Pisgah teen enters plea agreement in animal abuse case

Escrito por Nuria Querol i Viñas. Publicado en News in English.

Eric Freihage, 18, Pisgah, who was charged last June with shooting and killing a donkey and injuring a horse in the Little Sioux area, has entered a plea agreement in Harrison County District Court. Source:  Missouri Valley Times

Pisgah teen enters plea agreement in animal abuse case

11/29/2004


Eric Freihage, 18, Pisgah, who was charged last June with shooting and killing a donkey and injuring a horse in the Little Sioux area, has entered a plea agreement in Harrison County District Court.

Freihage, who turned 18 in September and saw his case moved from juvenile to adult court, pleaded guilty to abuse of a domestic animal, according to Harrison County Attorney Judson Frisk.

Freihage allegedly shot the animals belonging to Scott and Brenda Pape of Little Sioux last March. He was also accused of poisoning the Pape's horse and burning his mouth with acid.

The defendant is expected to receive supervised probation for a year, be required to perform 80 hours of community service, and is required to pay restitution to the Papes, according to an agreement reached, said Frisk's office. District Judge Gordon Abel may impose the agreement when he sentences Freihage, Dec. 13. he could also set it aside.

If Freihage complies with the agreement and has a clean record, the plea would be expunged from his record after a year, under the proposed arrangement.

The defendant faced up to two years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000 if convicted. He previously pleaded not guilty plea when the case was moved to adult court in late September, a day after Freihage turned 18.

There was no plan to require any mental health treatment as part of the plea agreement, even though Diane Webber, Midwest regional director of the Humane Society of the United States, called for psychiatric evaluation and counseling at the time of the incidents, saying the connection between animal abuse and violence against humans is well documented.

Frisk said had the case stayed in juvenile court that might have been an option. He said such treatment cannot be ordered nor paid for in this case.

The Humane Society offered a $2,500 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible for the attempted poisoning of the Pape's horse, on or about May 16.

May 17, Scott Pape discovered that his horse, named Josie, had severe blisters on her muzzle, tongue and lips. He made the discovery while retrieving Josie from a field west of the Pape residence. After a veterinary examination, it was determined that a chemical, possibly acid, had been thrown in her face or the person had tried to force it down her throat. Josie slowly recovered over time from the acid burns. Her throat and internal organs were not affected.

It was the second time Josie has been a victim of animal cruelty. In March, she was shot in her shoulder. Another animal, a donkey named Baby, was also shot and killed during that incident. Pape had offered a reward and Harrison County Sheriff's deputies subsequently charged Freihage, then a juvenile, in connection with the shootings.

The Sheriff's Office took chemical samples in the area of the poisoning and had the substance identified.

"Josie survived two awful acts of animal cruelty, but she should not have had to endure any of this pain and suffering," said Diane Webber, director of The HSUS Midwest Regional Office in June. "Anyone capable to inflicting intentional harm on an animal like this is a threat to the community. The connection between animal abuse and violence against humans is well documented."

In Iowa, livestock abuse constitutes an aggravated misdemeanor. The maximum penalty is imprisonment not to exceed two years and a fine of at least $500 but not to exceed $5,000.

©MISSOURI VALLEY TIMES - NEWS 2004