A Kennewick, Washington man faces two counts of animal cruelty after being accused of kicking one dog to death and shooting another with a BB gun. On Sunday, May 19, the Tacoma News Tribune reported that Kristopher Quinn O’Neill, 21, is being held on $5,000 bail.
According to prosecutors, O’Neill was out of custody on the first Benton County Superior Court case when he committed the second crime. O’Neill faces two separate charges for animal cruelty in the first degree.
In the first case, a woman called police on Sept. 20 when she came home and found her dead dog. The woman was roommates with O’Neill, who claimed to officers that the television fell on top of the dog and killed it.
When police arrived at the scene, O’Neill was holding the dog’s collar.
A veterinary examination found that the dog died from blunt trauma to its head and neck. After a second interview, O’Neill admitted that he fabricated the story about the television. He allegedly stated that the dog got out of the bathroom and he kicked the dog with his boot to try to get it back into the bathroom. O’Neill faced charges on that case on Feb. 1.
Only one month later on March 1, Kennewick police responded again to a case of potential animal cruelty. One of O’Neill’s roommates told officers that she saw O’Neill sitting with a dog wrapped in a blanket. According to the roommate, this was odd behavior, as she had seen him kick, throw, and choke the dog in the past. According to court documents, she had seen O’Neill hold the dog against the wall by the throat the day before.
According to court documents, the roommate had previously seen O’Neill shoot at other dogs and cats and he had reportedly shot the dog he was holding in the blanket.
O’Neill denied the charge, claiming that the dog was hurt in a fight, but a veterinary examination confirmed that the dog’s puncture wound was consistent with a BB gun injury.
Officers later found a BB gun at O’Neill’s home. O’Neill denied shooting the dog.
O’Neill’s first of two cases is scheduled to go to trial on June 3.
If you see or suspect animal cruelty, please report it. Washington State has excellent animal cruelty laws that provide protection for animals and penalties for those who abuse and neglect them.
The Revised Code of Washington (RCW):
RCW 16.52.205 Animal cruelty in the first degree:
(1) A person is guilty of animal cruelty in the first degree when, except as authorized in law, he or she intentionally (a) inflicts substantial pain on, (b) causes physical injury to, or (c) kills an animal by a means causing undue suffering, or forces a minor to inflict unnecessary pain, injury, or death on an animal.
(2) A person is guilty of animal cruelty in the first degree when, except as authorized by law, he or she, with criminal negligence, starves, dehydrates, or suffocates an animal and as a result causes: (a) Substantial and unjustifiable physical pain that extends for a period sufficient to cause considerable suffering; or (b) death.
(3) A person is guilty of animal cruelty in the first degree when he or she:
(a) Knowingly engages in any sexual conduct or sexual contact with an animal;
(b) Knowingly causes, aids, or abets another person to engage in any sexual conduct or sexual contact with an animal;
(c) Knowingly permits any sexual conduct or sexual contact with an animal to be conducted on any premises under his or her charge or control;
(d) Knowingly engages in, organizes, promotes, conducts, advertises, aids, abets, participates in as an observer, or performs any service in the furtherance of an act involving any sexual conduct or sexual contact with an animal for a commercial or recreational purpose; or
(e) Knowingly photographs or films, for purposes of sexual gratification, a person engaged in a sexual act or sexual contact with an animal.
(4) Animal cruelty in the first degree is a class C felony.
(5) In addition to the penalty imposed in subsection (4) of this section, the court may order that the convicted person do any of the following:
(a) Not harbor or own animals or reside in any household where animals are present;
(b) Participate in appropriate counseling at the defendant’s expense;
(c) Reimburse the animal shelter or humane society for any reasonable costs incurred for the care and maintenance of any animals taken to the animal shelter or humane society as a result of conduct proscribed in subsection (3) of this section.
(6) Nothing in this section may be considered to prohibit accepted animal husbandry practices or accepted veterinary medical practices by a licensed veterinarian or certified veterinary technician.
(7) If the court has reasonable grounds to believe that a violation of this section has occurred, the court may order the seizure of all animals involved in the alleged violation as a condition of bond of a person charged with a violation.
(8) For purposes of this section:
(a) “Animal” means every creature, either alive or dead, other than a human being.
(b) “Sexual conduct” means any touching or fondling by a person, either directly or through clothing, of the sex organs or anus of an animal or any transfer or transmission of semen by the person upon any part of the animal, for the purpose of sexual gratification or arousal of the person.
(c) “Sexual contact” means any contact, however slight, between the mouth, sex organ, or anus of a person and the sex organ or anus of an animal, or any intrusion, however slight, of any part of the body of the person into the sex organ or anus of an animal, or any intrusion of the sex organ or anus of the person into the mouth of the animal, for the purpose of sexual gratification or arousal of the person.
(d) “Photographs” or “films” means the making of a photograph, motion picture film, videotape, digital image, or any other recording, sale, or transmission of the image.
RCW 16.52.207 Animal cruelty in the second degree:
(1) A person is guilty of animal cruelty in the second degree if, under circumstances not amounting to first degree animal cruelty, the person knowingly, recklessly, or with criminal negligence inflicts unnecessary suffering or pain upon an animal.
(2) An owner of an animal is guilty of animal cruelty in the second degree if, under circumstances not amounting to first degree animal cruelty, the owner knowingly, recklessly, or with criminal negligence:
(a) Fails to provide the animal with necessary shelter, rest, sanitation, space, or medical attention and the animal suffers unnecessary or unjustifiable physical pain as a result of the failure;
(b) Under circumstances not amounting to animal cruelty in the second degree under (c) of this subsection, abandons the animal; or
(c) Abandons the animal and (i) as a result of being abandoned, the animal suffers bodily harm; or (ii) abandoning the animal creates an imminent and substantial risk that the animal will suffer substantial bodily harm.
(3) Animal cruelty in the second degree is a gross misdemeanor.
(4) In any prosecution of animal cruelty in the second degree under subsection (1) or (2)(a) of this section, it shall be an affirmative defense, if established by the defendant by a preponderance of the evidence, that the defendant’s failure was due to economic distress beyond the defendant’s control
Seattle Pets Examiner will continue to post updates to this case as they occur.
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