Animal abuse nonprofit hopes to help in Eagle Rock dog shooting
Animal Justice League of America founder makes proposal
It has been four months since three labradors in Eagle Rock were shot to death and mutilated, and a nonprofit organization committed to eliminating animal abuse has stepped in hoping to help solve the ongoing issue, for which charges have not been filed.
Shane Rudman, founder of the Animal Justice League of America, has met with Dani and Sam Johnson, whose three dogs, Gus, 7, Tug, 11 months, and Kaycee, 3, were allegedly shot to death, then mutilated with gut and genital shots, while playing near their home backing up to Table Rock Lake.
Since the incident, the Barry County Sheriff’s Office has submitted two probable cause reports recommending charges to Barry County Prosecutor Amy Boxx, one recommending a misdemeanor charge and another recommending a felony. Eight protests have been held since the incident, including at the Paradise Cove Camping Resort, where the alleged shooters live; on the courthouse square in Cassville; at the Barry County Judicial Center; and at a busy intersection in Golden.
Sam Johnson has also spoken with state legislators in Jefferson City. State Rep. Scott Fitzpatrick and State Sen. David Sater both said they expected charges to be filed. Boxx released a statement in late April that, in part, said, “prosecutorial ethics, longstanding policy and best legal practice mandate that no discussion be had concerning that or any matter pending determination of charges, if any.”
Rudman arrived in Barry County in late July and is hoping to get things moving in the case. Along with trying to bring more attention to the Johnsons’ dogs’ deaths, he is trying to broker a deal between the alleged shooter and the Johnsons.
A video posted to Facebook showed Rudman was attempting to leave his card for the alleged shooter when a vehicle pulled up and he spoke to the accused. Although he has not been able to talk to Boxx or the attorney representing the accused, Rudman said that short interaction with the alleged shooter led him to draft an offer aimed at calming the storm in southern Barry County.
Rudman’s proposal included the accused telling the truth and accepting responsibility, pleading to a felony animal abuse charge and losing the right to carry a weapon as a felon, pay financial restitution to the Johnsons for the three labradors, admit to any other dog killings in the area for which they are responsible and providing a written apology that may be shared in the media and online.
In exchange, the Johnsons would agree to not bring any lawsuit, call for calm by publicly stating they feel justice has been served and publicly ask others to stop harassing the accused.
“Actions have consequences,” Rudman said. “Once a person is willing to stand up and accept those consequences, no matter how big or how small the mistake, good things start to happen for that person. Most all others around them can’t help but start to respect that person once they accept responsibility. Even if they won’t admit it to others or themselves, they start the process of forgiveness. I believe everyone in this case needs to ask for or accept forgiveness. There has to be real consequences, but after those consequences are accepted, all parties can start to heal.”
Don Cupps, who is representing the accused, said he had no comment on the conditions Rudman has proposed.