Case Snapshot
Case ID: 3134
Classification: Mutilation/Torture
Animal: cat
More cases in Flathead County, MT
More cases in MT
Login to Watch this Case

New features are coming soon. Login with Facebook to get an early start and help us test them out!

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

Monday, Nov 15, 2004

County: Flathead

Disposition: Convicted

Defendant/Suspect: Jon Lawler

Case Updates: 3 update(s) available

Hunter John Lawler admitted today that several area kittens have fallen victim to his hunting dogs. Despite having allowed it to happen, Lawler "insists" he did nothing wrong.

The Hedges family is one of many hunter John Lawler targeted for free kittens. The 18-year old has since admitted to using them as bait to train his hunting dogs for cougar season. "He outlined that in his statement that he did do it," said Animal Warden Mike Hall.

Hall is working with the city and county attorneys to determine which office will charge Lawler. "The offense occurred in the county. The resignation of the animals occurred in the city," said hall.

Lawler told NBC-Montana, "I just want it to be over. It's not a big thing. I'm going to take more cats and do the same thing again."

Case Updates

Lawler who admitted taking kittens advertised as "free to good homes" and using them to train a hunting dog was sentenced to a jail term on a charge of cruelty to animals.

Jon Lawler, 19, said he used the kittens to train his Walker hound, turning them loose so the dog could tree them and then shooting them.

Justice of the Peace David Ortley sentenced Lawler to 20 days in jail, giving him credit for 12 already served. He also was assigned to read two books on hunting ethics and write his thoughts about the books. He also was fined $560 and banned from hunting mountain lions for two years.
Source: Montana Standard
Update posted on Nov 30, 2004 - 8:10AM 
Lawler pleaded guilty on Nov 17 to two counts of cruelty to animals for using cats and kittens to train his dogs.

Lawler appeared in Justice Court, where Justice of the Peace David Ortley set a Nov. 26 sentencing date. Lawler faces a fine of up to $1,000 and up to a year in jail for each count.

According to the criminal complaint against him, Lawler admits going to four homes to pick up kittens that had been advertised to be given away. At one home, he said he "would not pay for a kitten that would end up dead."

He admitted turning cats loose for his dogs to chase down and kill. He said he saw nothing wrong with that and knew of 10 stray cats near a friend's house that he wants to catch to train his dogs with this weekend.

Lawler was arrested as he drove Wednesday. Officers learned he is also wanted on three tickets for driving with a suspended or expired license, two counts of speeding, and having an expired driver's license
Source: The Daily Inter Lake - Nov 17, 2004
Update posted on Nov 19, 2004 - 12:53AM 
Lawler was arrested on the morning of Nov 17 at his Evergreen home. He faces two misdemeanor charges of animal cruelty after admitting to killing at least two kittens to train his hunting dogs for cougar season. The incident occurred in the mountains near Tally Lake.

Lawler faces up to one year in county jail and a maximum $1,000 fine.
Source: NBC Montana - Nov 17, 2004
Update posted on Nov 19, 2004 - 12:51AM 


« MT State Animal Cruelty Map
« More cases in Flathead County, MT

Note: Classifications and other fields should not be used to determine what specific charges the suspect is facing or was convicted of - they are for research and statistical purposes only. The case report and subsequent updates outline the specific charges. Charges referenced in the original case report may be modified throughout the course of the investigation or trial, so case updates, when available, should always be considered the most accurate reflection of charges.

For more information regarding classifications and usage of this database, please visit the database notes and disclaimer.