Case Snapshot
Case ID: 18111
Classification: Mutilation/Torture
Animal: rodent/small mammal (pet)
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Prosecutor(s): Doug Bayly
Defense(s): Jacob Linares
Judge(s): Robert Adkins

For more information about the Interactive Animal Cruelty Maps, see the map notes.

Wednesday, Mar 16, 2011

County: Tooele

Charges: Misdemeanor
Disposition: Dismissed

Person of Interest: Andy Ray Harris

Case Updates: 1 update(s) available

A man accused of eating a live baby rat and then posting a video of it on the Internet is scheduled to appear in court Tuesday.

Andy Ray Harris, 31, was charged in Tooele's 3rd District Court with aggravated cruelty to an animal, a class A misdemeanor.

The video shows Harris putting a hairless baby rat into his mouth, taking a drink, chewing, swallowing and then high-fiving someone off camera, according to the Tooele Transcript.

Harris claimed he ate the rat on a dare, according to the newspaper, and that the rodent was about to be fed to a snake before he ate it.

The video was spotted by a member of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals and a link was forwarded to the Tooele City Attorney's Office.

Monday, assistant city attorney Doug Bayly offered few details about the case, and the Tooele City Police Department referred all calls to Bayly. A person who answered the phone in the office of Harris' attorney, Jacob Linares, on Monday said Linares was out of the office for the day.

According to court documents, the alleged incident happened on March 16 and the case was filed on April 8. The next court hearing is scheduled for Tuesday.

Case Updates

A judge has dismissed the animal cruelty case against a Tooele man who ate a baby rat on a dare that made its way online.

Andy Ray Harris, 31, was charged in 3rd District Court in May after video of him eating the animal was posted on YouTube.

Last week, however, Judge Robert Adkins dismissed the class A misdemeanor charge against Harris.

Harris told police he ate the rat "on a dare from his friends."

In the 45-second Internet video, the hairless rat squirms on a piece of a paper for a moment before Harris picks it up and puts it in his mouth, as others cheer him on.

The defendant admitted the act was "unusual and grotesque," according to court documents, but not illegal.

According to documents filed with the court, Harris argued that "for centuries rats have been a scourge to humanity and should have no legal protections," and that "since this rat was destined to be eaten by a snake anyway, it made no difference" that he ate it.

He also pointed to other efforts to capture and kill rats that result in more painful deaths than being eaten, but have not resulted in prosecution.

Prosecutors argued that the rat was a domesticated animal, or, at least, that Harris did not follow proper husbandry practices.

"A person eating a live, baby rat on a dare is not an accepted husbandry practice," prosecutors wrote.

Calls seeking comment from attorneys in the case were not immediately returned Monday.
Source: - Oct 3, 2011
Update posted on Oct 3, 2011 - 7:11PM 


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