PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) – New ‘get tough’ laws are needed for those who kill animals, according to the owner of a black-lab/Grant Dane mix that was found dead inside a stolen vehicle.
Bill Robbins, the owner of Kona, went before a judge on Monday and described the actions of the person who allegedly killed his dog as unthinkable. Robbins says the state needs to pass stronger laws that will put animal killers behind bars.
He’s upset that, as it stands right now, prosecutors cannot charge someone with a felony for killing an animal unless the animal was killed in a malicious way or intentionally and knowingly tortures the animal.
Officials tell KOIN 6 News that in the case of Francisco Vincent Gonzalez, 34, there is no evidence to show that he either tortured or maliciously killed the dog.
Gonzalez pleaded not guilty to the indictment he faces.
“In order to prove either one of those (theories), what you have prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, is that you know what the actor – or the person’s mental state was – when they did what they did,” Oregon Animal Cruelty Deputy District Jake Kamins says.
Law enforcement officials say there is evidence to suggest that Gonzalez committed the crime of first-degree animal abuse, which is a misdemeanor, by “cruelly” causing the death of Kona when he neglected and abandoned Kona in the vehicle that he reportedly stole.
“We take any violation of the law very seriously including these types of cases,” Multnomah County Senior District Attorney Brian Davidson said.
Davidson is prosecuting the case against Gonzalez. He says the DA’s Office consulted with state and national animal cruelty experts about this case when making a charging decision.
He says “the area of animal abuse law is developing.”
“Hopefully I’ll be a part of that change,” Robbins says. “I won’t let this go.”
Gonzalez entered a plea of not guilty. He is due back in court next month where a trial date will be set.