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Monday, Oct 2, 2000County: Anne Arundel
Defendant/Suspect: John Zeits Jr
Case Updates: 1 update(s) available
John Zeits Jr, 24, slit his dog's throat and stabbed it in the head leaving it for dead. Max, a spaniel-type mixed breed had bitten Zeits' 16-month old daughter in the face, and he wanted the dog dead before he and his wife took their daughter to an emergency room.
The dog managed to crawl out of the concrete cylinder where Zeits said he had left the wounded animal. A passerby, Suzanne Andreas, rushed the bleeding dog to a veterinarian who saved Max's life.
Zeits is appealing his July convictions in District Court on charges of animal cruelty and mutilation. The case is scheduled to go to the nine man, three woman jury on Dec 12, 2001.
Zeits testified he attempted to kill the dog to protect his child and others. He thought that slitting Max's throat was a humane means and a quick, relatively painless death. It was how he was taught to slaughter animals during the two years he spent on an Eastern Shore farm.
The 7-inch long cut missed the dog's jugular vein which would have been a fatal wound.
The law allowing owners to kill their animals applies to livestock, not pets. The prosecutor said Zeits attacked Max in anger. Zeits said "maybe" he acted in rage - taking his utility knife not only to its throat, but also five times to the dog's head and trying to break its neck.
The scrawny stray jumped into Zeits' truck one day at a 7-Eleven store. Zeits was happy to adopt the mutt and nurse him back to health. He couldn't believe that Max snapped at his wife and daughter.
Last Oct 2 when his daughter hugged Max he nipped her cheek. His wife, Dawn, called her husband. Before leaving for North Arundel Hospital he grabbed the dog and thought he killed it.
Zeits testified, "I knew that animal control could have put down Max, but I took care of it myself."
Max is at the animal shelter. Neither the prosecutor nor the animal control officers want Max returned to Zeits. Several people have expressed interest in adopting Max.
|Zeits is convicted of animal cruelty. The verdict ended the two day trial of John Zeits Jr who appealed his July convictions. The conviction on Dec 12, 2001 carries a maximum penalty of 90 days in jail. Sentencing is scheduled for Feb 4, 2002.|
|Source: The Baltimore Sun - Dec 13, 2001|
Update posted on Mar 11, 2005 - 8:23PM
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