At approximately 8:30am I make contact with CCSPCA Small Animal Hospital staff and am advised of Brutus’s condition. I am advised that he is infested with whipworms, hookworms, and roundworms. In addition he is diagnosed with a blood virus that is most likely born from a tick. I request that a report be drafted for my files.
At approximately 9:00am I contact John at the Chaffee Zoo. We walk to the office where I speak with an assistant executive director. During our conversation, John’s story is verified. The witness is concerned for (or perhaps protective of) John and questions me regarding my authority to simply take an animal from someone’s back yard. I explain the process of seizing animals pursuant to California Penal Code 597.1. I also educate both parties on the responsibility of an individual to provide proper care for animals that are under their custodianship. In this circumstance, Brutus is, in fact, a stray dog and not owned by a known party. I advise them that If I were able to locate the known owner of Brutus, it is very likely that I would be filing criminal charges against them. I advise both parties that, based on the circumstances, I would not be filing criminal charges on John. I advised them that Brutus would have to remain at the CCSPCA for his stray period and that we would be providing him with veterinary care during that time
John expresses his desire to keep Brutus, stating that the dog is very friendly and caring, and that he has fallen in love with him. He becomes emotional and appears to be holding back tears as he explains to me how much he wants to help Brutus and keep him. The assistant executive director states to me that they would be willing to pay any fees and medical bills that may arise if John could get Brutus back. I advise them that I cannot make any promises, but that I will be discussing this case with management and will keep them updated.
I sit down with upper management and discussed the case with them. After examining the facts and the situation, I suggest that we cover the costs of boarding and medical care for Brutus, and allow John to reclaim the dog (provided no owner steps forward). All fees, amounting to over 200 dollars, are paid for by the CCSPCA.
Five days pass and Brutus has received ongoing treatment. He has become more active and playful. In the matter of a week Brutus looks to have gained nearly all of his weight back.
I contact John and he meets me at the CCSPCA, where he receives Brutus from us with instructions of his medication and a need for follow up treatment. John is advised that the case will remain open until Brutus has been fully treated. While originally upset for being accused of abusing an animal, John now expresses his gratitude for our help.
In this case, there was no evidence of intentional neglect or cruelty, or malicious intent to cause harm to an animal. While the suspect lacked the necessary funds to give immediate medical care to Brutus, he felt he was acting in the best interest of the animal. John was provided with education on the subject and was compliant with that instruction. At this time there is no evidence to pursue further action in this matter.
By Jesse Boyce, Humane Officer
Author’s Note: In every situation that Humane Officers encounter, it is vitally important (for the sake of a case’s integrity) that we remain emotionally separated from the many situations we encounter. A Humane Officer is first and foremost a detective. It is only through a systematic and logical process that any case of cruelty or neglect [of an animal] can or will be successfully prosecuted. I hope that the story of Brutus has helped to illustrate how that process works, and why we operate in the fashion we do.
Editor’s Note: The purpose of this series is to provide you, our supporters, with an opportunity to experience the process that our investigators go through when conducting a complaint of animal abuse.If you have not done so, please read part 1, part 2, and part 3.