Original URL: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2009/08/13/horse_trial/
Bloke decapitates horse with chainsaw
To feed mutts, claims California animal lover
A California man accused of decapitating his horse with a chainsaw to feed his extensive pack of mutts faces up to three years, eight months hard time if convicted on felony animal cruelty charges, the Press-Enterprise reports.
Jack Ziniuk, 64, allegedly beat the equine, named Grizzle, with a sledgehammer before delivering the petrol-driven coup de grâce. Police responded to a dead horse report on 19 April, and arrived to find "40 dogs as well as cats, chickens, goats and peacocks" on Ziniuk's 16-acre property in Anza.
Riverside County sheriff's deputy Jason Reed described Grizzle's condition as "emaciated, bleeding and missing fur". A vet confirmed the animal was alive when it was decapitated.
Cue an appointment with the French Valley courtroom, where Ziniuk "sat next to his attorney, breathing with the assistance of an oxygen tank".*
Deputy DA Blaine Hopp asked Reed: "Why was the horse missing its head?" .
Reed replied: "Jack said he cut the head off to feed the dogs because he didn't have enough food, and most dog food from processing plants come from horses anyway."
Judge Donald Rudolph concluded there was "ample evidence" to move forward with a prosecution, and Ziniuk will appear again before the beak on 25 August.
In his defence, Ziniuk claimed after the hearing he'd only let loose with the chainsaw after the animal was already dead. He said: "I was crying. I loved that horse. Everyone who knows me knows I'm not a cruel person."
He added that he'd previously run a used to run a kennel and grooming center dubbed Jack's Kindness Shop, where he "cared for thousands of animals and rescued strays".
He concluded: "All I know is, I'm not guilty of the stuff they're accusing me of. It's not right. The only thing I want to do is help people's animals." ®
*In the legal world, this justice-dodging frailness ruse is now known as the "Demjanjuk Manoeuvre".