A Las Vegas woman and her accomplice appeared in court again last week accused of plotting to burn down her pet shop, with the intention of killing all 27 puppies inside.
These contenders, for the most heartless assholes of the year, each face 31 criminal charges including arson, conspiracy and burglary as well as 27 counts of attempted cruelty to animals – one count for every puppy that may have died if their plan had succeeded.
A huge crowd of protestors was there to greet them as they made their 3rd appearance since their arrest in February. One of the protesters was eventually ushered out of the county justice centre by armed marshals after she confronted store owner Gloria Eun Hye Lee with angry words.
“When you intentionally attempt to burn to death 27 puppies, what do you expect?” said Gina Greisen, head of Nevada Voters for Animals, an advocacy group.
Lee stands accused with a man called Kirk Bills of deliberately setting fire to her store, Prince and Princess in January. However, firefighters luckily got there in time and managed to save all of the puppies, which are now with a local animal shelter. The fire was initially a mystery until someone discovered surveillance footage, which captured the entire crime. In the video, Bills is seen carrying red petrol cans when Lee lets him into the Prince and Princess pet shop around 1am on the 27th of January. Bills poured the petrol around the store and puppy kennels, while Lee collects files from the office and takes out some empty petrol cans. The two then leave through the back door after Bills lights newspapers and starts the fire.
The judge acknowledged that emotions were running high. So Lee and Bills were allowed to leave from the back entrance of the court. Although if they are indeed guilty of such a dreadful crime, having to face an angry crowd must surely be regarded as less stressful than being deliberately locked inside a burning building and almost burned to death like the puppies.
“I can presume she’s going to go to prison for this,” prosecutor Shannon Clowers said during Lee’s first court appearance. “This is absolutely, 100 percent egregious.”
Both Lee and Bills, who had an outstanding arrest warrant when he was arrested for this crime have pleaded not guilty to all the charges against them, which could potentially see them imprisoned for decades. Last Wednesday Judge David Barker also pushed the trial back, to the 14th of July, to allow for a new hearing scheduled for the 5th of May, to hear a claim that the original court indictment against them was flawed. So there is now a chance that both may actually walk free on a legal technicality in May. Until then both Lee and Bills will each remain in jail unless someone pays their $310,000 bail.
The above story will have undoubtedly stirred a few emotions among doggy people, particularly those from my own neck of the woods in Turkey. I have wanted to discuss this as a more general issue, perhaps taking up an entire post – but knowing my friends fall generally into the lets do all we can for the street dogs of Turkey and those who couldn’t care less, I have tended to sit on the fence in an attempt to not alienate one side or another.
I have my own theories on this subject and will certainly write about it in the future. However, before I lift my head above the parapet and describe the issue as I see it in more depth, I invite anyone with an opinion to get in touch and let me know your own thoughts: Is what happens now in Turkey good? bad? could it be improved and if so how? So let me know your views, I know they are out there as I am regularly asked to write a post on the subject. Anyhow please comment below or send me a Twitter direct message, or simply send me an email to the usual address above.