Protestors rally for dogs shot to death

Wednesday, April 4, 2018
Nichole Sparkle, left, takes a photo of some of the protesters gathered at the entrance to Paradise Cove Camping Resort in Eagle Rock hoping to get justice for three labradors shot to death on March 13. The dogs' owners, Dani Johnson, fourth from left, and Sam Johnson, third from left, attended the event that drew more than 100 protestors from the local area and neighboring states. Kyle Troutman/editor@cassville-democrat.com

Charges not yet filed in animal abuse case

More than 100 people from the local area and neighboring states gathered at the entrance to Paradise Cove Camping Resort on Saturday, protesting for justice to be delivered in the case of three dogs that were shot to death and mutilated near the property.

Protestors chanted, "No justice, no peace" and "We want justice," holding up signs saying things like, "Justice for Gus, Tug and Kaycee," "Only cowards kill animals," "These were not just dogs, they were family members" and "Their pain, their suffering, their cries."

Joshua Rivera, a member of Springfield's Black Lives Matter group, protested on behalf of labradors Gus, 7, and Tug, 11 months, and Kaycee, 3. The three dogs were shot to death on March 13 in Eagle Rock. Charges have yet to be filed by Barry County Prosecutor Amy Boxx as of Tuesday afternoon. Kyle Troutman/editor@cassville-democrat.com

Dani Johnson, who with her husband Sam Johnson attended the event, had a sign with pictures of her two black labs, Gus, 7, and Tug, 11 months, as well as her yellow lab, Kaycee, 3. Her sign read, "We are not 'just animals.' We have souls."

"Upwards of 100 protesters showed up, not only for our fur babies, but animals everywhere," Johnson wrote in a Facebook following the event. "It's a fight for stronger sentences for those who abuse animals. [If] an animal crosses into your property you don't want there, [and we are] not sure they even did that, you fire warning shots in the air. You do not brutally shoot to make them suffer, multiple times. You wouldn't gut shoot or shoot their genitalia in a sick sadistic manner."

Johnson said she made a report with the Barry County Sheriff's Office shortly after the dogs were found, piled together and with their collars cut off. She said Gus was subjected to multiple shots to the stomach and more repeated shots in his genitals.

As of Tuesday, possible charges in the case remain pending in Barry County Prosecutor Amy Boxx's office. Probable cause statements recommending charges were delivered to her office on March 26. Boxx responded to an email Tuesday afternoon.

“As of today, ‘charges have not yet been filed’ would be accurate,” she said.

Calls to the Cassville Democrat office and comments on social media have asked if the Corps of Engineers should be involved in the case if the shooting happened on federal lake property, but Miles Brown, chief of public affairs for the Little Rock District of the Corps of Engineers, said according to the project manager at Table Rock Lake, the incident occurred on a campground not leased from the Corps.

"No part of that facility is on publicly or federally owned land," Brown said. "That resort is all on private property adjacent to the lake."

Brown said even if the land was publicly owned, jurisdiction remains with local and state authorities.

"Even if it happened on the lake itself or in a Corps park, we would call the local sheriff's office or Missouri State Highway Patrol," he said. "Our rangers are not law enforcement officers. They are there only to enforce Corps policies. It would be the sheriff's office or the state who bring charges, just like if there's a boating accident involving a DWI, the Highway Patrol would bring charges.

"Even homicide of a person on federal land would be prosecuted by state authorities."

Since Johnson has shared her story, social media reactions have come in from across the country and internationally.

A petition on thepetitionsite.com titled "Demand Justice for 3 Dogs shot at Paradise Cove Camping Resort" has received more than 126,000 signatures from more than 30 countries. There is also a public Facebook group named "Justice For Gus and All" that has nearly 350 likes. Johnson's Facebook post on her personal page March 13, calling for help finding her dogs, received more than 620 shares.

The protestors are planning another event Saturday, from noon to 2 p.m. at the Barry County Judicial Center.

