VICTORY: Justice is Served for Dog Who Was Violently Abused During Domestic Dispute
Through our Justice for Animals Campaign, we work vigorously to see that justice is served for the animal victims of abuse and neglect in the Deep South. Now, we’re applauding the outcome of an extremely troubling case in Mississippi involving the violent abuse of a dog during a domestic dispute.
In this instance, a man identified as Walter Stewart got into a heated fight with his pregnant girlfriend, Kiera Buck, on May 26. Buck escaped his rage by getting into a friend’s car, but her dog, Kato, became the next immediate target of Stewart’s anger.
The friend recorded Stewart on video grabbing Kato by the feet, swinging him around overhead to gain momentum, and slamming him violently onto the hood of a parked truck. By some miracle, Kato wasn’t seriously injured.
Stewart, who is a convicted felon, was arrested the next day by Warren County Sheriff’s Deputies.
On June 15, he pleaded guilty a count of aggravated animal cruelty, which is a first offense misdemeanor in Mississippi.
Thanks in large part to Kenneth Harper, the prosecuting attorney, and Judge Marcie Tanner Southerland, Stewart was handed the maximum sentence possible under the state’s animal protection laws.
He will now have to pay a $2,500 fine, in addition to serving six months in jail. He will also pay for state assessments, and owes $400 to his defense attorney. When he’s released from jail, he will have to serve 80 hours of community service, and may not be anywhere around Kato.
While Kato should never have had to suffer like he did in the first place, we’re grateful for court officials like the ones presiding over this case who recognize the serious issue of animal cruelty, and its link to escalating criminal activity that poses a threat to both animal companions and human communities.
We’ll continue to advocate for the animal victims of cruelty and abuse by working with law enforcement, prosecutors and judges to see that justice is served. You can help us help more animals like Kato by making a donation.