Police: Family was targeted in dog killing/mutilation caseWritten by John P. McCartney | | firstname.lastname@example.org
The mutilation killing of a 20-pound female terrier mix dog in Oregon has citizens appalled, angry and concerned for the well-being of their pets. But Lt. Hank Everitt of the Oregon Police Division, said the detectives working the case do not believe it was a random occurrence.
“If it were looked at being some kind of random act, I think there would be more of that [kind of concern],” Everitt said. “Everything we’re hearing, we just believe this family was targeted or the dog was targeted to send a message to the family.
“Our detective bureau is looking into it. We’re not getting a lot of cooperation from the family, so there’s not a whole lot of leads right now. Everything we’ve gotten has been rumor, innuendo, Facebook-type stuff.”
The dog, Khloe, also called Lola, went missing Dec. 27 after being put in the backyard of her owner, Melody L. Wilhelm. When the dog did not bark at the back door to indicate that she wanted to come back into the house, Wilhelm told police a small group of family and friends unsuccessfully searched the neighborhood for Khloe.
The following day, the police report states that Adam T. Rodriguez, 28, discovered the back hindquarters of Khloe on the east side of Wilhelm’s backyard. The police report states that Rodriguez “is the live-in boyfriend” of Wilhelm.
Wilhelm was unavailable for comment. The man who answered at the phone number on the police report for Wilhelm said it was a wrong number and that he did not know anyone by the name of Melody Wilhelm.
Rodriguez was also unavailable for comment.
Everitt said that the police report was filed by Wilhelm’s sister, Michelle D. Becker of Oregon. The report states that Becker made the report after she “heard about the incident which was also posted on Facebook.” Becker did not return phone calls seeking comment.
Mental health concerns
Everitt said police are “not discounting that it could be something like the behavior found in people who later become infamous as serial killers,” but Everitt does not believe that is the case with this situation.
Everitt said the Oregon police have “not seen any other incidents like this” in the past 18 months, “and I pretty much see all the reports. I know there has not been any.”
Everitt referred Toledo Free Press to Detective Sgt. Kelly Thibert, who is handling the case, for additional information. Thibert did not return phone calls.
The Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Los Angeles reports on its website that “many studies in psychology, sociology and criminology during the last 25 years demonstrate that violent offenders frequently have childhood and adolescent histories of serious and repeated animal cruelty.”
FBI analysis of serial killers since the 1970s also reports that most had killed or tortured animals as children. Additional research shows patterns of animal cruelty among perpetrators of more common forms of violence, including child abuse, spouse abuse and elder abuse, something Dr. Jill M. Fox said she has seen in children.
Fox, a psychiatrist and physician with a private practice in Rossford, said she has treated “little children who have been mean to animals. At least 30 percent of the time, they’ve witnessed some domestic violence. And they act on the animals because obviously they are too little to act out on people.”
Fox also said that although “I’ve never taken care of anyone who did this kind of thing to an animal, I do have some insight to what possibly is going on.
“Generally speaking, all of us cringe when we hear about something like this. It really is kind of the same kind of mentality you would almost think of in a rape. There’s a power thing. You have a big person having power over the dog. They feel more powerful by doing grotesque things.
“It could have been like an intimidating kind of thing, a ‘This is what I’m doing to your dog. If you talk, this is what I’m going to do to you’ kind of thing,” she said.
Fox said the person who mutilated the dog probably killed the animal first because it would be almost impossible to cut an animal in half with the precision described by Oregon Police Sgt. Chris Bliss, given how an animal’s instinct would cause it fight as vigorously as it could.
“They killed the animal first,” Fox said. “[This is some kind] of sick intimidation or something like that. I think there are people on drugs or whatever who will do just about anything that their higher-ups order them to do. That’s kind of the mentality of the gang.”
Fox said she doesn’t think the person who did this “would have much of a conscience. And I think they would just come across as very, very shallow, very ‘me-oriented,’ although everybody who is shallow and ‘me-oriented’ is not a person who would mutilate a dog.
“However, it would be someone who just was really very removed from their conscience or they really had a vengeance streak or perhaps they’re addicted to drugs, and their drug dealer said, ‘You have to go do this and I’ll give you more drugs.’ These are people who will ‘numbness out’ on drugs and do just about anything anybody says when they’re high.”
Fox also works at Family Services, which she describes as a very small community health center in Downtown Toledo where many of the clients are referred from Lucas County Children Services. The children she sees typically suffer from disorders like depression, attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder and behavioral and/or impulse control problems.
Fox said she has heard of dog-haters who say things like, “‘Oh, I hate that dog that comes to poop in my yard every day.’ But that would be a pretty sick neighbor who would do a thing like this, don’t you think?”
Fox said she would “absolutely” expect most citizens to be deeply disturbed by a situation like this.
“Of course, my stomach just turns knots,” she said. “I’m just appalled and outraged, and I’m sure everyone is who loves dogs. Even people who don’t love dogs would be outraged.”
Fox said that people bothered by this crime can funnel their outrage into volunteering for organizations like Assistance Dogs of America and the local humane society as well as donating money to organizations that rescue dogs.
“There’s also the Delta Society,” she said. “It’s a rescue group. You help train dogs. And for almost every breed of dog, there’s a rescue kind of group. There’s a ton of organizations whose goal is to make dogs’ lives better.
“There are a lot of things that people can do. So if they are extremely outraged by this behavior, rather than just sit back and be outraged, why don’t they turn that energy into doing something productive for animals?”