Update 2/7/11 – No Justice for Phoenix

It is with a sad and heavy heart that I remember Phoenix, the poor innocent little pitbull that was doused with gasoline and set on fire in Baltimore in May. Although rescued by a valiant police officer, Phoenix’s burns extended almost over 100% of her body and her poor body just could not recover, she was euthanized shortly thereafter.

It didn’t take long for police to have two suspects in custody; twin 17-year-old brothers, Travis and Jermain Johnson. Their parents maintained that the boys had nothing to do with the heinous crime, they were turned in just for the reward money, but it wasn’t long after they were in trouble again, guns or drugs or something like that.

On November 13, State’s Attorney Patricia C. Jessamy announced that the Baltimore City Grand Jury indicted both Tremayne and Travers Johnson, 17, of S. Pulaski Street in a five count indictment charging animal abuse and cruelty.

These two paragons of humanity will be arraigned on December 9 and we’d like to ask the court that felony animal cruelty penalties be levied against them. Their crime was cruel and depraved and Phoenix suffered horribly for no reason other then their kicks and thrills!

Below is an email sample from Kinship Circle along with contact information. Please, I ask that you take the time to draft a letter, your own or one based on the sample and send it to the listed contacts. Phoenix didn’t deserve to suffer but these depraved POSes do!

Contact Information
Honorable David W. Young
227 Courthouse East
111 N. Calvert Street / Baltimore, MD 21202
ph: 410-396-5076, 410-396-5077; fax 410-545-7316

Honorable Patricia C. Jessamy, Baltimore City State’s Attorney
208 Clarence Mitchell Jr. Courthouse
110 North Calvert Street / Baltimore, Maryland 21202
ph: 410-396-4987; fax: 410-539-5215
Kimberly B. Morton, Esq., Deputy State’s Attorney:
Communications, Margaret Burns, Chief:
Investigations, Cynthia H. Jones, Esq., Deputy State’s Attorney:

Mayor Sheila Dixon
City Hall, Room 250 100 N. Holliday St. / Baltimore, MD 21202
ph: 410-396-3835; fax 410-576-9425

Baltimore City Council, Office of the President
City Hall, 100 N. Holliday St., Suite 400 / Baltimore, MD 21202
President, Stephanie Rawlings-Blake: 410-396-4804; fax: 410-539-0647

Sample Letter

Honorable David W. Young, Baltimore City State’s Attorney Office, Mayor
Sheila Dixon and City Council:

I have followed the case of Phoenix, a one-year-old pit bull terrier soaked
in gasoline and set afire on May 27, 2009. I understand the Baltimore City
Grand Jury indicted twin brothers Tremayne and Travers Johnson, 17, on five
counts of animal abuse and cruelty.

I thank the state’s attorney office and court for its serious deliberation
in this heinous crime. Phoenix was euthanized in caring hands after her
kidneys failed. Swollen and charred, her immune system simply couldn’t
handle burns covering 95% of her body.

But this case is as much about the twins as it is about Phoenix. These
youths are so desensitized to suffering, they ignored the cries of a living
creature enveloped in flames.

I urge you to levy felony animal cruelty penalties that include up to three
years in prison, a $5,000 fine, and mandatory counseling. If the Johnsons
are involved in dogfighting, as suggested by puncture wounds seen on
Phoenix, please punish them under animal fighting laws too. I hope you will
ensure these teens are barred from contact with animals.

Juvenile violence is often connected with musings on death and Goth anarchy.
Along with these dark images comes a fascination with victimizing animals.
Indeed, Columbine’s Eric Harris, D.C. serial killer Lee Boyd Malvo, murderer
Kip Kinkle and others “practiced” on animals before graduating to people.

Andrew Golden, 11, and Mitchell Johnson, 13, killed dogs in Jonesboro,
Arkansas prior to gunning down four students and one teacher. Mississippi
16-year-old Luke Woodham mortally stabbed his mother, killed three
classmates and shot seven more. Later in court, he confessed to bludgeoning
his dog with baseball bats and setting her on fire.

One U.S. study revealed that five of 11 killers involved in nine separate
school rampages had formerly abused animals. In another study, “Childhood
Cruelty Toward Animals Among Criminals and Noncriminals,” 25% of aggressive
criminals confessed to five or more acts of torturing animals.

Clearly, the animal-to-human violence link demands your utmost attention. I
reiterate my request that Mayor Dixon and the City Council address violence
at its roots by creating an animal abuse task force with citizen
representation. Please also empower animal control officers under the police
department and advocate prosecution in all animal abuse and fighting cases.

Thank you, in advance, for punishing Phoenix’ killers to the fullest degree
allowed by law.


Don’t let Phoenix’s suffering and death have been in vain, don’t let her killers off with a slap on the wrist. We can make a difference if we take just a few minutes of time. Don’t just sit back and think someone else will do it!

Who knows who the victims of these depraved wastes of human life will be next… another innocent dog, a child, another teen… another defenseless innocent? If they get off with little to no punishment, you can bet there will be more victims!

Take action NOW!!

Sometimes it hurts me to remember that I grew up, lived and worked in Baltimore City until just over 10 years ago. It could be a beautiful city in many ways but like most any city, it had and still has, a dark and vicious side, the kind of a side that people who would do something like this must have come from…

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