Robert McGowan was sentenced for the brutal beating of his dog Harley. He got a 300 day sentence, 65 days short of the maximum sentence of one year. He will also have pay back 160 hours of community service and be on probation for 10 years and pay restitution for Harley’s care, $5000 to $10,000. Anchorage District Attorney's Office called it a "heavy sentence." I hope alcohol treatment was ordered for him. Was this done for any of his other cases, especially
the domestic violence case? Did he receive any significant mental health services for his mental illness? I know myself how poor the services are. I am not making excuses for McGowan I am trying to point out that by not taking care of mental illness and substance abuse Alaska creates a lot of problems. I try to look at the whole picture in every case. The systems of control in our society should be designed to help prevent violence rather than just wait around for it to happen and then react. There were signs Harley was in great danger. I am 100% for protecting animals from abuse and alcohol is often in play whenever an animal or human is abused. Removing the alcohol decreases violence. An animal should not be left with a violent mentally ill alcoholic any more than a child should.

 It is well known animal abusers become domestic abusers at a high rate and many would argue that violence against an animal is a type of domestic violence. The largest single survey to date of serial killers showed 36 percent admitted to committing animal cruelty as children, 46 percent admitted to committing animal cruelty as adolescents, and 36 percent admitted to committing animal cruelty as adults. Did you know a high number of women do not leave their abusers because they fear what would happen to their pets and are often drawn back to the relationship due to threats against the pet? Most domestic violence shelters do not allow pets. Some states are passing legislature that animals must be allowed at the shelters.

From the ADN: "First, let me dispel any argument that this is just a dog," (ADA) Wilson told the judge. "It's just a dog, just as it's just a sunrise, just as it's just a promise, just as it's just a friend." Even though there is a correlation between violence against animals and other violent crimes they have no way to deny adoption based on legal history in Alaska. Jackie Conn who is the police detective in Anchorage who handles the animal abuse cases told the ADN the law should be changed so a single serious animal abuse instance is a felony charge which was how the bill was originally written, but was watered down by combining bills to get it passed in time. They have to change this law to help change attitudes.

When I was wrongfully arrested in Homer, the man who had actually committed the crime was my landlord. I was afraid of him and was trying to find a place to move to. I am on social security, and had a pet, so my options were limited and in the summer in Homer housing is at a premium. I knew of crimes he had committed and most relevant to this story he had a cat he did not feed, I fed it. I suspected he was cruel to it, but had no proof and actually had a plan to take it with me when I left to protect it from him. The state troopers had a lot of this information already. I had gone to the women’s shelter in Homer to tell them I was afraid and needed a place to go and had spoken to them several times on the phone. They said I did not qualify as I had a place to live, even though it was dangerous, I did not have any heat, hot water, or a place to cook. They also would not allow me to have my cat with me. I actually considered camping outside I was so desperate. This was a place several miles from town and I had no car. Even if the state troopers would come it could take them quite a while from Anchor Point to get above Homer. I could call a taxi and several of the drivers knew of my situation, but sometimes they could not come right away. The lodge was too far out of Homer for the police there to respond. So, if my life was in danger up there I was pretty much on my own.
When I was taken to the Homer court I was in front of Judge Margaret Murphy. I told her who had actually done the crime and that he would be cruel to my cat and starve her as well. She would not allow me a couple hours to go take care of my cat, Misbehavin or my things. Her only concern was that I told her not allowing me to go take care of my cat and possessions was "bullshit" because I was completely innocent.

 This is part of the letter I wrote to Sarah Palin:

 My poor baby was at the shelter all right. People later told me when they went to the shelter to visit animals she looked like the saddest cat in the world. When I went in, I was already crying and I told them I thought my cat was there. They pointed right to her when I told them the story. They said Robin told them I would be in jail in Nome for six months. They also said he did not bring her in one of her two carriers. Yes, the bastard even stole my cat’s things. She was very thin and very ill. When I went to the cage she looked so anguished. I spoke and she lifted her head. Then I touched the door and she got up and come over. When I took her out and held her they said they were surprised as she would not even allow them to clean her cage. He must have been very cruel and abusive to her for her to become like that in such a short time period. I was homeless, but visited her every day. I brought her special food, brushed her and let her walk around. I was sure with some love and lots of food she would recover. Because of her poor health and being in confined quarters with other cats she caught a virus. She was very, very ill. We put her on antibiotics as she got a bacterial infection. She looked better for a while. Sherry at the animal shelter tried to help her.

I did not mention to governor Quitter that they let me take her to a separate room at the animal shelter where all I could do was hold her and cry for about two hours. Both of us had been through a lot of trauma and my worst fears had happened. At least I got out before she died and she knew I had not just abandoned her.

