Phoenix, a one-year-old pit bull terrier was doused with gasoline and set on fire by twin brothers. Police officer Syreeta Teel spotted her flailing in the streets and heroically pounded out the flames with her sweatshirt. Phoenix "rose from the ashes" long enough to be loved by her rescuers, but was ultimately euthanized when extensive burns caused her kidneys to fail. She was burned over 95% of her body. The men who did this should serve the maximum penalty for animal cruelty. Please send a letter to the judge on this case. Be a voice for Phoenix. She didn't deserve this.
- Honorable David Young
- Honorable Patricia C. Jessamy
- Kimberly B. Morton
I have followed the case of Phoenix, a one-year-old pit bull terrier soaked
in gasoline and set afire on May 27, 2009. I understand the Baltimore City
Grand Jury indicted twin brothers Tremayne and Travers Johnson, 17, on five
counts of animal abuse and cruelty.
I thank the state's attorney office and court for its serious deliberation
in this heinous crime. Phoenix was euthanized in caring hands after her
kidneys failed. Swollen and charred, her immune system simply couldn't
handle burns covering 95% of her body.
But this case is as much about the twins as it is about Phoenix. These
youths are so desensitized to suffering, they ignored the cries of a living
creature enveloped in flames.
I urge you to levy felony animal cruelty penalties that include up to three
years in prison, a $5,000 fine, and mandatory counseling. If the Johnsons
are involved in dogfighting, as suggested by puncture wounds seen on
Phoenix, please punish them under animal fighting laws too. I hope you will
ensure these teens are barred from contact with animals.
Juvenile violence is often connected with musings on death and Goth anarchy.
Along with these dark images comes a fascination with victimizing animals.
Indeed, Columbine's Eric Harris, D.C. serial killer Lee Boyd Malvo, murderer
Kip Kinkle and others "practiced" on animals before graduating to people.
Andrew Golden, 11, and Mitchell Johnson, 13, killed dogs in Jonesboro,
Arkansas prior to gunning down four students and one teacher. Mississippi
16-year-old Luke Woodham mortally stabbed his mother, killed three
classmates and shot seven more. Later in court, he confessed to bludgeoning
his dog with baseball bats and setting her on fire.
One U.S. study revealed that five of 11 killers involved in nine separate
school rampages had formerly abused animals. In another study, "Childhood
Cruelty Toward Animals Among Criminals and Noncriminals," 25% of aggressive
criminals confessed to five or more acts of torturing animals.
Clearly, the animal-to-human violence link demands your utmost attention. I
reiterate my request that Mayor Dixon and the City Council address violence
at its roots by creating an animal abuse task force with citizen
representation. Please also empower animal control officers under the police
department and advocate prosecution in all animal abuse and fighting cases.
Thank you, in advance, for punishing Phoenix' killers to the fullest degree
allowed by law.
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