Target: Bay County District Judge Dawn A. Kilda
Goal: Stop man accused of assault from euthanizing his dog in exchange for a shorter prison sentence
John LeBeau, a Michigan man accused of encouraging his pit bull, Rueger, to attack another person, recently received a plea offer that would reduce his sentence, but would also result in Rueger being euthanized. It is likely the first case of its kind. The deal gives LeBeau two choices: turn down the offer and receive an extended sentence, or accept and agree to Rueger being euthanized in exchange for a shorter sentence. The case is essentially a matter of blame and Rueger’s life hangs on whether or not LeBeau chooses to blame himself or his dog for the act.
This is clearly a gross violation of animal rights. Despite the fact that it is absurd to make a plea offer in which the life of an animal is dependent upon a man’s willingness to admit his own guilt, Rueger does not have the ability to defend himself. Regardless of his actions, the blame should fall on his owner. Dogs, like children, are not inherently aggressive, but made so by teaching and by circumstance. Rueger attacking another man at the request of LeBeau should not result in his death and his owner only receiving a short prison sentence.
Thankfully, the local community has already stepped in to help fight for Rueger’s life. Dee Bishop, president of Bay County’s Humane Society, has been actively contesting the decision and is hoping the courts will consider putting Rueger through a temperament evaluation with a licensed dog trainer to determine his aggressiveness and whether or not he can be trained. Friends and family of LeBeau also brought a photo album and a collection of letters in support of Rueger, all of which claiming that he has never shown aggressive tendencies before.
These few people cannot do the job alone, however, and need our help. The Bay County Court system needs to know that this kind of cruel insensitivity will not be tolerated. Pets should not be punished for the actions of their owners, nor should they be made indefensible in cases in which their welfare is involved. Please show your support: give Rueger a chance at life and ensure that this kind of bargaining never happens again.
Dear Judge Kilda,
Allowing John LeBeau to receive a shorter sentence by agreeing to euthanize his dog, Rueger, is both cruel and a violation of the dog’s rights. A dog should never be punished for the actions and teachings of its owner. The very fact that the plea offer is contingent upon LeBeau choosing his life over Rueger’s despite the dog’s inability to defend himself is a horrific injustice.
Please set an example and do not let this man choose whether or not Rueger has the right to live because of what he, LeBeau himself, encouraged him to do. At the very least give Rueger the chance to show his innocence by allowing him to complete a temperament evaluation. Every living thing deserves that chance.
[Your Name Here]