Phoenix, Ariz – This morning, PETA sent an urgent plea to Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery calling on him to vigorously prosecute Russell Files of El Mirage. Files, who was employed by U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Wildlife Services, allegedly set two steel-jaw traps to ensnare a neighbor’s dog in January. The dog, Zoey, was reportedly discovered with both traps clamped down on her legs, covered with blood, and missing seven teeth, apparently from attempting to chew her way free. Files—who has since admitted to setting the traps, according to news sources—is scheduled to appear in court tomorrow.
“Steel-jaw traps—which are so cruel that they have been banned for any use whatsoever in 88 countries—cut through the flesh and can even crush bones, so there’s no doubt that Zoey was in excruciating pain,” says PETA Director Martin Mersereau. “Maricopa County residents shouldn’t have to live in fear that the same federal authorities who are supposed to protect animals are going to harm them intentionally.”
PETA is asking that Files, if convicted, be sentenced to a period of incarceration, prohibited from owning or harboring animals for as long as possible, and ordered to undergo a thorough psychological evaluation followed by mandatory counseling and anger-management classes at his own expense.
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 http://www.petatv.com/tvpopup/Prefs.asp?video=eli_roth_violence_link_psa_peta.
PETA’s letter to Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery follows.
July 16, 2013
The Honorable Bill Montgomery, County Attorney
Maricopa County Attorney’s Office
301 W. Jefferson St., Ste. 800
Phoenix, AZ 85003
Dear Mr. Montgomery:
PETA is an international animal protection organization with more than 3 million members and supporters globally. This letter concerns a case that your office is handling that involves Russell Files of El Mirage. According to reports, he faces charges of cruelty to animals stemming from an alleged January 2013 incident during which Files, employed at the time by U.S. Wildlife Services, deliberately set two steel-jaw traps to ensnare a neighbor’s dog. The dog, Zoey, was reportedly discovered on her side with the traps clamped down on two legs, “covered in blood,” and missing seven teeth as an apparent result of her attempts to chew her way free. Files is scheduled to appear in court on these charges tomorrow.
As you likely know, 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. The link between animal abuse and interpersonal violence is undeniable, and the safety of the community may depend upon a vigorous prosecution of this case. Please see the attached document for more information.
On behalf of our thousands of members and supporters in Arizona, we respectfully ask that Files, if convicted, be required to undergo a thorough psychological evaluation followed by mandatory counseling (and anger-management classes) at his own expense in addition to serving a period of incarceration. Because repeat crimes are the rule rather than the exception among animal abusers and given the callousness of his alleged actions, we ask that Files, if convicted, also be prohibited from contact with animals for as long as possible.
Thank you for your time and consideration and for the difficult work that you do.
Senior Cruelty Caseworker
Cruelty Investigations Department