Update: After being placed on administrative leave, Officer J.N. Snoddy was convicted of one count of misdemeanor cruelty to animals and fined.
The original post ran on December 15, 2011:
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When Harrisonburg, Virginia, police officer J.N. Snoddy was dispatched to render emergency aid to a cat who had been hit by a car and was partially paralyzed, he apparently decided that, instead of promptly and speedily driving the injured animal to the nearest emergency veterinary hospital (just 30 minutes away), he would instead beat the animal to death with his police-issued baton.
Good Samaritan and eyewitness Wayne Meadows, who originally called to get help for the injured cat, was so horrified by the officer’s alleged conduct that he vowed to publicize what had happened and make sure that no animal would ever be beaten and killed like that again.
Meadows called news outlets and contacted PETA to share what he witnessed. Thanks to his actions, which prompted a letter from PETA to officials and enormous public outcry, the Virginia State Police have launched a criminal investigation into Snoddy’s alleged conduct.
This case shows the power of one individual to bring about justice for animals. With an investigation now underway, PETA is hopeful that the Harrisonburg Police Department (HPD) will take us up on our offer to provide free training to all field staff in the humane and legal handling of animal emergencies. HPD is also being pressured to establish standard operating procedures for officers who evidently can’t always be trusted to use good judgment in animal-related cases.
If you ever witness cruelty to animals, and authorities don’t do their job, don’t hesitate to contact PETA for help.