Meet 22-year-old Dustin Ricky Harrell of Jonesborough, TN. November 1, 2011, he thought it would be amusing to torture a 4-lb Yorkie for 4 hours. Honey, the tiny dog, was tossed down the stairs multiple times, held under water, had her mouth taped shut so she couldn’t scream and finally she was tossed in the dryer for 4 minutes. After each incident of abuse he would comfort the dog, only to torture her some more. Finally she succumbed to her injuries, including a broken leg.
On Nov. 3, his father called Washington County Sheriff’s Department and reported an “intentional killing of an animal” and Harrell was charged with felony aggravated animal cruelty and held on $10,ooo bond.
Harrell did admit to an investigator and sign an affidavit that he did torture Honey and detail the cruelties.
His father, who bonded his son out, places the blame on alcohol and drug abuse as well as abuse he believes Harrell suffered as a child.
Hmmm, wonder how Honey feels about that? Oh, that’s right, she can’t feel anything, she’s dead! Horrifically tortured and brutally abused at the hands of Harrell.
Y’know, I am seriously tired of people blaming everything on a criminal being abused as a child, on drugs, on alcohol. They’re crutches! Do I have sympathy for someone who’s been abused? Sure, I do. Been there myself. But there comes a time when you have to accept what happened to you, learn from it, grow from it and go on. Don’t let it break you, let it make you stronger and teach you to stand in the face of abusers and say “No!” There is no excuse to perpetuate the cycle. Take responsibility for your actions! Most of the people I know who are in advocacy, whether animal, child, elderly, disabled, etc., have some abuse in their background and they did not turn around and visit it on others, they used it to help others. They use their experience and pain to fight to keep others from having to face the same thing.
On March 12 at a hearing to set the bench trial for May 30, Washington County Criminal Court Judge Robert Cupp upbraided activists who were in the courtroom as a voice for Honey. Wearing “Justice for Honey” t-shirts, she Judge told them not to wear the shirts in court again and that they offended him.
“You don’t need to tell me” to get justice, the judge said. “That’s what this courtroom is for.”
This is not the first time that activists for Honey have been called out in the courtroom by the Judge but they vow to continue to show up, “We’re going to at least be here to show whoever walks through those doors, even if it is just the defendant, that we are not going to let this go,” said Linda Dulin with the group Justice for Honey.
So, unless there’s a postponement or deal, we shall see if there will be “Justice for Honey” on May 30 as Judge Cupp said the courtroom is for or if this will be yet another case of injustice for an animal abuser!
Rest in peace Honey, your pain is ended and you are in a better place. My heart cries for what this poor tiny dog endured…