Author Topic: I've been vandalized, dead rabbits, how do I respond now?  (Read 23445 times)

Offline zeugirdor

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I've been vandalized, dead rabbits, how do I respond now?
« on: August 23, 2013, 08:48:00 AM »
Here's the short question: Someone came up during the night and destroyed 7 of my meat rabbits.  There was not enough evidence to identify who did it.  How do I protect my animals moving forward?

Long story: After 2 years of ample meat production and success I've learned enough about producing meat rabbits that I've been able to drop the amount of feed that they require by various means, but the biggest success I had was when I redesigned their hutches to allow them to have access to the grass below their cages.  They were using a 25# sack of feed a week, and the supplemental feed they got from the grass dropped that to one sack a month.  The problem was that the population had finally gotten to where I wanted it and they had completely decimated my back yard (tractoring them around in their mobile hutches).  About two months ago I took the chance and put first one, then a second hutch into the front yard to take advantage of that potential feed, and everything was thriving. The manicured lawn took a hit wherever the hutches were but in three to four days it would bounce back and in a week's time you can't tell where the hutches were aside from the dark green pattern the newly fertilized grass made.  Neighbors took notice and complimented us time and time again on the cute decorations that we painted on the hutches to make them "front yard friendly." Every day children would come up to the hutches and coo about the cute bunnies etc. Two days ago we received a notice from animal control that we had been reported but that they had found no violations. I posted the notice on the hutch, with the words "No Violation" written large enough to see from the sidewalk. Yesterday we found all 7 rabbits systematically (arranged in nice and neat rows) destroyed in our front yard.

As I see it I could: 1)Capitulate and simply return to what I was doing previously, keeping them in my much more secure back yard and simply pay for more feed. This individual would have a difficult time getting to them in the back (if the act of killing was what they were after) with the high privacy fences. 2)Stand my ground and come up with a way to get evidence of who did it and find out what their issues with my rabbits are.  I've been of the mind that it's time for people like us to stand our ground (This far and no further.) However this was very upsetting for my children and while we were comfortable with the attention the rabbits in the front yard gave us initially, this type of attention has in fact made my wife feel unsafe in our very nice neighborhood.

Offline yodal

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Re: I've been vandalized, dead rabbits, how do I respond now?
« Reply #1 on: August 23, 2013, 08:57:15 AM »
I'd fight back...
Set up a game camera and see who it is. And then NAIL there ass!

I've had to do something like this with a neighbor kid that kept breaking into my house.
It worked...

Offline Cedar

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Re: I've been vandalized, dead rabbits, how do I respond now?
« Reply #2 on: August 23, 2013, 08:57:42 AM »
Report it to animal control as well as the police department. Get documentation. Take photos before you move the rabbits, but I am afraid you already did.

Rabbits in the front yard will be a target for humans and animals alike. You might want to keep them out of sight. People are stupid in this world anymore and likely will 'never learn their lesson' and you will only lose more animals. I would also put out security cameras.

A high security fence doesn't always work. Z had a man climb into his backyard at 6 am one morning over a 7 feet solid fence "to see all the animals'. We chased him off by various means. But it was quite disturbing.

Good luck.

Cedar

Offline Shrekfingers

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Re: I've been vandalized, dead rabbits, how do I respond now?
« Reply #3 on: August 23, 2013, 09:14:17 AM »
There is a story of an old farmer that had butched a hog and was hanging in his barn. Next day it came up missing. He never told anyone, not even his wife. A month later, his neighbor asked "hey, they ever find out who stole your hog". The farmer replied.. I just  did. Sometimes silence is golden.

imho....I would not give up my right to freedom of and use of my property just because someone doesn't like it. They violated the law to get you to conform to their wishes when the law did not do what they wanted. Keep them there and buy a means to record the activity around them.

Offline Taylor3006

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Re: I've been vandalized, dead rabbits, how do I respond now?
« Reply #4 on: August 23, 2013, 09:24:48 AM »
Do not forget that people who do that to animals are just as likely to attack humans. Security for animals is one thing, security for humans is another. Police should definately be contacted. Cameras are nice, but it's been my experience that they only help after a crime has been committed. Personally I like good fencing with razor tape but that isn't for everyone.

