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Community Should Fear for Its Safety, Say Experts
For Immediate Release: February 8, 2011
Contact: David Perle
Louisville, Ky. -- This morning, PETA sent an urgent plea to Assistant Commonwealth's Attorney Josh Schneider calling on his office to vigorously prosecute Alex Phelps of Bullitt County. Phelps faces charges stemming from his alleged torture and killing of four cats reportedly acquired through Craigslist ads. Two of the cats were found bound with duct tape and cable ties, and the other two had their throats cut and had been disemboweled. Jennifer Chappell, from whom Phelps had allegedly obtained three of the cats, told news sources, "I feel like he killed a part of me." Phelps reportedly obtained another cat from Chuck Aquadro, who added, "[W]hat is he going to do next? We worry about our animals now—will we have to worry about our kids?" Phelps is scheduled to appear in court this Thursday.
"The viciousness shown in the torturing and killing of these animals must not go unpunished," says PETA Director Martin Mersereau. "Area residents have reason to be concerned. According to leading mental-health professionals and law-enforcement agencies, Perpetrators of violent acts against animals are often repeat offenders who pose a serious threat to all animals, including humans."
PETA is asking that the defendant, if convicted, be sentenced to a period of incarceration, prohibited from owning or harboring animals, and ordered to undergo a thorough psychological evaluation followed by mandatory counseling.
The group also warns about the dangers of selling animals or placing "free to good home" ads in newspapers or on websites like Craigslist. Anyone who offers an animal up for adoption should personally visit the home of the potential guardian beforehand and follow up on the adoption later. Giving animals away to anyone who expresses an interest is irresponsible, and as this case demonstrates, the fates of these animals are often tragic.
For more information, please visit PETA's website HelpingAnimals.com. To view PETA's anti-violence public service announcement featuring Inglourious Basterds star and Hostel director Eli Roth, please visit PETA.org.
PETA's letter to Assistant Commonwealth's Attorney Josh Schneider follows.
February 8, 2011
The Honorable Josh SchneiderAssistant Commonwealth's AttorneyOffice of the Commonwealth's Attorney
Dear Mr. Schneider:
PETA is the world's largest animal rights organization, with more than 2 million members and supporters internationally. This letter concerns a recent case of cruelty to animals that your office is handling, involving Alex Phelps, 24. Phelps was charged for allegedly torturing to death four cats, whose bodies were found in Louisville in December. Two cats had reportedly been bound with duct tape and cable ties, and two others had their throats cut and were disemboweled. Phelps apparently sought his alleged victims through Craigslist ads. The defendant is scheduled to appear in court on these charges on February 10, 2011.
Mental-health professionals and top law enforcement officials consider animal abuse to be a red flag. The American Psychiatric Association identifies cruelty to animals as one of the diagnostic criteria for conduct disorders, and the FBI uses reports of animal abuse in analyzing the threat potential of suspected and known criminals. It is noteworthy that our nation's serial killers and tragic school shooters all share a history of cruelty to animals. Experts agree that it is the severity of the behavior—not the species of the victim—that matters.
On behalf of our thousands of members and supporters in Kentucky, we respectfully ask that, if convicted, in addition to serving a period of incarceration, the accused be required to undergo a thorough psychological evaluation followed by mandatory counseling at his own expense—the safety of the community may depend on it. Because repeat crimes are the rule rather than the exception among animal abusers and given the sadistic and depraved nature of Phelps' alleged actions, we implore your office to take every measure necessary to ensure that Phelps, if convicted, is prohibited from contact with animals for as long as possible and that all animals who may be in his charge are immediately seized.
Thank you for your diligence in this matter and for your time and consideration.
Kristin DeJournettSenior Cruelty CaseworkerCruelty Investigations Department
Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights? Read more.