Man Who Beat Puppy to Death with Baseball Bat has Animal Cruelty Conviction Overturned

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“WTF…this is unbelievable, how the hell can you say that a man beating a puppy to death with a baseball bat; isn’t premeditated torture; with intent to kill?? It wasn’t a bloody accident, this man purposely looked for something to beat the puppy with; is that the mind of any normal sane person? NO!! I think the judges on the Iowa appeal council, need to watch some videos of evil bxxxxx’s harming animals; perhaps then, they might find their hearts, because they were obviously missing in this case…that, or they simply are as cold hearted as the perpetrator; it’s a total disgrace, this psychopath should have been locked up!! 

A man who was convicted of animal torture after beating a 7-month-old Boston terrier to death with a baseball bat had his conviction thrown out by the Iowa Court of Appeals on Wednesday, according to the Des Moines Register.

An Iowa man who had been convicted of beating to death his Boston terrier puppy with a baseball bat had that conviction over turned by an appellate court on Wednesday. (Photo : Flickr)

In December 2011 Meerdink used a baseball bat to beat to death his puppy because it had soiled the carpet multiple times and bit the children of Meerdink’s girlfriend, reports the Des Moines Register.

Zachary Meerdink‘s conviction was overturned by the three judge panel by a vote of 2-1. Chief Judge Larry Eisenhauer and Judge Mary Tabor ruled that the prosecution was unable to show that Meerdink used “depraved or sadistic intent to cause death” as required to convict for animal torture, according to the Associated Press.

“After considering the definitions of ‘depraved,’ we conclude ‘depraved intent to cause death’ does not equal an ‘intent to cause death,'” Judge Eisenhauer wrote in his decision. “Here, the state proved Meerdink killed the dog, however, no one saw Meerdink kill the dog, and no testimony or exhibits and no reasonable inferences or presumptions from the testimony and exhibits sufficiently prove Meerdink acted with a depraved intent to cause death.”

Lin Sorenson, founder of the St. Francis Foundation for Pets, created the non-profit to advocate for tougher penalties in animal cruelty cases.

The decision by the court is inconceivable and breaks the logic barrier,” Sorenson said. “Beating an innocent dog to death with a baseball bat meets the level of sadistic intent necessary in the Iowa Code to constitute animal torture.”

Roxanne Conlin, a Des Moines attorney who also takes in foster pets from time to time, told the Des Moines Register that beating a puppy with a baseball bat is inherently evil.

“I have some great difficulty understanding how you beat a puppy to death and not have sadistic intent,” Conlin said. “How could it not be sadistic? It would seem as if this calls for an outcry.

Dennis Hendrickson, one of the three lawyers who worked on the appeal for Meerdink, told theDes Moines Register that it was a matter of perspective.

“Sadistic is a pretty high bar,” Hendrickson said. “I mean, in Canada, they beat baby seals over the head and club them to death, and I don’t hear anybody but the PETA people saying that’s torture. It’s ‘harvesting fur.‘”

In her dissenting opinion Judge Anuradha Vaitheswaran said that Meerdink acted in an extreme manner to what was a foreseeable event, a puppy not being housebroken, according to the Associated Press.

“A reasonable fact-finder could have found depravity based on the dog’s age, the fact that the act was precipitated by nothing more than the puppy’s weak stomach, the inference that Meerdink spent some time searching for a blunt instrument with which to kill the dog, the uncontested fact that Meerdink inflicted ‘severe physical pain,’ and the fact that the animal was a family pet,” Vaitheswaran wrote in her dissent

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Police Officer Suspended Over Police Dog’s Death

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“This was a police officer, so he had some brains, if the car had an alarm to alert officers with dogs of high internal temperatures; chances are all the officers knew of it, what it was for & that it ONLY worked when engine running. What part of the above didn’t he understand?? Some may think I’m being a tad harsh on the guy, but it was his job to care for that life, in his car! What was more important to make him turn the engine off & leave it off, which killed the dog! Perhaps it was his lunch break. Unpaid suspension & no other dog, excuse me if I don’t jump for joy!”

A Des Moines police officer has been given a three-day unpaid suspension for the death of his police dog.

The Des Moines Register says an internal investigation laid out discipline recommendations for Officer Brian Mathis. Harley, a 7 year-old yellow lab died August 29 after Mathis left him in an unmarked car at the police station for over an hour.

In addition to the suspension, Mathis won’t be eligible for another dog.

“He’s taken full responsibility,” said Des Moines Police Chief Judy Bradsaw. Mathis “recognizes the consequences, he’s living with them everyday. It was not his intent to ever leave the dog in the car.”

Mathis’ car had an alarm system to protect police dogs from the heat, but the system only works if the car is running.

The Des Moines Register reports that the department will buy a new system that can pop the doors or start the engine and alert officers if temperatures reach a dangerous level, even if the car isn’t running.

“These are dog people, they love animals,” Bradshaw said. “Anything I do to (Mathis), it won’t be as severe as what he’s doing to himself.”

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