2009-07-18 / News

Buckeye Lake resident facing animal cruelty charge

BUCKEYE LAKE - A 14- year-old Buckeye Lake girl reported that her mother beat their six-pound Chihuahua, Zoey, to death.

According to a Buckeye Lake police report, Patrolman Bruce Edwards had just finished a domestic standby as a Pataskala man picked up his 14-year-old daughter from his ex-wife's Buckeye Lake residence July 7. The man told Edwards that his daughter said her mother, Buckeye Lake resident Retta McKibben, 39, 265 East Street, came home intoxicated, grabbed Zoey by the neck, and slammed the dog into the ground until it died. The daughter gave a written statement and told Edwards the dog's body was wrapped in a sheet in a chair near a trash can. Edwards found the dog's body and turned it over to animal control.

According to Licking County Animal Control's report, the dog's skull was crushed, its spinal cord separated from its skull, and its heart bruised.

"The lesions of the skull were the cause of death in this animal," Licking County Animal Control Director Jon Luzio wrote in his report.

"The daughter did the right thing" by reporting her mother, said Buckeye Lake Police Capt. James Hanzey. He said the daughter later reported that the dog simply fell off a bed and died, but the injuries the dog sustained do not support that claim. Hanzey added that three other dogs were removed from McKibben's home.

McKibben was arraigned in Licking County Court Tuesday, where she pleaded not guilty to a Cruelty to Animals charge, a first-degree misdemeanor carrying maximum penalties of 180 days in jail and a $1,000 fine. As of Tuesday, she was being heldin jail on a $5,000 bond.

"This is an absolute tragedyfor the dog, for the community, and for the young girl who witnessed the crime," said Buckeye Lake resident Bonnie Mansfield, of BARK Animal Rescue. "My heart goes out to the victims and I pray for justice for this defenseless little dog, Zoey." Mansfield said she and Paula Evans, of Johnstown's Second Chance Humane Society, offered to be volunteer Buckeye Lake humane officers. "It's time to let this community know that animal cruelty will no longer be tolerated in Buckeye Lake, Ohio," said Mansfield.

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