Target: Iowa Court of Appeals
Goal: Condemn the Iowa Court of Appeals for refusing to punish an extreme case of animal abuse
In 2012, Zachary S. Meerdink was convicted of animal abuse for beating his seventh-month-old Boston terrier to death with a baseball bat. The puppy had had accidents in the home due to a weak stomach, had bit one of Meerdink’s girlfriend’s children, and was having trouble with training. So one afternoon after the puppy had an accident in the house, Meerdink left with the puppy and a baseball bat. When he returned he said the dog was dead. The body was later found in tall grass by the apartment building with severe damage to the head.
After the brutal act, Meerdink was convicted of animal abuse and was sentenced to two years of prison. However, the Iowa Court of Appeals overturned his conviction in a vote of 1 to 2 because they claimed the prosecutors failed to prove sufficiently that the act was done with “depraved” or “sadistic” intent. The Court of Appeals responded to the prosecutors by stating that “evidence that ‘merely raises suspicion, speculation or conjuncture’ is insufficient evidence.” They were referring to the fact that no one but Meerdink saw the killing take place, and that there was no “evidence” that it caused “a depraved intent to cause death to the dog.”
The puppy was exhibiting behaviors that are not particularly unusual for a young dog. Even though they were trying to train him, they only had the puppy for three months, and even a “troubled dog” does not deserve this kind of ending. The violent death was nowhere near justifiable, and Zachary S. Meerdink should have suffered. Please sign the petition if you believe that the Iowa Court of Appeals was unjust in its decision.
Dear Iowa Court of Appeals,
Recently I was disappointed to learn of your decision of overturning Zachary S. Meerdink’s conviction and sentence of two years of prison. I believe Meerdink deserved that punishment for clubbing his seventh-month-old puppy to death with a baseball bat.
Even though the murder was not witnessed by anyone other that Meerdink, it was clear that only one with “a depraved intent to cause death to the dog” would end a small creature’s life in such a violent manner. The puppy was innocent, displaying behaviors not particularly unusual for a dog so young. The trouble the puppy caused was in no way a means to justify its violent death.
If the puppy was so unwanted in the home, Meerdink could have given him away. Yet, he decided to take a barbaric and cruel approach, and that it why it is so clear that Meerdink should not have been excused for his crime. If a man who clubs his puppy to death can get away without being convicted for animal abuse, what hope do the rest of the abused and neglected animals in Iowa have?
I hope that you approach future animal abuse cases differently, to punish people for their crimes and discourage pain and suffering unto animals.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: wfwj via Flickr