Two Facing Animal Cruelty Charges After Videos Posted on Youtube
Animal cruelty, like child abuse, can be a very volatile subject that elicits very strong emotional reactions in people. So it is likely that the two men from northern Michigan who are accused of videotaping the mauling death of a coyote and posting it online will be prosecuted for animal cruelty in the court of public opinion as well as the Gogebic County Court.
The two men, whose names have not yet been released pending arraignment, are apparently 45 and 34-years-old. They are residents of Ironwood in the Upper Peninsula. The pair are facing charges for allegedly posting a recent video clip online in which they recorded their hunting dogs mauling a wounded coyote. They also provided excited commentary on the video as the animal died in obvious pain.
The animal cruelty investigation, conducted by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, is still underway. So far, it has revealed that this is not a stand-alone event for the men in question. Apparently the same two individuals posted a video online earlier in the year containing footage of a dying coyote which one of the men had hit with his truck.
That video contained several minutes of commentary while the pair watched the wounded animal bleed out in the road before one of them finally shot it. Also present at the time was the twelve-year-old son of one of the men involved.
In a public statement regarding the posted videos, Jill Fritz, the Michigan senior state director of the Humane Society of the United States, said the following: “Every sportsman should be appalled that another video allegedly shows the deliberate torture of an injured and helpless coyote. I hope that hunting organizations will join together in urging that those involved in these acts are prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”
DNR Conservation Officer Grant Emery, who explained in a sworn affidavit the order of events in the graphic videos of the two coyote’s deaths, recommended a charge of knowingly killing, torturing, mutilating, maiming or disfiguring an animal. This is a felony under Michigan law punishable by four years in prison.
Since this recommendation, the charges have been authorized by the Gogebic County Prosecutor’s Office. The two men are expected to be arraigned within days in the Gogebic County District Court.