2012-06-02 / Editorials & Letters

Law protects pets

Editor:

In my last letter I stated that Kirkersville Police Chief James Chapman told me that Kirkersville was going to “call in an agency to come in and exterminate cats.” I talked to Mayor Terry Ashcraft and told him those were Chapman’s exact words to me. Ashcraft said that was the first he had heard that and he didn’t “think that was quite right.” He said that Chapman had told him about “a deal where he found a place in Columbus where, if we catch them and take them in there, they’ll put them to sleep for $60 per cat.” Ashcraft said that Chapman had volunteered to take the cats in himself but this has not gone before council.

Chapman told me that three Kirkersville citizens (who complained about stray cats) were told by an officer (whom I will refer to as Officer X) at a county agency that they could legally exterminate cats and he claims that he verified that with Officer X. Chapman continued this charade by saying that he couldn’t find anything in the Ohio Revised Code about cats and Officer X told him, “There’s a reason you’re not finding anything, Sir. There’s nothing about cats and if somebody wants to sit on their porch and shoot a cat, that’s not somebody’s pet, that’s just like shooting a groundhog.” I spoke to Officer X and, as I suspected, Chapman DIDN’T TELL THE TRUTH!

Officer X told me, “That is NOT what I said!” He stated that the county facility won’t take cats but, he says, “Cats are domesticated animals...You can’t shoot them!” Officer X said that Chief Chapman shouldn’t be telling anyone they can harm a cat because whoever does is “going to get in trouble.”

What a slap in the face of GOOD police officers when another police officer....a CHIEF OF POLICE.... can boldly and blatantly tell fabrications....especially against other officers or departments!

It is the DUTY of the council and mayor to know what their police officers are doing and saying. The Kirkersville mayor and council cannot claim ignorance because that would mean that they are uninformed or had no knowledge of what their chief is up to. Not only have I brought things to their attention, a local newspaper did several stories on the actions of Chapman and another officer (who resigned from Kirkersville in April) at their previous police jobs which showed that Chapman did not tell the truth on his application to Kirkersville!

Here’s a short lesson on the law for Chief Chapman and anyone else who thinks cats aren’t protected by law:

The needless killing of any cat is a violation of Ohio Revised Code section 959.131(B). Pursuant to Ohio Revised Code section 959.99(E)(1), this is a firstdegree misdemeanor for the first offense [possible punishment up to six months in jail and a $1000 fine] and a fifth-degree felony for any subsequent offense.

Ohio Revised Code section 959.131(A): (1) “Companion animal” means any animal that is kept inside a residential dwelling and any dog or cat regardless of where it is kept. “Companion animal” does not include livestock or any wild animal.

(2) “Cruelty,” “torment,” and “torture” have the same meanings as in section 1717.01 of the Revised Code. [Ohio Revised Code section 1717.01(B) “Cruelty,” “torment,” and “torture” include every act, omission, or neglect by which unnecessary or unjustifiable pain or suffering is caused, permitted, or allowed to continue, when there is a reasonable remedy or relief;]

Ohio Revised Code section 959.131(B): No person shall knowingly torture, tor- ment, needlessly mutilate or maim, cruelly beat, poison, needlessly kill, or commit an act of cruelty against a companion animal.

On the subject of lessons and the law, records from the Ohio Police Officer Training Academy (OPOTA), former Kirkersville Chief Mark Colburn is still listed as being a Kirkersville police officer even though Mayor Ashcraft said that Colburn resigned and there are only five officers (Chapman, Shepherd, Sayatovich, Eiferd and Sanders). OPOTA says their office has not received paperwork from Chief Chapman regarding Colburn ending his employment at Kirkersville and pursuant to Revised Code 109.761, agencies are required to report terminations within 10 days of the termination.

Chief Chapman was sent a notice last year regarding Kirkersville Officer Jason Shepherd’s training requirements. Shepherd’s record from OPOTA shows that he was discharged from Alexandria PD on December 31, 2009, for “Failure to satisfy requirements of the department.” Shepherd didn’t hold a commission again until he was hired in Kirkersville on May 21, 2011. When there is a break in a police officer’s commission of one year, that officer has one year, after being hired, to take a refresher course.

OPOTA tells me that they have never received anything further from Chief Chapman showing that Officer Shepherd has received the required training and that, “Mr. Shepherd cannot perform the duties of a peace officer!” (OAC 109:2-1-12 Certification before service and re-entry requirements.) Council and mayor need to note that they have an officer on the street who is not permitted to be a police officer! Wouldn’t that be great news for someone who received a ticket from this non-officer and wants to fight that citation?

Again, I challenge Chief Chapman to research the law for himself. And, please, Chief, get very familiar with the animal cruelty laws because if you allow people to poison, shoot or harm cats in any way, you’re going to have to explain to a lot of people, how you justify not enforcing the law and, in fact, BREAKING the law that you swore to uphold!

Bonnie Mansfield
Buckeye Lake

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