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Old August 13th, 2004, 03:00 AM
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Exclamation Two children accused of animal cruelty in puppy's death

Two children accused of animal cruelty in puppy's death

Authorities allege that the two kids also broke into the Robertson County Animal Shelter several days ago and stole another puppy, later found badly injured. (Photo: WKRN)

Two young boys, aged 11 and 14, are now accused of a gruesome crime...taking a stray puppy off the street and burning it to death in a BBQ grill behind an abandoned building.

"First they lit up the grill, then they put the dog in it. The dog jumped out of the grill and he was on fire," said witness Dregis Freeman.

10-year-old Freeman saw the whole thing. Upset vy what happened, the young witness ran to a neighbor's house for help. But by the time police arrived, the burned puppy was dead.

Freeman said, "It was sad. Sad."

Springfield Police Officer Chuck Bilyeu answered the call, and was sickened by the gruesome sight.

"[The puppy] was probably 8-10 weeks old...he was charred really bad. Who knows why they did it, and why would a child have that kind of anger or meanness to do something like that?" said Officer Bilyeu.

Police say that after lighting the grill, one of the boys lifted the lid and the puppy jumped out. He only made it a few feet before he died.

Springfield Police Lt. William Watkins said, "I think it's a shame . They had nothing better to do than to torture a dog."

Police have charged the two boys with aggravated animal cruelty. But the burned puppy isn't the only dog those boys allegedly tortured. According to investigators, the kids broke into the city's animal shelter several days earlier and stole a Shar-pei puppy. Police found it badly bleeding after being cut in the left front leg.

"None of the boys I talked to ever admitted they did it, even though they'd been seen earlier that day with the puppies," said Officer Bilyeu.

The Shar-pei is recovering in the care of a rescue group. Officers say more charges could be pending.

Officer Bilyeu said, "That's something that shocks you when you see it. And then you find out kids did it, and it just really shocks you."

A new law just passed by state legislators in May has made aggravated animal abuse a felony in Tennessee. Police told News 2 that more charges are pending against the two teens, and possibly several others.

Christi Lowe for News 2 at 4 and 5 pm
Story and photos http://www.wkrn.com/Global/story.asp...7&nav=1ugFPUaN
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Old August 13th, 2004, 03:02 AM
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Boys first tried to drown puppy they burned, police say
Staff Writer

Oldest charged in theft, cutting of a dog earlier

SPRINGFIELD Two boys accused of fatally roasting a puppy on a barbecue grill first tried to drown the pet, but it survived, police say.

Afterward, the boys, ages 14 and 11, put the puppy on an old gas grill and set it on fire using charcoal, according to police reports.

The burning happened behind a boarded-up home on Carden Circle, part of Springfield's public housing facilities, on July 24.

Neighbor Dregis Freeman, 10, came along, saw the burning under way and tried to help the puppy before it died. He said the other boys said they wanted to see what it tasted like.

''I saw them burning the dog,'' said Dregis, whose nickname is ''Li'l Dee.''

''I saw it, and I saw smoke. I went running back to tell. I was thinking it was mean.''

In other developments, the 14-year-old is charged with stealing and cutting another dog just a few days earlier. Two other boys, ages 10 and 13, also are charged in that case. None had been in trouble with Springfield Police before now.

The boys are believed to be two brothers, a cousin and a friend. Their names have not been released by police, citing their status as minors.

Also, the father of one boy was arrested yesterday and charged with aggravated assault on a neighbor in a fight related to the group of children.

While many adults are asking how any child could torture a puppy that way, they also are praising Dregis Freeman for trying to save the pet.

Dregis went to an adult neighbor's house asking for a bucket of water and a towel to nurse the burning dog. The neighbor called 911 and later confirmed to police that Dregis wasn't involved in the cruelty.

By the time Dregis and the neighbor returned, the puppy had crawled off the grill and made it a few feet away, barking and yelping. It died moments later.

Dregis' mother, Shontell Williams, said she found out about the incident from police, who showed up to question the boy and tell his mother what a good thing he had done.

''He just came in and fixed a sandwich,'' Williams said, shaking her head and smiling. ''He doesn't say much.''

Williams said she was afraid with the accused boys in the neighborhood, even though she hadn't let Dregis play with them in a while because they were causing trouble.

''If they hurt a puppy, what makes you think they won't hurt people?'' Williams asked.

The 14- and 11-year-old boys are facing animal cruelty charges and are scheduled to appear Nov. 18 in Robertson County Juvenile Court.

Lt. William Watkins, head of criminal investigations for Springfield police, said the 14-year-old and two additional boys had been charged in the separate animal cruelty case involving the dog cutting.

Investigators believe the 14-year-old and two youths, ages 13 and 10, broke into the Springfield Animal Shelter and stole a Shar-Pei a few days before the burning incident.

The Shar-Pei is recovering from cuts and trauma, authorities say, and is in the custody of a rescue group.

In another twist to the story, the father of one of the boys was arrested and jailed yesterday on suspicion of beating a Carden Circle resident on the head with a chair leg on July 24 a few hours after the puppy's death.

