuous opossum.

The defendant, Evan Bryce Schuler, was on a civilian ride-along with a Danville police office. As they pulled over at a gas station, Schuler spotted an opossum walking along the top of a fence. Schuler got out of the car, chased the opossum, and kicked and stomped him to death. Officer M.A. Gibbs was also present at the station, and after witnessing the crime, she charged Schuler with animal cruelty.

Commonwealth Attorney Adams then successfully tried the case with the help of Officer Gibbs, who testified that she saw Schuler grab the link fence and start stomping on the opossum. 

On Oct. 19, Judge M. Lee Stilwell, Jr., found Schuler guilty of animal cruelty. Although the defendant is appealing, we are grateful for this successful prosecution for such an act of cruelty. 

Schuler reportedly claimed that bad experiences with opossums on a farm had prompted him to kill the animal. Commonwealth Attorney Adams didn't buy that excuse, noting that a dog bite doesn't give someone the right to shoot every dog that he sees. We agree wholeheartedly.

Our congratulations and thanks go out to Commonwealth Attorney Adams. 

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