Give Animals Like Max the Kitten a Second ChancePosted by Stephen Wells, ALDF's Executive Director on December 1st, 2009
Second chances come in many forms, and Max the kitten's second chance came thanks to a tireless prosecutor, an aggressive judge, and some help from the Animal Legal Defense Fund. After a terrifying start in life, Max is not only safe and now part of a loving family, but his ordeal has led to a pioneering court ruling that may set a precedent for future cases involving companion animals.
It's the generosity of ALDF supporters like you that make this work possible. Please help us continue our fight for animals like Max who need a second chance.
Last January, Dustin Teahon of Scottsbluff, Nebraska, assaulted his girlfriend and kicked her young cat Max down a flight of stairs. Max sustained serious injury, including possible neurological trauma, and the girlfriend ended her relationship with Teahon. When the couple reconciled, Teahon's girlfriend wanted Max returned to their home. Fortunately, authorities recognized that allowing Max to return to his guardian and her abusive boyfriend would place him in grave danger.
Scotts Bluff County Attorney Tiffany Wasserburger, who oversaw the criminal case against Teahon, knew that she faced a daunting legal challenge to prevent Max from being returned to his abuser's home. So, Wasserburger turned to the Animal Legal Defense Fund for help. Ultimately, Teahon was sentenced to jail, and the judge allowed Max to be adopted into a new home where he can play, cuddle, and catnap without fear.
"I can't even express how ALDF helped me in this case. They pointed me in the right direction for research and legal authority and helped me develop several alternative arguments so the judge had several grounds on which to rest his decision. I am so grateful that we were able to save Max's life. If he had been returned to his original home, odds are that he would not be alive today."Be the guardian angel that gives an animal a second chance this holiday season. Your contribution will go toward bringing animal abusers to justice and ensuring that animal victims like Max are given a second chance to experience what all animal companions deserve: a safe and loving home.
Tiffany Wasserburger, Scotts Bluff County Attorney