Patrick O. Smith, 37, is charged with aggravated assault.

Late yesterday he was being held in the Robertson County Detention Facility, with bail set at $10,000.

Investigators said Smith admitted to attacking Will Gregory, 27.

Gregory said Smith broke his arm and shoulder and caused head injuries that required about 50 stitches.

Gregory did not suffer a concussion and is recuperating at home.

''I'm as hardheaded as they come,'' he said with a chuckle. ''I deal with it with laughing and joking.''

The fight involved the group of boys accused in the animal cruelty cases, Watkins said. Gregory believed Smith suspected him of reporting the boys to police in the puppy incident, he said.

Police said Smith told them the attack took place because Gregory was yelling at the boys and throwing bottles at them.

''They are just kids raised up the wrong way,'' Gregory said.

Smith is scheduled to appear Sept. 13 in General Sessions Court on the aggravated assault charge.

Watkins of the Springfield Police said the cases had generated a lot of community interest.

''We've had a lot of people call who are concerned about the whole incident,'' Watkins said.

''They have been upset, and they want to make sure something is being done.''

Kelli Hewett Taylor can be reached at 726-5938, or khewett@tennessean.com.
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Old August 13th, 2004, 03:38 AM
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Wonder what the future will hold for these kids.
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Old August 13th, 2004, 08:13 AM
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shihtzulover shihtzulover is offline
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I think its another case of bad parenting. The parents should also be charged for this. Parents should be made to start taking responsibility for their kids. A couple years ago here in Nova Scotia 2 boys derailed a train by jamming the switch which makes it change tracks. No one was killed, but I think the parents should have also been charged for letting your under age child run wild.
I don't have an feelings for anyone who could harm an animal. I think its the worst thing that someone could do and they should pay the same price that an adult would pay for doing it.

3 very furry kids -

2 black cats - Pepper and Joey
1 Shih Tzu Puppy - Sophie
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Old August 13th, 2004, 08:16 AM
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poohbear123 poohbear123 is offline
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How horrible...if they can treat an animal that way imagine what the would do to a small child....they should be locked up for a long time.
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Old August 13th, 2004, 10:47 AM
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glasslass glasslass is offline
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I should know better than to read these threads first thing in the morning! I am just in tears! How can people do this? Only humans are this cruel!
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Old August 13th, 2004, 10:57 AM
rexdoggieowner rexdoggieowner is offline
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K, kids or no kids... they should be SEVERLY PUNISHED... i think its the parents fault... but what kid ACTUALLY does this stuff.. honestly, if it was a puppy now... in a few years it will be people.. then we wonder why there are so many killers in the world.... the dad should be locked up and ( i'm sorry to be cruel) get beat up himself.. you only know how much it hurts till it happens to you.. why does he want to learn the hard way ?
Kate ..mommy of a smooth collie x
My dog teaches me more then I teach him!!!!!
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Old August 13th, 2004, 11:06 AM
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Writing4Fun Writing4Fun is offline
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Originally Posted by rexdoggieowner
K, kids or no kids... they should be SEVERLY PUNISHED...
Have to agree with you there, Rexie. At 14 years old, that child (and probably the other one as well) is old enough to know what he was doing and should be held responsible for his actions. Yes, it is his parents' fault - and their parents', and their parents'... This type of behaviour is passed down from generation to generation in a vicious cycle of abuse and neglect. So, if this child isn't taught the consequences of his actions now, he'll just grow up to abuse his kids the way his Dad (probably) abuses him.
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Old August 13th, 2004, 11:30 AM
Cinnabear Cinnabear is offline
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I agree Glasslass. I shouldn't be reading these first. I'm just so sick at what they did do to that poor dog.
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Old August 19th, 2004, 01:27 PM
Lady_Eleven Lady_Eleven is offline
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I hadn't been to this part of the board yet, and I'm starting to think I shouldn't have. It could be a case of bad parenting of these boys, but more than likely it has more to do with them than anything being complete mentally screwed up (I can't say it any other way). There are many studies that show that people who start off abusing and torturing animals, even at a very young age, have the highest potential for moving up the ladder and becoming serial killers and rapists, and who knows what else. Hey, look at Paul Bernardo, he's a good example of this. I may sound harsh, but I think they should lock them up for good now while they are ahead. But ofcourse they won't because of all this young offenders garbage saying they don't know any better because of thier age. I seriously think they need to re-vamp that anyways.

Sure I believe the parents need to be seriously investigated, but those kids need to be locked up. And not in one of those silly young offenders open custody houses with nintendo and televisions.
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Old August 19th, 2004, 01:28 PM
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heidiho heidiho is offline
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Hope the future holds an unbeliveable a** beating that they never forget.
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Old August 23rd, 2004, 12:30 AM
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wAggie wAggie is offline
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what's that saying? "eye for an eye.."

in some ways, i agree, blame the parents, but others... uh, drop the kids off in some country that allows stoning a person to death.
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