Justice to the MaxPosted by April Nockleby, ALDF's Online Content Manager on June 26, 2009
If every march for social justice has its landmarks, the case of Max
the cat is surely a milestone for animal rights. Thanks to a tireless
prosecutor, an aggressive judge, and some help from the Animal Legal
Defense Fund, Max is not only safe, but his ordeal has led to a
pioneering court ruling that may set a precedent for future cases
involving companion animals.
Last January, Dustin Teahon of
Scottsbluff, Nebraska, assaulted his girlfriend and kicked her cat Max
down a flight of stairs. Max sustained possible neurological trauma,
and the girlfriend ended her relationship with Teahon. The woman even
obtained a protection order barring Teahon from contacting her and
revealed that he had also abused another of her animals, a 10-week-old
kitten named Diddy, who died a day after Teahon struck him in the head.
As in many domestic-violence cases, the couple later reconciled. But
this time authorities recognized that allowing Max to remain with his
guardian would place him in danger–so the court placed him in a local
shelter, not even permitting the woman’s parents to adopt him.