Pompano Beach, Florida resident, Deangelo Veus, was arrested for the 18th time on Saturday after trying to drown his mother’s dogs. Accoridng to South Florida’s CBS4.com, Veus forced his mother’s terrier into a cage after choking it. He then forced his mother’s pregnant miniature pincher into another cage.
After tying a line between the two cages and a cinder block, Veus pushed the two cages and cinder block into a lake. While the terrier was able to escape from its cage and swim to safety, the miniature pincher unfortunately drowned on scene.
Broward County Animal Control officers later retrieved the cages, the line, and the cinder block from the lake.
While animal cruelty can be filed as either a misdemeanor or a felony, there is no doubt that a felony will be filed for the death of the pregnant pincher. In all likelihood, prosecutors will file a second felony charge for the near dorwing of the terrier as well.
From a defense perspective, the two main issues in the case concern eye witness testimony and the existence of any admissible confessions. In the absence of eye witnesses or incriminating statements that are admissible in court, prosecutors may have a hard time obtaining a conviction – even though the alleged conduct is so offensive.
However, in the event that there is a triable case, there is no doubt that Veus will be serverly disadvantaged by the distaste with which the public views animal cruelty cases. While many animal cruelty cases involve mentally ill or elderly defendants who do not have the wherewithal to care for their pets, this case is different because it involves an act of premeditated cruelty. Potential jurors will find the allegations in this case offensive and are likely to lean in favor of the prosecution, even before hearing evidence.
To make matters worse for himself, Veus may also face a mandatory prison sentence as a consequence of his prior criminal history which is said to involve robbery and carrying a concealed firearm.
Ultimately Veus’s defense lawyers will have to weigh the quality and availability of any eye witnesses testimony, any admissible confessions or statements by Veus (if made), and the weight of his prior criminal history when deciding whether or not to proceed to trial.