UPDATE 10/28/09 – No Justice for Bowser? Dog Brutally Tortured and Killed by Owner!
Last week I told you about Robert Suttles, the Somerset, KY man that poisoned and beat his dog to death then burned the body to hide the evidence. Neighbors had reported Suttles for animal abuse, refusing to give his lab mix, Bowser, food or water, but since the neighbors were also acting as good Samaritans and caring for the dog, authorities didn’t seize Bowser because his ribs were not protruding, ie. not enough evidence.
In retaliation Suttle decided to show the neighbors that he could and would do anything he wanted to to the dog and proceeded to force feed Bowser bread soaked with anti-freeze. The dog almost immediately collapsed and lay in the yard suffering for two days without food, water or attention until Suttles kicked Bowser in the head until he died then threw the body in a burn barrel. There were witnesses to these horrific incidents.
Suttles had harassed and intimidated his neighbors to the point that they were terrified of him and although they called the police who did not respond, they felt they couldn’t help the suffering dog.
Eventually charges were filed, only misdemeanor animal cruelty charges and trial was set for August 28. Since then a petition has been circulated in an effort of have Suttles prosecuted to the max and to have the charges upgraded to a Class D Felony under Romeo’s Law.
Since then, the law — named after Romeo, the Labrador mix that was attacked and beaten by its owner on tape — has made incidents such as the one involving Bowser a class D felony if the dog or cat involved suffers serious physical injury or death as a result of the offense. The law also requires forfeiture of ownership of the animals and restricts future ownership of animals in cruelty and torture cases if a person is found guilty of a first-degree animal cruelty charge.
The difference in jail time can be significant. Should he be found guilty of the second-degree charge, Suttles would receive six months in jail and would be required to pay a $500 fine. If he was found guilty of a first-degree animal cruelty charge, he would receive one to five years in jail under Romeo’s Law.
Druin said one of the most important parts of a first-degree animal cruelty conviction is the requirement that no animals be kept by the defendant. She also said the Humane Society and others are asking that Suttles also undergo a psychological evaluation. (Commonwealth Journal)
Yesterday there was a meeting with the County Attorney to discuss the case and charges. and today I received the following information:
The DA met with the Commonwealth Atty on Monday, and the Commonwealth Atty, Eddie Montgomery, has agreed to take on this case and upgrade the charges! Yea! What this means is that Romeo’s Law, a Class D Felony, can ONLY be prosecuted by a Commonwealth Atty, not the local DA. This means that the C.A. will take this to a grand jury for upgraded charges and a new trial date will be set, hopefully in September.
This action would not have been possible without the steady ongoing support of YOU in signing the petition, in calling the DA’s offfice, in PUSHING for a Romeo’s Law charges. (I may be wrong, but I think this may be only the second case of charges under Romeo’s Law.)
A little perspective: the Commonwealth Attorney is known for taking on case he can WIN! When you’re in a position of authority like he is, you want to WIN your cases!
There are several brave ladies in Somerset who have pushed through, despite all odds, despite others saying “it’s just a dog”: Cindy, Marquetta, Linda, the Humane Society, and others. THEY knew that Bowser deserved justice and they have pushed on, despite the odds against them. Thanks also to Kinship Circle and the HSUS, which have wonderful Fact Sheets on their websites which we have been able to download and provide to the attorneys. Such Fact Sheets have been carefully researched and documented and footnoted and are excellent resources to the attorneys as well as the ordinary citizen on subjects such as animal cruelty and dogfighting. I urge you to go to their sites and view these fact sheets. And donate to these organizations when possible so that they can continue to provide us with materials like this.
Thank you also to Deanna Raeke who publishes the daily blog “For the Love of the Dog” and who has highlighted this case on her blog. Her followers have also been active in getting the word out.
Finally, I just want to say to Julia Sharp that your impassioned email to me about Bowser still brings tears to my eyes. I have known you through URKY and know what a fine and dedicated person/rescuer you are, but your email still brings tears to my eyes, but also makes me hopeful that a group of impassioned persons CAN make a difference! Thank YOU, Julia, for all that you do. You are a hero in my eyes and heart!
I will update you again after Eddie Montgomery takes this case to the Grand Jury and upgrades the charges!
The petition now stands at 1,364 signatures! We asked for 500! If you haven’t signed, and know someone who hasn’t signed, please go to
Thank you everyone! Kentucky will send a strong message that it will not tolerate cruelty to animals when this trial is over!
There’s much going on behind the scenes now to investigate and collect evidence and work with witnesses to bring this case together but through everyone’s hard work and determination, we’ve already made a difference!! Everyone who read, signed the petition, passed the word along, has worked diligently to try to make sure that Bowser will receive justice and Suttles will be punished for the heartless cruelty he inflicted on this innocent dog.
I want to thank everyone who has lent a hand in any way to get this story out. Without each and everyone of us, things like this would not be possible. Bowser deserves justice!! Suttles deserved to be punished!
Continue to share the petition, it’s still not over yet!!