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In Missouri, Slash a Puppy’s Throat, Get Charged with Littering

In Missouri, Slash a Puppy’s Throat, Get Charged with Littering

Law enforcement officials investigating an incident recently in Jefferson County, Mo., stumbled upon a sad scene. Two small puppies, their throats slashed, had been tossed into a creek like so much garbage.

Police believe the man who did it was 22-year old Kyle Busby, who lives near the creek where the puppies’ bodies were found. Busby said he killed the puppies “because they were sick,” according to a probable cause statement obtained by KTVI in St. Louis.

Busby is facing charges for what he did. Littering charges. That’s all — just littering.

Busby reportedly failed to appear at an October hearing on the littering charge, resulting in a warrant being issued for his arrest.

Animal rescue professionals in the St. Louis area expressed shock and unhappiness with how this situation is playing out. Randy Grim of Stray Rescue of St. Louis feels Busby’s alleged actions merit more than a littering charge.

“[Cutting puppies' throats] is animal abuse too,” Grim told KTVI. “If that happened, it should be a felony.” He urged that anyone with a sick pet they can’t keep ought to take it to an animal shelter or a humane society so it can receive care.

Apparently, the idea of taking his sick puppies to a veterinarian never occurred to Busby. If he couldn’t afford proper care, why didn’t he surrender the puppies to a shelter so they could be cared for and adopted? We may never know.

Unfortunately, under current Missouri law, “[t]he killing of an animal by the owner thereof, the agent of such owner, or by a veterinarian at the request of the owner thereof” is perfectly legal. The various protections afforded to animals under Chapter 578 of Missouri’s law explicitly don’t apply to the killing of an animal by its owner.

Ironically, had Busby abandoned the puppies alive by the creek, he could have been charged with animal neglect. Because he killed them and left them there, he did no more than violate a state littering law. If he hadn’t left the bodies behind, he’d have committed no offense at all.

The wording of an exemptions provision means that it may not be possible to charge Busby under Missouri’s animal abuse law. That law provides that a person is guilty of animal abuse if he or she:

(1) Intentionally or purposely kills an animal in any manner not allowed by or expressly exempted from the provisions of sections 578.005 to 578.023 and 273.030;

(2) Purposely or intentionally causes injury or suffering to an animal; or

(3) Having ownership or custody of an animal knowingly fails to provide adequate care which results in substantial harm to the animal.

Because section 578.007 allows an owner to kill his own animals, subsection (1) cannot be used to charge Busby in this case. The troublesome owner exemption does not apply, however, to subsection (2) above, the prohibition on purposely or intentionally causing injury or suffering to an animal.

That fact makes animal lovers wonder why Missouri officials aren’t trying harder to prosecute this case as an offense that caused intentional injury or suffering to these puppies. There’s undoubtedly a fine legal line between causing “injury” and causing death under Missouri’s animal abuse legal scheme. For animals in this state, injury is unacceptable, but death by an owner’s hand is no offense.

Missouri lawmakers, why may an owner of any animal legally kill it for no reason at all? What do regular people with no veterinary training know of humanely killing an animal? Why should an unwanted animal’s fate be left in the hands of someone who is not an animal care professional?

Really, Missouri? Can you do no better by the animals than this? Oh, wait. You’re one of the states with an “ag gag” law.  I guess we already know your priorities don’t lie with the animals.

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Photo credit: Thinkstock

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206 comments

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4:44AM PST on Dec 1, 2013

The good humans are only a small minority who are overwhelmed by the monsters. And these messengers from hell call themselves life forms. Who would guess that these harmless looking "human" things in their cribs will grow up to be monsters out of the worst nightmare this universe can imagine, monsters that would put Satan to shame in their depravity and viciousness.

4:23AM PST on Dec 1, 2013

I want to capital punishment for this Missouri creep, but not only that, I'd like to see all animal slaughterers everywhere in the world killed, preferably in a public execution with their heads displayed on a pike in public squares. I would be acceptable to me where there's an eye for an eye justice when it comes to animals.

1:31PM PST on Nov 23, 2013

WHERE’S THE PETITION? Busby is guilty of MURDER! These puppies have the right to live – Busby took that God-given, unalienable right away from these puppies – in the right hands – good & caring hands -- these puppies would be alive today. Legislators in Missouri: PLEASE look into your present laws regarding animals & charge this Busby nut with the highest crime possible, throw him in jail if you can & penalize him financially, if you can. Legislators in Missouri: Have respect for animals as you do for humans – like us, they are living beings & have the right to live on this planet. They deserve happiness & comfort -- In addition, DO SOMETHING ABOUT YOUR LAWS! ANIMALS HAVE RIGHTS! Like people, if we recognize the RIGHTS of animals, these brainless human criminals would NOT be allowed to murder, to abuse, to neglect, etc. – they would be put in their place – either in prison or in a controlled environment supervised & closely monitored by professionals, AND on a regular basis, undergo psychiatric evaluations. Who’s responsible for the deaths of these two puppies? Who’s accountable? Who dare snuff the life out of these two puppies? Why is it ok to be a murderer? Legislators: If you do nothing regarding this sick killing, your message is loud & clear: it’s ok to murder, we like murderers. Murderers!… come ye all to Missouri!—don’t worry, come one, come all – Missouri is for m

7:44AM PST on Nov 22, 2013

Need to change lots of LAWS people !!!!

11:54AM PST on Nov 21, 2013

Ugh. Rest in peace precious babies who never got a chance :(

11:19AM PST on Nov 19, 2013

charge the bastard with murder.

1:38AM PST on Nov 17, 2013

Really??!! Okay they are "just" animals so what. They don't do shit about any other cruelty to animals so I'm not supriced but I wounder when the human race will open their eyes and start act like we are suppose to do, taking care of the defensless om the Earth before it's to late for all of us...

1:22AM PST on Nov 16, 2013

It's not so much that this young man won't be charged with killing the puppies - it's that he did it at all ! ! ! ! ! How can little lives like that have so little importance to anyone, as to just slit their throats and throw them in a river? I'm sure there is always SOMETHING one can do with unwanted puppies that would at least give them a chance at life. I worry a great deal about people who can do such things, their lives must be miserable and mean - and that may well be the way they're brought up - and so it goes. From generation to generation, no caring, or respect, or imagination for the feelings of those weaker than they are. What a horrible way for people to live. They must have such psychologically cold existences.
As for the "littering" charge - it's beyond me to even imagine that that would be what this awful crime was brought down to. The charger are no better than the man himself ! ! ! ! !

12:59AM PST on Nov 15, 2013

What the hell is wrong with the legal system in this world never mind this country. Even in UK people that commit cruel acts on animals and people do not get the appropriate punishment. This is an insult to the lives of these poor puppies.

1:52PM PST on Nov 14, 2013

Nearly unbelievable. I don't know what an appropriate punishment would be.

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