Grand Jury indicts Guam’s first case of felony animal cruelty due to neglect
Guam, September 3, 2018 - On August 21, 2018, Mr. Melchor Antolin (of Dededo, born March 4, 1975) was indicted by a grand jury on one count of First Degree Animal Cruelty as Third Degree Felony and one count of Animal Abandonment as a petty misdemeanor. An arraignment hearing is scheduled for September 10, 2018.
The case involves a pitbull named Thor. On January 22, 2018, Guam Animal Control was notified that Thor, an adult male pitbull belonging to Mr. Antolin, was suffering from an untreated medical condition.
Upon visiting the house where Thor was chained, the dog was found to have a tumor larger than a basketball growing from his leg. Animal Control instructed that Thor needed immediate medical attention. After repeated follow-ups and continued neglect by Mr. Antolin, Animal Control confiscated the animal on June 27, 2018.
Animal Control brought Thor to the GAIN animal shelter to be euthanized due to his condition. “Multiple veterinarians have since reviewed Thor’s situation, and all were shocked,” said GAIN Board President, Cyrus Luhr. Attached photographs were taken upon Thor’s arrival at the shelter.
“Thor suffered through extreme pain,” continued Mr. Luhr, “his tumor was growing for months, and weighed about 15 pounds.” “Every time he moved, his skin would tear,” he added.
“Thor needed medical attention early on,” said Gabe Baker, GAIN Board member. “But instead he suffered needlessly, and the tumor slowly grew beyond the point he could be saved.”
"Guam law requires owners to provide the veterinary care needed by their pets. Failure to do so is a crime," said Dr. Thomas Poole, Guam Territorial Veterinarian.
While prior Felony Animal Cruelty cases have been prosecuted on Guam, they stemmed from physical violence toward an animal. This is believed to be the first Felony Animal Cruelty case due to neglect.
“This is a very important case for Guam,” said Mr. Luhr. He added, “If you purposefully hurt an animal, whether through physical violence or neglect, the law is clear - animal cruelty is animal cruelty.”
The penalty for First Degree Animal Cruelty is imprisonment for up 3 years (or up to 5 years if an individual has prior convictions), and a fine of up to $5,000.
The arraignment hearing for Mr. Antolin is scheduled for September 5, 2018, at 10:00 am in Hagatna Superior Court in front of Judge Sison.
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