Over a month ago a cat suffered severe trauma that caused one of its legs to be amputated by a veterianarian. On Saturday, April 8, a warrant was issued for the man last seen with the cat. The City of Ludington Daily News ran with this story today:
If the reporter did any research, they would have known the charge was MCL 750.50b, which covers a host of violations of proper decorum with our pets and other animals. If the reporter read what Mlive posted earlier that day, they would have learned even more about the story:
MASON COUNTY, MI - A man accused of torturing his girlfriend's cat following an argument has been charged with animal cruelty.
The cat ended up having a leg amputated as a result of trauma, said Mason County Sheriff Kim Cole. The suspect said he mistakenly stepped on the pet, but a veterinarian's report noted the injuries were not consistent with his claim, Cole said.
Raymond David Spyker, 33, of Scottville was arrested Saturday. It's alleged that he got into an argument with his girlfriend on March 4 in Hamlin Township, and she left the home to let the tension diffuse, Cole said. When she returned, her boyfriend was gone and her cat was severely injured, Cole said.
The cat suffered internal injuries and a severely broken leg, he said.
Spyker was arrested April 8 in Amber Township. He has been charged with animal killing/torture, a felony punishable by up to four years in prison, and animal abandonment/cruelty, a misdemeanor. He posted 10 percent of a $5,000 bail and has a preliminary examination scheduled for 11:15 a.m. April 26 in Mason County 79th District Court. [End article]
Wherever this article has been posted, it has drew some fairly vile comments about this young Scottville man, some of which may be appropriate if he did effectively torture the cat, made it suffer, and debilitated the feline for the rest of her life. As a cat owner myself, I cannot fathom how somebody could do something as cruel as alleged. But there is something we all should value a little more than a cat that loses a leg, and that is when a man loses his own freedom and his own civil liberties due to good-natured people jumping to conclusions.
We are not blessed in any news source about the extent of the damage, rather than there were internal damages and a cat leg had to be amputated. From that information alone we can not conclude Mr. Spyker did this intentionally; he has stated that he hasn't, and one has to highly doubt the veterinarian is specially trained in forensic science.
Therefore, it is up to the prosecutor, who mulled it over for a month, whether a crime occurred and whether there was any willful or intentional act of Spyker that caused the problem. The time frame signals that he had doubts, as well he should if the injuries don't indicate repeated trauma suffered by the cat. The cat and Spyker are the only two that know what really happened that day after they were in the house alone.
Raymond Spyker is in his 30s and seems to have nothing in his record to indicate cruelty to animals or people before this incident, you would have surely heard of it otherwise from Prosecutor Paul Spaniola or Sheriff Kim Cole, who are chatterboxes about such things. If the damage to the cat illustrated that it was tortured or maimed repeatedly, surely we would have been offered some pictures for proof that Spyker was indeed a monster.
As always, before you condemn anybody accused of a crime as being a monster and a piece of vile excrement, look at the full picture of what happened, what has been released by the prosecuting agencies, and presume that barring a credible witness or an uncoerced confession, that he may be innocent.
Two things one is explaining if the cats injuries are consistent with being stepped on. And the other is his leaving the cat in that state of pain without at least informing his girlfriend or one of her friends or family as an intermediator.
Spyker's mugshot made the front page of the COLDNews yesterday, and Sheriff Cole got to impeach Spyker's story some more without showing the public any proof. I do not know Spyker, but when you have your name plastered negatively over local media and beyond (Mlive), with respected (by some) officials calling you a liar, when they have shown nothing is exactly why I have little respect of the local system.
Sheriff Cole was the same slanderbug who in that same slander-rag said of soccer coach Todd Lane Johnson's CSC charges: "It was ongoing for several years and started when the player was 13. It did not take place at the school or involve any school activities. It took place in a home in Amber Township"
The youth recanted her story, absent any real proof of misconduct, Johnson was cleared of the charge, but Sheriff Cole's account of it has never been recanted, nor would it likely assuage the damage to the poor man's reputation. If you're a sheriff and want to be responsible, don't offer your opinion as fact to the public, offer up evidence, not hearsay and conjecture.
This is similar to something that happened in another city where I send some time. Local TV news puts out a video of a guy opening the door of his pickup and his dog jumps in. He goes around to the drivers side and gets in. The video shows the man looking like he's hitting the seat with his hand to get the dog to get on the seat. The man drives off. The woman who took the video for what ever reason called the police to report animal cruelty. The police went to his home and cited him for that. The next day he was on the news again now being videoed by the local TV station and animal control. The dog, a lab was loving all over this guy, not timid or cowering. Animal control examined the dog and found no sign of abuse. No need to remove the dog from the owner. The police , not buying that . This is on the local TV news. The next week this woman that took the video is at the city council meeting ranting about the animal control people for not removing the dog from the owner, yes this was on the TV also and it was stated the prosecutor is still going to prosecute .