Equine Rescue

Animal Abuser – Therapy or Jail?

Guest OpEd by Jerry Finch ~ President of Habitat for Horses

Animal Abusers are one step away from Serial Killers

“One of the most dangerous things that can happen to a child is to kill or torture an animal and get away with it.” -Anthropologist Margaret Mead

Naysa Rescued June 9, 2007 ~ photo courtesy of Habitat for Horses

As part of my less formal education I attended a course from HSUS called “First Strike – The Violence Connection.” While the material presented was shocking, the conclusion fits like a glove onto every scenario of animal abuse and neglect that I’ve witnessed. The bottom line is that when you see a person who is guilty of animal abuse, you are also looking at a person who has no problem beating the hell out of another human. Animal abuse is a proven predictor of violent behavior.

The FBI considers past animal abuse not only as a predictor of human violence, but uses it when profiling serial killers.  In one study alone 70 percent of women seeking shelter from physical abuse report that their partners had threatened, injured or killed one or more family pets.

There is no doubt about the connection. Anyone who is even vaguely and remotely interested in the subject can Google “animal abuse and human violence” and have instant access to over 2.7 million articles. Those articles are not hidden from law enforcement or the judicial system. No one is telling the prosecutors, “Oh, don’t look at that stuff. Doesn’t mean anything.”

So the question of the day is – why do those who beat, starve and kill animals receive little more than a slap on the wrist? What part of the statement, “…a predictor of human violence….,” does our judicial system not understand?

Case in point – Naysa was a bone thin mare, sold at an auction in Louisiana and, when she was reluctant to load in a trailer, the owner made a halter of barbed wire, tied her to the trailer, pulled her half a mile down the road, shot her in the head and left her in a ditch. (She survived, came to HfH for rehabilitation and now is living happily in Florida) After two and a half years and a zillion letters from all over the world to the District Attorney, the owner, father of several children and a “horse trainer,” admitted he was guilty and received a probated sentence, which was nothing more than, “Ya’ll don’t be doin’ that no more, ya’ hear?”

Jason Meduna, former owner of the Three Strikes Ranch in Nebraska, killed countless horses, starved hundreds more, claimed his neighbors were poisoning them (I’m still searching for the type of poison that causes starvation, massive worm infestations and snow-shoe hooves), spent 20 months in jail and is now free to wander around Wyoming. Think he has an ounce of remorse for his deeds? Do you really think he learned anything?

Montana Large Animal Sanctuary and Rescue – we pulled 1,200 animals out of there in the middle of winter, starved, too weak to walk, complete lack of even the basic level of care, and to this day, no one has had to answer to a single person about the indescribable horror those animals went through or the endless death we witnessed. Oh, the DA is very proud of his case file. It’s right up there on his bookcase. The bad guys can be found down at the coffee shop.

Habitat for Horses is one humane organization out of thousands that deal with the victims of abuse on a daily basis. There isn’t a single active animal rescue organization that doesn’t have a horror story they could share, nor one that doesn’t look back in revolting disgust at the weak-kneed, “couldn’t care less” attitude of the judicial system.

I well remember talking with the Assistant DA in the Naysa case as he explained the delay in taking the case to trial, “We have a murder case, two rapes, I don’t know how many assaults. These animal cases just get pushed back.” As much as I tried to explain it to him, he wasn’t interested.

“Have you checked on his kids?” I asked. The blank look was all the response I needed.

Click (HERE) to read the rest of the story at the HfH Blog

23 replies »

  1. Jason Meduna , Ironic his Ranch name is Three Strikes Ranch?????? Animal abuser, hummmmmmm ………yes, in every instance an animal abusers Family if investigated it is found out that he abuses all of them also…………… Serial killers as children also start out murdering small animals and then graduate to larger animals, knowing full well that this is the case in almost every instance with them,why dont the authorities take note and many lives would be saved in that process……………..When known it seems the logical thing to do………….I am hoping that this man will be watched by all the rest of his life…………….. You can bet it will happen again if he is not watched , this man needs professional help, already he is in Parole violation by fraternizing with a known felon, does his Parole Officer know this????? He should be slapped back in the Slammer immediately !!!!!


  2. Sadly, I know from personal experience that animal abusers also abuse humans. When I went to Law School, my ex-husband would beat our dogs. As soon as I discovered it I promptly gave the dogs to my mother and filed for divorce. There is never a way to rehabilitate these felons, that Meduna is out of Prison in record time makes me ill.


  3. Our justice system is broken along with many other things.
    He should have served his full sentence and only given bread and water.


  4. Have you seen the news report going around (I saw it posted on my Facebook) about the police officer at an Occupy rally that executed a dog named Parrot? I haven’t Snoped the article yet, but by the photograph that accompanied the article it looks pretty legit. If the story is true, it speaks volumes for many of our “men in blue” that are suppose to be “serving and protecting” us. What makes us think they will protect animals if this is what they are capabile of doing. Yet these same men will be honored and memorialized as upstanding members of our community, they have wives and children (and probably pit bull dogs for pets). Many men who become police officers are worse than a PTSD vet. No disrespect meant for vets, but individually, military and police have a higher percentage of people who have violence issues.


