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Road Rage Dog Killer Convicted

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 
I know this isn't cat related but it is still newsworthy. It's about the jerk that threw the dog onto the california freeway after the dog's owner "tapped" his bumpter.

Man Guilty in Road Rage Dog Death
The Associated Press
Jun 19 2001 3:52PM

SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) - A man was found guilty Tuesday of animal cruelty for tossing a small dog to its death on a busy highway after a minor traffic accident.
The jury took less than an hour to convict Andrew Burnett of the felony cruelty count. Burnett, 27, could face up to three years in prison in the killing of Leo, a 10-year-old bichon frise, in the highly publicized road rage incident.

Burnett sat motionless as the verdict was read in a courtroom teeming with onlookers and media. Dog owner Sara McBurnett, seated near the back of the courtroom, held a friend's hand tightly and nodded

Sentencing was set for July 13.

McBurnett, a real estate agent from Nevada, said that after a minor traffic accident in February 2000 the defendant yelled at her, reached in through her open car window with both arms and grabbed her dog.

Soon after, she spotted Leo running across two lanes of traffic, and the dog was struck seconds later. The fluffy white dog died later at a veterinary hospital.

``He was running terrified. I could tell by his eyes,'' she testified earlier this month. ``They just ran right over him in front of me.''

News reports about the incident spurred outrage among animal lovers. Citizens and well-wishers collected $120,000 in reward money for information leading to an arrest.

Closing arguments wrapped up Monday, without Burnett ever taking the stand in his own defense.

In his argument, prosecutor Troy Benson asked the jury to hold Burnett criminally accountable for the dog's death.

``It's just an angry man who did a grossly negligent act by throwing this dog into traffic,'' Benson told the jury.

``What was he thinking when he reached into the car and grabbed that dog?'' Benson said. ``Did he think Leo wanted a walk? Did he think the dog needed some fresh air?''

Burnett's attorney maintained that his client instinctively snatched the dog from the car after being bitten on the hand.

Defense lawyer Marc Garcia urged the jury to closely consider the requirement of finding gross negligence. He said the case a decision to find his client guilty of a felony should not be taken lightly.

``This isn't a game. This is real lives, real people,'' Garcia said.

McBurnett said she planned to testify again at the sentencing.

``It wasn't just a dog to me,'' she said. ``For me it was my child. He killed my baby right in front of me.''

The verdict, she said, ``doesn't bring Leo back but at least Leo had his day. One cruel person has been accountable for their cruelty.''

After the verdict was announced, Garcia said because of the public's reaction to the dog's death, ````The deck was so stacked against (Burnett) in this case from day one.''

Burnett had been jailed in December on charges of grand theft, filing a false document in court and having a dangerous weapon while in jail. He was accused of stealing thousands of dollars worth of tools from his employer, Pacific Bell, and of lying to get out of a speeding ticket.

post #2 of 12
Three years in jail I don't think its enoough. I think about 10 or more. I don't know what people think these days. The man was a big jerk! Thank goodness he was punished.
post #3 of 12
I personally think he should be thrown in traffic and see what happens. I am glad at least he got some punishment but it's never enough. Thanks Donna for letting us know about this.
post #4 of 12
I am glad justice was served. Too many times animal cruelty goes unpunished.
post #5 of 12
Although I haven't heard details of the case over here, thanks for posting the verdict. That is absolutely disgusting!!! How could a person do something like that?! This subject is one of the things that gets me really angry I just can't stand people being cruel to living creatures (whether they walk on two or four legs).

I'm glad he was convicted but I agree - 3 years doesn't seem to be enough!
I know how I'd feel if it happened to one of my babies!!

OK, enough from me, otherwise I'll rant and rave away all day!
post #6 of 12
Originally posted by michelerad
I personally think he should be thrown in traffic and see what happens. I am glad at least he got some punishment but it's never enough. Thanks Donna for letting us know about this.

My sentiments exactly!
post #7 of 12
i missed the results last night on the news so thank you for posting this! it doesn't seem like enough but I am just so glad that he was held accountable. hopefully this sets a precedent.
post #8 of 12
He actually smirked at the camera when they brought him into the courtroom. I don't think he will smirking long, I hear besides child molesters, the second thing inmates hate most are the men who abuse and torture animals.
post #9 of 12
I heard on the radio today that this is not the first dog he has killed. He said something like " I don't know what they are making such a big deal about it, it was just a dog. I have killed lots of dogs" This man really needs to pay! Three years in jail in just not enough. What he did was beyond cruel.

post #10 of 12
If someone killed my baby like that he would be lucky to get away with only 3 years, cause I probably would have killed the #@#&%#$ first!!! I hope that guy gets a BIG cellmate who LOVES animals.
post #11 of 12
At least its better than the one in florida. Those of you who live in Florida, remember about the case of the rottie whose owner buried her newborn puppies alive? He only got 2 or 3 years in jail, probation, and psychological evaluation. I am trying to find out who is an animal rights lawyer so I can discuss about turning animal abuse into a felony with sevier punishments. I would like to bury the man in florida alive. Maybe we can all work out a petition for stronger animal abuse punishments. They say when a person commits cruelty to an animal and gets away with it, then they will turn on a child or a woman, etc.
post #12 of 12
OH MY GOD!!!! That is SO horrible! I had never heard about it till now!!!!!!!!! How in the heck could someone be so cold hearted and unfeeling to throw an innocent little dog out into the traffic to be killed right in front of it's owner!!! I am outraged at this!!! I too hope he gets a very big, very horny cell mate, who LOVES animals....excuse me for saying this, but that is how I feel, I think Bubbas Mom was right! He should get some torture for what he did to that poor dog and it's owner.
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