Virginia Is for Cat Killers, Not Lovers, Now That Its Legal Establishment Has Sanctioned Donald Curtis Hunt's Drowning of Five Kittens
Community service is sufficient punishment for drowning five kittens. "What Mr. Hunt did was a cruel act, but I do not think Mr. Hunt is a cruel person."
-- prosecuting attorney Nate Green
The Old Boy Network is alive and well in Virginia! That is good news for well-heeled criminals, but a distressing development for cats.
The network's latest assault on the humane laws came on April 16th when Judge Samuel T. Powell III cleared fifty-seven-year-old Norge sodbuster Donald Curtis Hunt of drowning five defenseless kittens in August of 2007. (See mug shot above.)
Back on October 11, 2007, Williamsburg-James City County District Court Judge Colleen Killilea had sentenced him to a paltry thirty days in jail, a $500 fine, and one-hundred hours of community service. That was not much in itself but it was far better than nothing, especially in light of the fact that prosecuting attorney Nate Green earlier had charitably dismissed four of the five counts of misdemeanor animal cruelty against Hunt. (See Cat Defender post of October 23, 2007 entitled "Virginia Does It Again! Farmer Who Drowned at Least Five Cats Gets Off with a Slap-on-the-Wrists.")
Far too cheap to even accept that sweetheart deal, Hunt appealed his conviction to the Williamsburg-James City County Circuit Court where he finally hit the jackpot. Citing his family's longtime ownership of four-hundred-acre Hill Pleasant Farm, his lack of a criminal record, and his standing in the community, Powell reversed the district court and cleared Hunt of all charges.
"I feel that justice has been done," a triumphant Hunt gushed to the Daily Press of Newport News on April 17th. (See "Animal Cruelty Charges Dropped Against JCC Man.") "I'm just glad it's over."
As he left the courtroom, the cat killer received a hero's welcome from his equally morally depraved supporters who cheered and congratulated him on his adroitness at being able to so easily get away with his crimes. Actually, the number of cats that this monster has murdered over the years could be in the hundreds if not indeed the thousands.
That assessment is buttressed by admissions made in open court by his own shyster, local politician Thomas K. Norment Jr. Not only did he inform the court that Hunt thought it was perfectly legal to drown cats, but that doing so was humane.
Even more telling, Hunt to this very day has neither expressed an iota of remorse for his heinous crimes nor pledged to refrain from killing cats in the future. In fact, his ludicrous assertion that "justice has been done" is an indication that he intends to kill more cats.
Powell's thoroughly disgraceful ruling was the culmination of a fix that had been in the works for a long time. For instance, press reports indicate that Hunt voluntarily had performed an unspecified amount of community service and made a contribution to Heritage Humane Society of Williamsburg during the past two years.
Those reports do not, however, specify either the amount or type of community service that he allegedly performed. Likewise, the amount of his donation to Heritage is a closely guarded secret. This total lack of candor on behalf of both the court and the media certainly makes it appear that those acts of penance fell way short of what originally was demanded by the district court. More to the point, it is difficult to imagine someone like Hunt voluntarily parting with five cents let alone anything remotely resembling five-hundred bucks.
Nevertheless, Green told the Daily Press that Hunt's preemptive service was sufficient punishment for drowning five kittens. "What Mr. Hunt did was a cruel act, but I do not think that Mr. Hunt is a cruel person."
Anyone with even a remote acquaintance with the law knows that Green's comment is pure twaddle. After all, the law is supposed to deal with behavior, not personalities, economic clout, and amateur psychology.
In that context it would be interesting to know if Green would apply the same rationale to homicidal maniacs? Par exemple, would he be so brazen as to tell the court that although murdering individuals is cruel, not to mention illegal, that the perpetrators of such affronts should be turned loose because he does not believe them to be cruel individuals? If he ever dared to do so, he not only would be laughed out of court but sacked as well.
By making such idiotic utterances Green has disgraced both himself and the laws that he is sworn to uphold. That is in addition to being complicit in Hunt's outrageous crimes.