Offline bdhutier

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Re: I've been vandalized, dead rabbits, how do I respond now?
« Reply #5 on: August 23, 2013, 09:54:29 AM »
I'd look at a game cam too, but one of the IR flash kind, not white light flash.  Animal cruelty is a very serious charge in most states, which comes with plenty of time in big-boy jail.  I have no issues with the killing of animals, but to do it just for the Hell of it, or to poke at your neighbors really gets me steamed... >:(

Offline Shrekfingers

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Re: I've been vandalized, dead rabbits, how do I respond now?
« Reply #6 on: August 23, 2013, 10:35:32 AM »
Do not forget that people who do that to animals are just as likely to attack humans. Security for animals is one thing, security for humans is another. Police should definately be contacted.Cameras are nice, but it's been my experience that they only help after a crime has been committed. Personally I like good fencing with razor tape but that isn't for everyone.

Much like the police...., alas razor wire fence is unlawful in my city. I agree with calling animal control,  if your in a small community go to your local paper, furry little animal deaths get more attention anymore than a gunned down jogger

Offline RitaRose1945

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Re: I've been vandalized, dead rabbits, how do I respond now?
« Reply #7 on: August 23, 2013, 10:41:50 AM »
I'd look at a game cam too, but one of the IR flash kind, not white light flash.  Animal cruelty is a very serious charge in most states, which comes with plenty of time in big-boy jail.  I have no issues with the killing of animals, but to do it just for the Hell of it, or to poke at your neighbors really gets me steamed... >:(

I like this.

It really is a big deal, and almost every locality is going to see it as either animal cruelty, destruction of property or both.  And quit frankly, I'd want to know who did it so I could keep my family away from them.  That's just plain disturbing behavior.

Offline katunk

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Re: I've been vandalized, dead rabbits, how do I respond now?
« Reply #8 on: August 23, 2013, 10:57:55 AM »
I agree with the game camera idea!
Regards

Offline Cedar

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Re: I've been vandalized, dead rabbits, how do I respond now?
« Reply #9 on: August 23, 2013, 11:07:04 AM »
Two days ago we received a notice from animal control

And this is why I would inform animal control... It is a direction to start looking into who did it.

Cedar

Offline Scottman

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Re: I've been vandalized, dead rabbits, how do I respond now?
« Reply #10 on: August 23, 2013, 11:13:40 AM »
How were they executed?

I have the same set up technically my rabbits aren't secured in their tractors with pad locks or anything, just spring clips are securing the door. I've never lost a rabbit (to animals). But I do always wonder about the 2 legged variety.

Offline BillyS

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Re: I've been vandalized, dead rabbits, how do I respond now?
« Reply #11 on: August 23, 2013, 11:42:22 AM »
I would definitely set up a camera. If you don't buy one, rent one. This is wrong in way too many ways.

It's a neighbor who thinks he/she is above the law and has resorted to highly illegal activity, including violence and animal cruelty, to prove nothing other than you have a sadistic dick living in your neighborhood. That or it's a deeply disturbed child who needs to be exposed.

Either way, the person(s) need to be dealt with.

Offline zeugirdor

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Re: I've been vandalized, dead rabbits, how do I respond now?
« Reply #12 on: August 23, 2013, 12:44:32 PM »
Method seemed to be strangulation.  I've never seen a rabbit with a broken neck after rigger has set in, but it didn't feel to me like their necks were broken.  Two did have damage (none life threatening) indicating an animal's involvement.  It looked to me like they let their dog try to get at them to start with, but my cages were too well built.  The rabbits like to lean up against the wire and are used to having friendly people/dogs pet them through the cage.  Looks like the animal was sniffing at it and got a hold of it and pulled for a while before the rabbit got away.  There's evidence of a second rabbit (first one white second one black) having been pulled the same way, but I'm convinced that it was staged.  (Second dead rabbit placed where the dog could get to it through the same hole) No way would the second rabbit be in that position in that place after the first had been injured that way.  I had to put all of this together from the injuries and damage though because 4 were lined up nice and neat inside of the cage, two were in the yard in front of one cage, and the other hutch that only had one rabbit in it was open and it's obvious that the person had a hard time reaching all the way to the back (part of the design from the beginning) to catch the one rabbit in that hutch.  That rabbit was entirely unmarked outside of it's cage.