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    Thank you for covering this important story. I fear it’ll take an exhumation and a finding of lakewater-soaked lungs for Sheriff Gary Davis to report “The Labrador Safari” to the FBI. His message that the crime did not affect people baffles me more each day. What about the dogs’ owners and their circle — all the friends, neighbors, and other close acquaintances? Their vet, who has a family, too, and who associated these dogs with the prime of youth? Tears surged for three bullet-scored, chain-towed bodies, which had been piled atop each other to die. What of the frightened witnesses from multiple homes, all of whom see Mr. and Mrs. Perkins carrying on as if nothing happened. What of the reporters and editors, longing to forget certain pictures and statements? Their wives? The therapist, bartender, colleague, best friend? Or the case’s investigator, no doubt afflicted herself? ... And what of the glaring hypothetical? Imagine an RV rolling up as some cousin of “their Max” became target practice. It could happen: every online listing says the guest season at Paradise Cove Camping Resort runs March to October. ... These killings were no fluke. A huge pile of fresh-turned earth stood just out of sight. A gun, matching boxes of cartridges, and tow chains lay in easy reach of the golf cart’s steering wheel. Those three matching ID collars didn’t cut themselves off. And as if that weren’t enough, must we disregard Chewie, the missing Shepherd-Pit Bull? He went missing four weeks ago, only to be found fatally shot: and with the same caliber bullet. That was just after the events of March Thirteenth and Fourteenth. Where, you ask? Scant minutes from the Perkins’ property line. Yes, various Websites note that the Perkins campground bars guests from bringing in “aggressive or attack dogs”. Nonetheless, animal trespass is not a capital offense in the State of Missouri. It’s more like a $200 fine. ... To me, the central issue in the Lab Safari debacle is not the agony of three trusting young dogs, nor even the toll their killing and “disposal” have taken on a whole town’s peace of mind. No, what worries me is the lasting menace posed by this unstable couple. In such cases, the past foretells a darker time. Why? *People who hurt animals for fun usually hurt people, too.* ... In 2014, the National Sheriffs’ Association and the FBI joined forces to raise awareness of the undisputed link between animal abuse and the abuse of human beings. “If we see patterns of animal abuse, odds are that something else is going on... there’s a good chance they’re also hurting a human,” said John Thompson, Deputy Executive Director of the National Sheriff’s Association. For this reason, the FBI permanently lists animal-cruelty crimes on the database of its National Incident-Based Reporting System. This matters because, as Sheriff Davis surely knows, the Bureau relies on local and state authorities to report incidents, which, in turn, it logs. ... Per FBI standards, animal cruelty is, “intentionally, knowingly or recklessly taking an action that mistreats or kills any animal without just cause, such as torturing, tormenting, mutilation, maiming, poisoning or abandonment.” Beyond that, the FBI separates animal mistreatment by degrees. “Intentional abuse and torture” is a far-more-serious crime than “simple or gross neglect”. In addition, premeditated cruelty to multiple animals is a greater offense than, say, lashing out in pain or fear. ... For its part, the State of Missouri also offers clear terms for animal cruelty. Animal abuse demands a felony charge when a person, “Intentionally or purposely kills an animal in any manner not allowed... or... the suffering involved is the result of torture or mutilation consciously inflicted while the animal was alive.” (https://www.LawServer.com/Law/State/Missouri/MO-Laws/Missouri_Laws_578-012. For related requirements, e.g., Court’s notification of State Highway Patrol, see https://House.MO.gov/BillTracking/Bills161/BillPDF/Intro/HB1707I.PDF) ... By those standards, calling somebody’s wayward pets to sink dozens of gut shots probably counts. You see, even without legislative guidance, Barry County’s residents know abuse when they see it. I would ask Sheriff Davis and Prosecuting Attorney Amy Boxx to bear in mind that — Perkins household aside — few Eagle Rock residents are sleeping well lately.

    -- Posted by LogicalQuestioner on Tue, Apr 3, 2018, at 11:35 PM
  • meanwhile....thousands of children are abused by their parents....thousands of unborn children are killed for convenience' sake...but let's all protest and worry about these dogs....

    -- Posted by common-tater on Wed, Apr 4, 2018, at 9:21 PM
  • These people have pulled guns on a 10year old boy in the past and grown men . So yes worrying about what they have done to MANY dogs not just these 3,is a concern because it is a predecessor to killing people . Which is what is exactly talked about in this article . We will continue to fight for the county to prose use these people for the awful mutilation of these poor animals ,and the pain and suffering they were put thru . Seeing as they were not shot to kill cause they were doing wrong . But shot sadistically because this woman has serious mental health issues . And continues to drive her illegal golf cart on county roads with her loaded weapon . WOULD YOU FEEL SAFE ON THESE STREETS.. I think not ... and we know in this day and age about me tal health and guns . So who is her next target .!!!!

    -- Posted by Nap32 on Thu, Apr 5, 2018, at 7:59 AM
  • The Whole World knows that Marcia Perkins shot those 3 Dogs Mutilating them yet NO Charges have been filed! What does that tell the Shooter, That it's ok you can shoot all the Dogs you want to! And there have been many more and She takes there collars off , Why, As A trophy or so they can't be found with Metal Detectors or to make them look like Strays! 3 Dogs Innocently Playing , Tortured and shot in the Genitals so they would suffer then thrown in a pile to bleed out like they were trash and as a witness tries to help them they lick her hand even in their pain while they were dying! And NO CHARGES have been filed! The Owner was not contacted that her dogs were on the Property, The Sheriff wasn't called , Animal Control wasn't called and no shots were fired in the air to scare them off so they wouldn't come back because She is a Dog Killer over & over BECAUSE she can, She gets away with it!!! She must pay off Law Enforcement or Something!!! What is this World coming to when Law Enforcement/Prosecutors Don't even Care!!! And... The Sheriffs Office have removed all reviews on this Subject! You are not suppose to be able to remove reviews!!! Dog pictured below was one of the 3 Labs killed OBVIOUSLY not a threat to anyone!!! PLEASE SIGN & Share Petition for Justice.....https://www.thepetitionsite.com/tell-a-friend/53840834 We teach our Dogs to trust people so they ran up to her tails wagging when she CALLED them to her to shoot them!!!

    -- Posted by LizStrickland on Thu, Apr 5, 2018, at 8:31 PM
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