    • I have not heard this Kerry!!! If it is true, and if it happened in Manhattan then that Police Officer will be charged with a felony. Which occupy rally did it occur?




    • There is a man who does custodian work where I live. He refuses to neuter his dog because of the “male” thing. Not quite sure how to word that, no offense to our outstanding guys here!

      And I know another who wanted to know what a “gelding” was! I told him it was the horse version of his dog!

      I swear a lot of the guys I know get this whole male anatomy thing on the brain. They know they don’t want it done to them–so they refuse to “geld” there pets. What they don’t realize is– there pets will be so happier because now the girl in heat won’t bother them.

      But it isn’t just men. If you watch the movie Buck (A TOTALLY GREAT FABULOUS MOVIE) watch the woman at the end who owns 18 studs at home…it’s the whole male anatomy thing….


    • I got a Snopes thing on it yesterday. I could hardly believe what I was reading. I know the cop had his knee into the back of the dog.

      If true it was sickening.

      I think our society is too quick with a gun, slow to think. And the ones to pay the price are the ones who are slow to anger and slow to respond to abuse. Maybe we need to rise up…


      • What he did to the dog is true. Look at the picture in the link below. He is kneeling on the dog. Throws the dog down some stairs, then shoots and kills him. And this loser is a member of a K-9 unit. Gosh, I wonder why he didn’t put a picture of the dog he murdered on his FB page.


    • If you fb Scott Fike the cop who shot the dog YOU WILL FIND THAT HE LISTS HUNTING AS ONE OF HIS HOBBIES!

      No joke. Check it out yourselves.


  5. How did the man who made that barb wire halter think this was at all appropriate?

    Jason–I worry for all animals out there. He is a psycho. Maybe he hasn’t yet hurt people but with the fact that he’s not allowed pets–it may come soon to this. WY residents need to be warned. Esp ranches where he might seek employment.


  6. BOTH…predators have to be kept away from the rest of the World. Once contained, they can be given therapy….but the first priority is to PROTECT the innocent.


  7. Whoever did this should go directly to jail for along time for animal abuse and they should get hefty fines and not be able to have animals ever again maybe if you get them in the pocket book they will think twice about ever doing it again:( So sad for the animals we need to be their voices and we will:)


  8. But back to the horses and abuse:

    Unless the punishments given to these heartless bastards is harsher, I don’t think anything will change.

    Simply having someone surrender the animals isn’t good enough. Is it?

    Take the crime against the 80+ horses, and 3 dogs found on that property. Three dogs were found dead and over 25 horses were found dead. Out of the 56 that The Grace Foundation is caring for right now,


    “A ranch owner has been charged with 30 counts of animal cruelty, following the discovery of 28 dead horses at his stables.”

    But towards the end of the video, it says no charges have been filed against the owner. Why is that?

    The 30 counts of animal cruelty need to stick. It should not be reduced to 1 count, or 5 counts, or 10 counts. He murdered 30-31 animals.

    It’s long past time these people start being punished for their crimes, more needs to happen than just removing the animals, and slapping these people on the wrist.

    As to therapy? You can’t teach someone to be compassionate, you can’t teach someone to care, and you can’t teach someone to have empathy. You either have it, or you don’t. It has nothing to do with educating, or claiming ignorance.


  9. The actions of an animal abuser are very deep seeded and without professional help they deteriorate very rapidly and the very lives of many people are placed in jeopardy and in danger………………… A known animal abuser should never be released from prison until a complete analysis of their mental condition is evaluated and addressed not to do this is a dereliction of the duty of the prison Warden………………… I would bet the statistics of recurrence of the disturbed criminals crimes are very high !!!!!


  10. This is such an important, tho’ often told, story that seems to be consistently ignored. I am just going to agree with everyone’s very accurate comments, and share this in the hope that it will encourage someone (me included) to make a difference the next time they see these occasions of abuse. And to encourage the justice system to do the same.


    • I’m no hero, but I have a big mouth. I have actually challenged people into giving me their allegedly ‘rogue horse’ if I could take it over fences and not get thrown, etc. The animals know friend from foe, and these owners were foes indeed. That is how I got my Quarterhorse and my jet black Thoroughbred. They were considered dangerous. NOT. You have a moral obligation to speak up when you witness abuse of animals and children. They both occupy the same ethical sphere and that is society at large is obligated to protect them from the abusers be they parents or owners. Elle


  11. Creating a new law or making the penalty for breaking one greater, may not keep someone from breaking a law. But the message we send to both criminals and the kind of society we are by the laws we have and how we enforce them is fundamental to how we feel about our selves.


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