See Update – 10/6/08 – Probation for Man Who Slit Dog’s Throat

I have been applauding the states that have been enacting protection orders that include pets. Far too often pets are caught in the middle of relationship disputes and used as pawns and far too often a threatened partner will not leave a dangerous situation because of concern over what will happen to a beloved family pet. But what about when there is no warning?

A Holland Township, NJ, couple, Laura Kerr and her husband, George, were beginning divorce proceedings and in the process of selling their house. On Wednesday when Laura arrived home, she was concerned when Annie, her black lab mix, didn’t greet her and she didn’t see her outside. What she did see was her soon-to-be ex-husband kneeling in the back yard. This was unusual because it was 11 am and he should have been at work.

Suspicious and uncomfortable, Laura fled the house returning only when she had a police escort shortly thereafter. When questioned, George Kerr admitted that he “he took care of” Annie, stabbing her, cutting her throat and burying her in a shallow grave in the backyard.

George Kerr was arrested and charged with one count of third-degree animal cruelty and one count of third-degree possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose. He was transported to the Hunterdon Behavioral Health facility at Hunterdon Medical Center and held on $15k bail. Upon his release he is ordered to have no contact with his wife.

According to police, George Kerr had made no direct threats to his wife or anyone else but “killing an animal — or similar acts of violence — may be a form of coercion or a twisted attempt to gain control of a relationship,” said a domestic abuse professional.

“In domestic violence we call it the cycle of violence,” said Nancy Connor, executive director of SAFE in Hunterdon, a crisis services organization. “It escalates, and the cycle of violence sometimes gets to where abusers threaten to harm pets, personal property, threaten to harm the children, as well as the victims in violence. So, that’s all part of the pattern of abuse and escalation. That’s a very common theme we see in domestic violence at SAFE in Hunterdon.”

There is no doubt that this is an obviously sick and dangerous man. Who know what may have happened has his anger boiled over while there were people around?

Source – Courier News

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