On Tuesday, April 30, the Bellingham Herald reported that a 32-year-old man was arrested for suspicion of killing his roommate’s pet rabbit.
On the night of April 27, Gregory James Irons, 32, got into an argument with his 53-year-old roommate at the home they share on the 900 block of Key Street. According to the police, the roommate’s rabbit then wandered into Irons’ room.
Irons then “tossed the rabbit out of the room” as he told police after the attack. According to the police, Irons was tired of the pet having free range of the home.
Police spokesman Mark Young stated that after attacking the pet rabbit, Irons then attacked his roommate, leaving the latter with facial injuries.
When police arrived at the home, they found the rabbit in a flowerbed outside of the home. Sadly, the rabbit was already deceased. Despite throwing the rabbit, Irons claimed that he was not aware that it was injured.
Police arrested Irons on suspicion of three misdemeanors, including: third-degree domestic violence malicious mischief, fourth-degree domestic violence assault, and taking or killing a pet.
According to Whatcom Humane Society director Laura Clark, details on the rabbit, including its age, name, and gender, were not released.
This is not Irons’ first brush with the law: he has a felony on his record for illegal possession of a prescription drug.
Washington State has excellent animal cruelty laws that provide protection for animals and penalties for those who abuse and neglect them.
The Revised Code of Washington (RCW):
RCW 16.52.207 Animal cruelty in the second degree
(1) A person is guilty of animal cruelty in the second degree if, under circumstances not amounting to first degree animal cruelty, the person knowingly, recklessly, or with criminal negligence inflicts unnecessary suffering or pain upon an animal.
(2) An owner of an animal is guilty of animal cruelty in the second degree if, under circumstances not amounting to first degree animal cruelty, the owner knowingly, recklessly, or with criminal negligence:
(a) Fails to provide the animal with necessary shelter, rest, sanitation, space, or medical attention and the animal suffers unnecessary or unjustifiable physical pain as a result of the failure;
(b) Under circumstances not amounting to animal cruelty in the second degree under (c) of this subsection, abandons the animal; or
(c) Abandons the animal and (i) as a result of being abandoned, the animal suffers bodily harm; or (ii) abandoning the animal creates an imminent and substantial risk that the animal will suffer substantial bodily harm.
(3) Animal cruelty in the second degree is a gross misdemeanor.
(4) In any prosecution of animal cruelty in the second degree under subsection (1) or (2)(a) of this section, it shall be an affirmative defense, if established by the defendant by a preponderance of the evidence, that the defendant’s failure was due to economic distress beyond the defendant’s control.
Seattle Pets Examiner will continue to provide updates to this case.
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