I can't believe that we slept through the whole gruesome ordeal happening in our front yard.

Police department was called they said Animal Control was going to follow up but they are over-worked this time of year, and haven't heard from them yet. I have pictures of the dead rabbits after they were moved and have not yet moved anything else but there's no evidence left behind except for a little bit of damage to one of the hutches that looks like an animal was involved. 

I feel like it is up to me to gain any evidence if I want to get any justice, but don't know if it is smarter to just go back to running silent. Monetarily it would actually make sense to invest in a game cam based on the feed savings that i get from tractoring them where there is still grass. I agree that the cameras are actually only there to document the vandalism not to prevent it, so which is it?  Is it worth making the investment on the chance that I could identify the scumbag(s)? I've got some ideas on how to set things up to get evidence.  Even with initial baiting of the hutches until I have replacement animals to put into them.  I've already taken the steps to become more visible in the neighborhood by putting these hutches into the front yard, should I roll over and just put them back into the back yard in hopes to not draw any more attention? Or is it time to become more visible and make a difference (hopefully for the better)?

Offline Still Hunter

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Re: I've been vandalized, dead rabbits, how do I respond now?
« Reply #13 on: August 23, 2013, 01:05:15 PM »
I'm sorry to hear that you had to go through this. Please don't let it discourage you. There are lots of good suggestions in this thread. And if you think they opened a door to the hutch or yard to do this, I would mount a battery operated door alarm concealed inside (Wal-Mart sells these). That way, the next time they try to open the door at night you will hear the alarm and can come out with your axe handle, or camera, whatever works for you. Good luck and don't let yourself be pushed around. IMHO. Good luck.

Offline BillyS

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Re: I've been vandalized, dead rabbits, how do I respond now?
« Reply #14 on: August 23, 2013, 01:07:28 PM »
Do not roll over. It's your land, your stuff, and you've already been through a round with law enforcement (animal control) who has given you their blessing. Unless you left something out, you are completely in the right and there's no reason to retreat.

If it was a person, they need to be caught. This event has obviously rattled your cage, both figuratively and literally. If it was an animal, it needs to be caught. Who knows? It might be nothing more than a meticulous raccoon or an escaped monkey or something. But wouldn't you rather know what/who was killing your animals?

And if it is a who, wouldn't you feel safer knowing they had been caught?

Offline inconel710

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Re: I've been vandalized, dead rabbits, how do I respond now?
« Reply #15 on: August 23, 2013, 01:10:35 PM »
Call it the redneck in me, but I wouldn't back down.  You've contacted the police (who contacted animal control),but they'll probably need more evidence to do anything useful.  I don't know how you're set for funds, but how about a "black" IR game camera and maybe a MURS motion detector setup so you can catch them in the act.  That's probably $300 in gear, but it might be worth it to get justice.

Offline Cedar

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Re: I've been vandalized, dead rabbits, how do I respond now?
« Reply #16 on: August 23, 2013, 01:13:16 PM »
Instead of live rabbits, put stuffed rabbit toys in there. A person won't know the difference in the dark and a dog will. If it is a dog, it will likely be back soon. And after your second post detailing more about it, I would still suspect an animal did this.

Cedar

Offline Theswerd

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Re: I've been vandalized, dead rabbits, how do I respond now?
« Reply #17 on: August 23, 2013, 02:36:34 PM »

...
I can't believe that we slept through the whole gruesome ordeal happening in our front yard.

Police department was called they said Animal Control was going to follow up but they are over-worked this time of year, and haven't heard from them yet. I have pictures of the dead rabbits after they were moved and have not yet moved anything else but there's no evidence left behind except for a little bit of damage to one of the hutches that looks like an animal was involved. 