In the end my cat was very ill and I incurred a lot of veterinarian bills. After three months of desperately trying and hoping to save her life I had to have her put to sleep. The veterinarian said she died of liver disease secondary to being starved. I was devastated. The state of Alaska killed my cat. This cat had been with me for more than ten years. She went everywhere with me. I had fixed her cat carrier so she had a little window she could use to look out when we traveled. Hell, we stayed over night in airports together. She never knew anything but kindness and then she was tortured by an evil man. She was with me when I was very ill. She was my therapeutic animal. I called the governor’s office from jail and told the staffer she needed help and about the rest of it. I also asked them to see that a public defender come and talk to me.

 I was totally ignored by everyone. Why? Were they told to ignore me? I can not imagine that out of all the people I begged to help not one of them had enough humanity to make a three minute call to the animal shelter in Homer. I could not get calls to Homer from the prisons. A lot of these people are the trusted servants we have elected. I was innocent of that charge. Even if I had been a serial killer they should make sure the pets of people who are incarcerated are taken to a safe place or have someone to look after them. The animals are totally helpless in these situations, for so many to have ignored my begging and pleading for help has caused me to actually have the emotion of hate for the first time in my life. What happened to my cat is just part of the story. As far as I am concerned they are all sociopaths of the lowest order. Sarah Palin's staff told me the department of law told them not to talk to me or help me. Palin just never really cared about the people of Alaska and everyone knows how she feels about animals.

 Sherry Bess, the animal control officer and director of the animal shelter in Homer told me in 2007 that the animal cruelty laws were so bad an animal had to be nearly dead before law enforcement would think about charging the perpetrator with a crime. In 2008 SB 273, An Act Relating to Cruelty to Animals and Exhibition of Fighting Animals was passed . This bill, introduced by Senator Bill Wielechowski, creating a felony animal cruelty provision for knowingly inflicting severe and prolonged physical pain or suffering on an animal, or killing or injuring an animal by use of decompression chamber or poison. The bill also creates a Class A misdemeanor animal cruelty provision for failing to care for an animal (criminal negligence). Finally, the bill makes it a Class A misdemeanor to knowingly kill or injure an animal with the intent to intimidate, threaten, or terrorize another person. This is a huge improvement, but this last part should be a felony. It is too close to the step of killing a person. I sent of copy of the letter to Palin to Senator Wielechowski.  I do not have any idea if it had an impact on this bill as not one legislator has ever bothered to contact me.

 From the ADN story:
Before the February attack, animal control had gotten numerous reports about McGowan, Wilson said. He was accused of hitting Harley with a 2-by-4. Beating him with a hose. Forcing water into his face. Chasing him with a weed whacker. But officers couldn't make a case. Neighbors were too afraid to testify, and dogs don't get visible bruises, the prosecutor said.
I wonder how hard they tried with those numerous reports to help Harley. Most states at least allow for removal of the animal even if the abuser is not charged with a crime. The state troopers refused to charge Robin Hume, AKA Ray Hume, AKA Chris Max, AKA Christopher Maximillion, AKA Randy Cordell or his brother Steve Hume who told the state troopers a lie to get me arrested with any crimes that they committed against Misbehavin or myself. They played games with me and even went so far as to destroy evidence which I had told them I needed. What do I expect in a state that practiced aerial hunting of wolves and may still gassing pups in the dens. This happened about two years ago and I am terrified to have a cat because I will continue to speak out about my whole story and there is no telling what could happen.

Quinlisk, J.A. (1999). Animal Abuse and Family Violence. In, Ascione, F.R. & Arkow, P., eds.: Child Abuse, Domestic Violence, and Animal Abuse: Linking the Circles of Compassion for Prevention and Intervention. West Lafayette, IN: Purdue University Press, pp. 168-175.

Arkow, P. (1994). Animal abuse and domestic violence: Intake statistics tell a sad story. Latham Letter 15(2), 17.

Ascione, F. R. (1997). The nature and status of research on the link between animal cruelty and child abuse. Protecting Children, 13(2), 12-14.

Loar, L. (1999). “I'll only help you if you have two legs,” or, Why human services professionals should pay attention to cases involving cruelty to animals. In, Ascione, F.R. & Arkow, P., eds.: Child Abuse, Domestic Violence, and Animal Abuse: Linking the Circles of Compassion for Prevention and Intervention. West Lafayette, IN: Purdue University Press, 1999, pp. 120-136.


1 comment:

SoCalWolfGal said...

God bless you. I have had my cat for 10 years and I cannot imagine having to know each day that he was being so mistreated and abused. I live in San Diego and only know of one shelter where animals from abused homes can go when their humans go to a shelter, but thankfully I think that is changing.

I do not know when legislators are going to get it through their heads that animal abuse (even if they don't care about animals) only leads to child abuse.

Hopefully your new Governor will have more of a heart than Ms. Palin did. I have seen many comments on numerous blogs that it was very obvious that she was indeed a cold hearted person, and that it was just downright strange that she seemed to have no regard for any animal life at all, unless, of course they were caught in the cross hairs of her rifle.

I hope at some point you can have another cat in your life.