Powell's performance on the bench was even more reprehensible than Green's. For instance, his smug little statement to the Daily Press that "there probably have been capital murder charges that don't get as much attention as that case" is a further indication of the utter contempt that he harbors in his malignant bosom for cats.
Contrary to whatever miscreants like Powell, Green, and Hunt believe, feline life is every bit as worthy of the protection of the laws as human life. In fact, a good argument could be made that animal life is deserving of even stronger protection.
After all, children, women, and the elderly are afforded extra protections under the law because of their vulnerability. Cats and other animals likewise cannot take care of themselves and that is precisely why anti-cruelty statutes exist.
By not only refusing to apply the law but simultaneously snickering up his dirty sleeve at the coldblooded murder of these kittens, Powell has shown himself to be a disgrace to the bench. It would be interesting to see how funny he would find it to be divested of his robes and turned out on the street. Besides, no one likes a redneck judge no vainly believes that it is cute to be derelict in applying the law.
Powell's outrageous ruling is the latest in a series of judicial rulings that have demonstrated the total disregard that courts in Virginia have for the sanctity of feline life. For example on August 14th of last year, Henrico County General District Court fined Keith Copi of Critter Control in Chesterfield County a measly $750 for gassing three cats at the behest of Fox-35 in Richmond.
Since Fox-35 paid him $409 for his dirty work, the court's ruling therefore placed a monetary value of only $113.66 on the life of each of his victims. (See Cat Defender posts of August 21, 2008 and July 7, 2008 entitled, respectively, "Justice Denied: Exterminator Who Gassed Three Cats at the Behest of Fox-35 in Richmond Gets Off with a Minuscule Fine" and "Fox Affiliate in Richmond Murders at Least Three Cats and Then Sends in the Bulldozers to Destroy Their Homes.")
Earlier in 2006, another Virginia court allowed Peter J. Landrith to get away with stomping to death Luke. (See Cat Defender post of January 17, 2006 entitled "Loony Virginia Judge Lets Career Criminal Go Free After He Stomps to Death a Fourteen-Year-Old Arthritic Cat.")
Gunning down cats with rifles also is winked at by judges in Virginia. (See Cat Defender posts of June 22, 2006 and August 14, 2007 entitled, respectively, "Used Car Dealer in Virginia Murders Sweet Three-Year-Old Cat Named Carmen with Rifle Shot to the Neck" and "Grieving Owner Seek Justice for Orange Tabby Named Bill That Was Hunted Down and Savagely Killed with a Bow and Arrow.")
Furthermore, judges in Virginia positively love cat hoarders. (See Cat Defender posts of December 23, 2005 and July 21, 2005 entitled, respectively, "Virginia Cat Hoarder Who Killed 221 Cats and Kept Another 354 in Abominable Conditions Gets Off with a $500 Fine" and "Northern Virginia Woman Caught Hoarding 575 Cats.")
In Hunt's case, it is easy enough to connect the dots. He is a large and powerful landowner backed up by a state legislator who doubles as his shyster. Add in an obliging prosecutor and judge and the result is that the lives of cats in James City County are no longer worth a plug nickel.
Hunt, Norment, Powell, and Green most likely belong to many of the same social clubs, purchase their moonshine from the same bootleggers, and attend the same churches on Sundays with their fellow hypocrites and phonies. Bound together by a multitude of economic and class interests as well as a sickening perversity of tastes, they undoubtedly are rich and powerful individuals but the way in which they treat cats is nothing short of criminal.
More than likely that is the modus operandi throughout Virginia's judicial system. Furthermore, the fact that cats cannot get a fair hearing calls into question the integrity of the justice meted out to individuals.
It is a well-known maxim in legal circles that the accused are considered innocent until proven broke and since the capitalists and the bourgeoisie seldom run out of shekels it is rare that any of them ever go to jail. As a consequence, penal institutions exist primarily for punishing the impecunious.