I feel like it is up to me to gain any evidence if I want to get any justice, but don't know if it is smarter to just go back to running silent. Monetarily it would actually make sense to invest in a game cam based on the feed savings that i get from tractoring them where there is still grass. I agree that the cameras are actually only there to document the vandalism not to prevent it, so which is it?  Is it worth making the investment on the chance that I could identify the scumbag(s)? I've got some ideas on how to set things up to get evidence.  Even with initial baiting of the hutches until I have replacement animals to put into them.  I've already taken the steps to become more visible in the neighborhood by putting these hutches into the front yard, should I roll over and just put them back into the back yard in hopes to not draw any more attention? Or is it time to become more visible and make a difference (hopefully for the better)?


zeugirdor, first, I am so sorry for your loss. It really sucks to have something/someone/somecritter that you care about taken or destroyed, and as I am sure you have seen, we all feel for you and your loss. You may wanna vent a bit on the Airing of Grievances thread. (http://thesurvivalpodcast.com/forum/index.php?topic=11882.0)


That said, yeah... it seems very strange to have slept through the whole thing. I don't know how many folks have heard a rabbit scream, but I know I will never get the sound of that out of my spine... Makes me wonder just how they accomplished this.


As to what to do... I admit my confrontational/aggressive/offended side wants to get them on camera doing something like that again... But I can see an argument for leaving them in the back field. Not because you don't want to cause issues or whatever, but because I would not want to knowingly put a critter in a situation where it would get hurt. I would feel, however unjustifiably, complicit in it's murder.  :-\


That said, if you do decide to go for a "bait" situation, I would suggest a breed like the Flemish Giant. Big sucker, and it is possible that in trying to fight for it's life it may kick hard enough to break something. (Had to carry one out of my room once. It was NOT happy. Did me some damage, though minor, since I knew how to carry one safely. And it was a runt.)


Oh, just thought of this... some of the ones that seem to have no apparent COD, may have died from heart failure. A few of my mom's show bunnies died that why when a critter scared the crap out of them. The larger the breed, the worse the heart, I hear. The may have simply scared the poor things to death.


Best of luck with whatever path you chose.


Theswerd.




(Edited to add link to a thread.)
« Last Edit: August 23, 2013, 02:48:51 PM by Theswerd »

Offline zeugirdor

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Re: I've been vandalized, dead rabbits, how do I respond now?
« Reply #18 on: August 24, 2013, 07:48:23 AM »
So yesterday I bought a game camera, positioned the hutch for optimum recording, and difficulty of view from the street, placed a toy rabbit inside and came up with a completely inconclusive picture of someone who was obviously interested in the hutch but didn't make any moves onto the property.

Time will tell whether anything worth-while comes out of all of this.

Offline Morning Sunshine

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Re: I've been vandalized, dead rabbits, how do I respond now?
« Reply #19 on: August 24, 2013, 08:01:58 AM »
interesting.....

Offline kenser321

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Re: I've been vandalized, dead rabbits, how do I respond now?
« Reply #20 on: August 24, 2013, 09:27:41 AM »
I would immediately build my hutch twice as big and grow twice as many animals. That gets destroyed do it again twice as big twice as many animals. I find resiliency to be a big screw you to bullies.

Offline RitaRose1945

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Re: I've been vandalized, dead rabbits, how do I respond now?
« Reply #21 on: August 24, 2013, 09:49:08 AM »
So yesterday I bought a game camera, positioned the hutch for optimum recording, and difficulty of view from the street, placed a toy rabbit inside and came up with a completely inconclusive picture of someone who was obviously interested in the hutch but didn't make any moves onto the property.

Time will tell whether anything worth-while comes out of all of this.

Could be something, could be nothing.

As a former meter reader, I can tell you there were LOTS of times when I would be on my route, see something that caught my eye as a bit different (like "why isn't that rabbit moving at all?"), and try to catch a better look without appearing to be snooping.

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Re: I've been vandalized, dead rabbits, how do I respond now?
« Reply #22 on: August 24, 2013, 09:53:51 AM »
Firstly, that really sucks and I can imagine what emotions I would be having over this.  After you take a step back you may find that leaving this to the authorities may be the best recourse.  Killing and/or stealing someone's livestock is a pretty big deal and I would hope they would take it seriously.  Whether they do or don't, I suggest picking your battles.  Ask yourself if daring someone to come back and do this again, or worse, is the approach you want to take.  If you have enough money to gamble with a shitty neighbor, then you have enough money to move them to the back yard and supplement their feed.

