MEDIA RELEASE: City Workers Who Beat an Injured Dog to Death Get Away With Murder

MEDIA RELEASE: City Workers Who Beat an Injured Dog to Death Get Away With Murder

HUMBOLDT, Tenn. (Oct. 7, 2022)In Defense of Animals, an international animal advocacy organization that operates the Justice for Animals campaign in Mississippi, is appalled the case involving two Humboldt, Tenn., city workers who beat a dog to death in January 2021, was dismissed this week. 

Bruce Lynn Pafford and James Johnson were arrested and charged with aggravated animal cruelty following the city’s rapid response to the report of their unconscionable act. Over 15,000 In Defense of Animals supporters sent a letter to District Attorney Frederick Agee calling for maximum sentencing if the men were convicted. 

On Oct. 5, 2022, the case was dismissed. The men were given diversion and were ordered to pay an undisclosed donation to the regional humane society.

The two city employees had been dispatched to help a dog who was reported to have been hit by a car. Instead of aiding the dog, they killed them. 

The dog was determined to have severe head injuries and was taken to the pound where the city shop is located. The two dog catchers removed the dog from the city vehicle with a catchpole, a device for handling unfamiliar dogs. Once clear of the vehicle, one employee unmercifully held the dog down with the catchpole while the other employee beat the dog repeatedly on the head with what was reported to be a shovel or pole. The dog, posthumously named Rain, was "yelping til (their) last breath" and that the sound of their crying was "horrifying."

“There is no excuse for an animal, injured or not, to be subjected to a cruel death. It’s absolutely unbelievable that the defendants in this case are getting less than a slap on the wrist for their horrifyingly cruel actions,” said Doll Stanley, In Defense of Animals’ Justice for Animals Campaign Director. “It is In Defense of Animals’ mission to spotlight egregious acts of animal cruelty to work to gain a measure of justice for tormented and tortured animals. There is no justification for the cruel treatment of animals in any society which poses a risk to all vulnerable people. We thank the Humboldt Police Department for continuing their professional animal abuse investigations and urge Humboldt County judges to do their utmost to prosecute all animal abusers to the fullest extent of the law.”


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Contact: Doll Stanley,, (662) 809-4483


In Defense of Animals is an international animal protection organization with over 250,000 supporters and a 38-year history of fighting for animals, people, and the environment. We accomplish our mission through education and campaigns, as well as sanctuaries and hands-on animal rescue facilities in India, Korea, and rural Mississippi.

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