For the sake of both honesty and clarity, however, Virginia owes it to the millions of tourists who visit each year to adopt a more accurate state slogan. Instead of the old familiar "Virginia Is for Lovers," a far more accurate choice would be "Virginia Is for Cat Killers."
Visitors are, after all, entitled to know not only how disgracefully Virginians treat cats but also the extensive corruption that is endemic to their judicial system. Hopefully, they then will find somewhere else to spend their shekels and thus leave these Neanderthals to wallow in the cesspool of their own cruelty and corruption.
Judges south of the border in equally backward North Carolina are every bit as antagonistic to cats as their colleagues in Virginia. For instance, on April 15th of last year, the North Carolina Court of Appeals threw out the littering convictions of PETA employees Adria Hinkle and Andrew Cook. (See The News and Observer of Raleigh, April 15, 2008, "PETA Workers Cleared of Animal Cruelty Convictions.")
In that celebrated case, Hinkle and Cook journeyed from their headquarters in Norfolk to shelters in the Tar Heel State where they took possession of hundreds of cats and dogs under the pretense that they were going to place them in good homes. What they did instead was to kill the animals and then deposit their corpses in a Dumpster behind a Piggly Wiggly in Ahoskie. (See mug shots of Hinkle and Cook above.)
During May and June of 2005, police officers recovered the corpses of eighty-two dogs and seventeen cats from one Dumpster. The actual number of cats and dogs killed by these two cretins could well have been in the thousands.
Nevertheless, on February 2, 2007 a Hertford County Criminal Superior Court jury cleared them of all charges except one count each of littering. Presiding Judge Cy Grant fined them each $1,000, gave them ten-day suspended jail sentences, ordered them to perform fifty hours of community service, and placed them on twelve months probation.
They additionally were ordered to split $5,975.10 to cover the cost of the proper disposal of the corpses and the storage of evidence. (See Cat Defender posts of January 29, 2007 and February 9, 2007 entitled, respectively, "PETA's Long History of Killing Cats and Dogs Is Finally Exposed in North Carolina Courtroom" and "Verdict in PETA Trial: Littering Is a Crime but Not the Mass Slaughter of Innocent Cats and Dogs.")
While it is not known if PETA is still dumping corpses, it certainly has not mended its cat and dog killing ways. "Our service is to provide a peaceful and painless death to animals no one wants," head honcho Ingrid Newkirk unambiguously proclaims to this very day.
Consequently, it is not surprising that PETA exterminates just about all animals that enter its Norfolk facility. For example, its kill rate for 2008 was an astounding ninety-five per cent while in 2007 it soared to ninety-eight per cent.
Far from being anything new, Newkirk's murderous rampages date to the time when she worked for more conventional shelters. "I went to the front office all the time, and I would say, 'John is kicking the dogs and putting them in freezers.' Or I would say, 'They are stepping on the animals, crushing them like grapes, and they don't care.' In the end, I would go to work early, before anyone got there, and I would kill the animals myself," she confessed to The New Yorker on April 14, 2003. (See "The Woman Behind the Most Successful Radical Group in America.") "Because I couldn't stand to let them go through that, I must have killed thousands of them, sometimes dozens every day."
Clearly, PETA does not have an ounce of respect in its calcified bones for the sanctity of animal life. Moreover, it is far too lazy and cheap to be bothered with finding homes for cats and dogs; deadly jabs of sodium pentobarbital are more cost effective as far as it is concerned. As the events in Ahoskie have demonstrated, it is even too miserly to pay for the proper burial of the corpses of its totally innocent victims.
It therefore is no small wonder that PETA is headquartered in a state that is one of America's most unfriendly toward animals. In the final analysis, there really is not any measurable difference between Newkirk and her minions on the one hand and Hunt, Powell, and Green on the other hand. They are all peas in the same desiccated pod and that makes conditions doubly perilous for cats and dogs in Virginia.
Photos: Daily Press (Hunt) and Court TV (Hinkle and Cook).