Case Snapshot
Case ID: 1087
Classification: Neglect / Abandonment
Animal: dog (non pit-bull)
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Wednesday, Jul 31, 2002

County: Kanawha

Disposition: Convicted
Case Images: 1 files available

Defendant/Suspect: Hubert Wilmer

Case Updates: 2 update(s) available

The Humane Society of the United States is offering a 25 hundred dollar reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person responsible for the death of a Kanawha County dog named Sunbear.

The dog's owner, Hubert Wilmer, has twice failed to appear in court and is now a fugitive. Last August, Wilmer's ex-girlfriend discovered Sunbear at Wilmer's otherwise vacant Cross Lanes townhouse.

The young adult Labrador retriever weighed less than 25 pounds, a quarter of that breed's normal weight. Humane officers estimated Sunbear had been left in the home several weeks without food and water. Despite efforts by a veterinarian to save him, Sunbear died two days after being found.

Wilmer was charged with misdemeanor animal cruelty, a crime punishable with up to six months in jail and a one thousand dollar fine. Wilmer failed to appear in court October 21st and again on Tuesday.

A warrant has been issued for his arrest. Anyone with information about his whereabouts is asked to notify the authorities.

Case Updates

Two Indianapolis men will split $2,500 for turning in a man wanted for animal cruelty in West Virginia.

The reward came from the Humane Society of the United States, where officials were impressed that the men -- both Hooters restaurant employees in Indianapolis, Indiana-- would go so far as to run their own background check, through an Internet search engine, of a man who applied for a Downtown job.

The internet search showed the man was wanted on a warrant for starving a dog to death last year, and the actions of the restaurant workers led to an arrest.

"We respond to cases that need our attention," said Ann Chynoweth, counsel for investigative services for the Humane Society. "We're glad to see one lawbreaker in jail."

Hubert Wilmer, 41, who applied for the job, found himself being sent back to West Virginia, put on trial and convicted of starving his pet dog to death. The sentence was six months, the maximum term for a misdemeanor animal cruelty charge.

The story of Wilmer's dog, Sunbear, inflamed the passions of animal lovers in West Virginia.

In the summer of 2002, the chocolate Labrador retriever was left for at least six weeks in Wilmer's condominium without food or water. When Wilmer's girlfriend checked the condo and found the emaciated dog inside, the animal was barely able to stagger to its feet, roll down an embankment and struggle to a creek for water. The dog died two days later.

Wilmer was charged with animal cruelty and arrested. He posted bond but skipped at least two court dates, leading the court to issue a warrant for his arrest. He didn't surface until October 2002, when he got a job at the Hooters at 25 W. Georgia St.

According to the Humane Society, Bryant realized he had worked with Wilmer at another restaurant and passed the information along to Moberly, who ran Wilmer's name through an Internet search engine. Among the hits were references to a West Virginia newspaper story on the Sunbear case and the warrant for Wilmer's arrest.

Moberly contacted the Humane Society, which contacted a West Virginia humane officer, who persuaded the prosecutor's office in Kanawha County to ask that Wilmer be extradited on the cruelty warrant. That led to Wilmer's arrest and return to face charges in West Virginia, where he was convicted Feb. 26. The jury deliberated less than five minutes.
Update posted on Mar 12, 2004 - 12:15PM 
Wilmer has been convicted of animal cruelty by a six-person magistrate court jury yesterday. Wilmer represented himself during the trial and was sentenced immediately afterward.

He received the maximum sentence, six months in jail and a one-thousand-dollar fine. Wilmer will get credit for time served.

It took the jury only five minutes to deliberate.
Update posted on Feb 27, 2004 - 11:43AM 


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