Justice for Mini-Horses Mowed Down by Drunk Driver

Justice for Mini-Horses Mowed Down by Drunk Driver

This alert is no longer active, but here for reference. Animals still need your help.

Imagine the horror of hearing a crash in the night coming from your horses' corral. This is what happened to Juanita Carrillo, who found her two mini-horses mangled in fencing with their legs broken. Despite inflicting severe suffering, and killing two animals, the drunk driver is only facing property damage charges. Help us get justice for Scout and Big Red!

An Oakland, California man faces only three misdemeanor charges following his April 15, 2017 DUI and hit and run with “property damage” arrest. Ronald O. Rennert, Jr. was pulled over shortly after 2:00 a.m. in Petaluma for suspected drunk driving. The arresting officer noted Rennert’s silver Honda CRV was missing parts and there were red tufts of hair stuck to the point of impact. The missing parts would later be identified as the parts found in the corral of two miniature horses who had been struck that night and who had to be euthanized. It was established that Rennert had been drinking in Cotati just before entering Penngrove and driving on to Petaluma where he was stopped.

Rennert’s DUI arrest was connected to the Penngrove, CA hit and run of Juanita Carrillo’s two mini horses, Big Red and Scout, who were mowed down shortly after 2:00 a.m. by someone who had crashed through three heavy wooden fences before fatally striking the animals.

Juanita Carrillo had heard a vehicle speed down Minnesota Avenue in front of her Penngrove home and then crash into her fenced property. When she went outside, she found Big Red and Scout mangled amidst fencing. Big Red was struck with such force that he lay beyond his corral. Both horses were injured beyond recovery including having their legs broken.

CHP investigators later discovered at least three of the missing parts to Rennert’s Honda CRV in the splintered fencing and identified them by their serial numbers.

Rennert’s arraignment was May 5, 2017. Juanita Carrillo and supporters attended the hearing. Of Rennert’s charges, Juanita expressed that the court proceedings had brought her no consolation that she would see justice prevail. Because California law values companion animals and livestock as only mere property Juanita’s cherished companions would be treated, as she explained, “ different from my fence.”

The conviction of defendants in animal cruelty cases hinges on evidence beyond a reasonable doubt that a defendant intended to harm or kill the victim and that the defendant was of sound mind during the commission of the crime. Because defendant Ronald O. Rennert Jr. was arrested for a DUI hit and run “property damage” charge, he cannot be charged with animal cruelty and the horses' legal status as property means their horrid deaths can only reap a maximum of two back to back six month jail terms or probation and fines.

However, long time In Defense of Animals' friend and animal rights attorney, Larry Weiss, suggested that instead of Sonoma County Prosecuting Attorney Scott Uemura employing "summary probation," this could become a test case for "creatively crafted conditions of probation within the court’s power to impose."

Sonoma County District Attorney Jill Ravitch has received letters and petitions regarding the case, and has shown that she cares about the outcome, but she is restricted to following the law in aiding Prosecuting Attorney Uemura with the case. She will meet with Juanita Carrillo prior to the Rennert’s hearing scheduled in June.

What YOU Can Do

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