Case Snapshot
Case ID: 18021
Classification: Burning - Fire or Fireworks
Animal: dog (non pit-bull)
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Animal was bound
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Tuesday, May 31, 2011

County: Okmulgee

Disposition: Not Charged

Abuser names unreleased

Case Updates: 1 update(s) available

We know ranchers brand their animals, but branding a pet dog.... one woman heard it happen and never wants to hear it again.

Tied to this chain is this border collie- recently branded here, by his owner.

"We heard a dog crying out in pain," says Beggs resident, Cindy Hubbell. "Oh my God I can't even describe it."

Cindy Hubbell and her friend were walking passed their neighbors' backyard on Tuesday.

"We saw two men in the backyard with a border collie type dog suspended with a chain around it's neck," describes Hubbell. "He had the chain in his hand and he was holding the dog up by its feet. This is the dog, and this is the chain link fence, and this is the gate, they were smashing the dog against the fence, like a squeeze shoot.

She had to do something.

"What are you doing to that dog?" she shouted at her neighbor. "Stop it. You're hurting that dog. A man with the branding iron in his hand said I am branding this dog. I brand all my dogs."

Hubbell shouted back.

"We immediately at that time told him that is illegal, that's against the law, that's cruelty, we are going to call the police," says Hubbell.

But the Beggs police told her, she is wrong. Branding a dog is not illegal.

"I was somewhat dismayed that our Oklahoma laws against cruelty to animals did not protect this dog," exclaims Hubbell.

She tells me our state laws are flawed. Saying, a dog is a domesticated animal. And does not have hide like cows or horses.

"So when that dog was being branded it was burning it's skin, so any woman who's ever used a curling iron and burned herself knows how it felt and knows how that dog felt as it was being burned," explains Hubbell.

I spoke with Beggs Chief of Police, off camera. He says, right after the incident, the owner brought the dog over to the police station, and to him, 'It didn't look like animal cruelty, not even a seeping wound."

"We have dog tags, we have micro chips, tattooing, there is no reason in the year 2011 to burn a pet's flesh to for the purposes of identification," says Hubbell.

The animal lover in Hubbell won't stop until Oklahoma law better defines animal cruelty.

"We were just mortified absolutely mortified, and we were going to stop it," says Hubbell.

I knocked on the dog owner's front door, but there was no answer.

Beggs police want to know this, what about when an owner pins a dogs ears back or cuts its tail off- who's to say branding them is any different?


Case Updates

A hot iron, a permanent mark on a dog and now people are asking what is the difference between animal abuse and animal branding? The talk is centered on an incident reported to have happened to a dog in Beggs, south of Tulsa, in Okmulgee County.

A woman walking by a yard last week says she saw a man reportedly branding an animal. "It happened, I am investigating whether or not what happened-- did what happen constitute a law violation or not," says Beggs Police Chief Wes Fish.

He says the witness has not filed a police complaint or witness statement and he is trying to gather that information. "The problem with law enforcement and citizens that get overzealous, they can get on Facebook and type all of these crazy things that I get phone calls, left and right, from people telling me about how they are talking about lynching this guy and things like this but, yet, a determination hasn't been made whether he violated a state law yet," says Fish.

He says the animal cruelty law does not spell out what IS and what IS NOT animal abuse. Fish says it is not like a DUI arrest, "At this point I can't submit a probably cause finding to go and arrest this guy because it is not a clear cut violation of the law."

Fish says the dog has a permanent mark but no one has been arrested. He says he isn't the one to decide if the branding measures up to animal cruelty. "That is up to the District Attorney to decide- that is not up to me. The law specifically does not tell you- you can't do this and this and this to a dog," says Fish. He says the dog owner has branded other animals in the past.

But, clearly the woman who saw the branding, as she was walking, is upset after contacting Tulsa media and now animal lovers are posting comments on various social media sites about the incident.
Source: krmg.com - Jun 6, 2011
Update posted on Jun 7, 2011 - 7:23PM 

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