Just my .02

Offline EN

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Re: I've been vandalized, dead rabbits, how do I respond now?
« Reply #23 on: August 24, 2013, 02:14:22 PM »
I would set it up just like before and operate as normal (with live rabbits) except with the game camera set up.  I would also try to get a MURS setup or something else to give you an alarm not audible to the perpetrator.  Presuming it's a person, if I could catch them in the act I would make sure I called 911 prior to going outside to see who they are so the police would show up quickly.  I would make sure I could identify them and I would charge them with as many crimes as possible ( trespassing, animal cruelty, vandalism, etc ). It may turn out to be an animal, maybe even a neighbors dog.  That would be a much easier situation to deal with.

My two cents

Offline zeugirdor

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Re: I've been vandalized, dead rabbits, how do I respond now?
« Reply #24 on: August 29, 2013, 11:27:24 PM »
Things escalated a little today.  Received a phone call from a family member who got a call from a family member who got a call from someone who was trying to be anonymous.  Message was something along the lines of that the killing of the rabbits was the first step and that if we didn't move the (now empty) hutches to the back yard that more was going to happen.

With all of the "He said, he said" garbage I'm confident that I didn't get all of the message.  It could have been a concerned neighbor who didn't want to talk to us directly just saying "Please don't continue to piss them off." I got the impression that the person who received the phone call knew who they were talking to, and the a$$-h0l3 was siding with the caller saying that "When I drove by the other day it looked tacky."

Needless to say I'm not taking this lying down.  Just a few minutes after I received that phone call I got a knock on the door from a local news guy wanting to talk about the story. I guess by posting this here I'm giving up my identity, but I think it's worth sharing anyway. http://www.kristv.com/news/someone-kills-family-s-rabbits-makes-threat/

Offline Cedar

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Re: I've been vandalized, dead rabbits, how do I respond now?
« Reply #25 on: August 29, 2013, 11:48:56 PM »
Get the MUD records on the phone calls. If you filed a police report, they or you should be able to get it from the telephone company. Obviously someone knows your family in order to call a relative/s.

Your cages are kinda cute too.

Cedar

Offline NWPilgrim

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Re: I've been vandalized, dead rabbits, how do I respond now?
« Reply #26 on: August 30, 2013, 02:02:51 AM »
Killing your animals and making telephone threats is serious.  Some neighbor out there is very violent and control obsessive.  If it were me I would want to get this person outed and dealt with by the authorities.  He is likely to keep escalating until he successfully hurts you or he is caught and locked up.

- Game camera or outdoor web cams not just because of the rabbits but because of the threats, too
   *I would try to set up two in a "cross fire" position so that if he tries to steal one you might still get him on a less obvious backup camera focused more on the first camera

- Padlock for the cages at night.  It will make more noise to break in and be further evidence of forced entry.

- I like the door alarm idea whether silent remote or loud

- Be sure your house is very secure: locked windows and deadbolted doors, exterior motion sensor lights,  etc.

- Inside barking dog for alerting you.  For the long term it may not be a bad idea to get a larger guard dog type (trained of course) to bark and chase intruders on the property (only on command)

- Report to the police and include your suspicion it is the same person who called maliciously animal control to harass you, and
talked to your neighbor.  Tell the police who you heard the threats from and maybe they will backtrack to the actual caller.  You can ask the phone company to trace all calls on your phone for the next month or whatever as a precaution since they have already used the phone elsewhere to threaten you.
I would take this as a general warning of what risks there are to having livestock and even a garden if society and economy get worse.  right now this jerk is acting violently in good times just because he doesn't like the hutches in the front yard.  This yo-yo and other like him could be much more of a threat to your family and property in harder times.

So I would be thinking not just in terms of responding to the immediate threat but also the longer term general threats.  If you roll over you send the message that the violent person in the neighborhood alpha male and you will comply with his rules. exactly what he wants confirmed.  And if confirmed it will encourage him to be more bold.  That is not a rational person you are dealing with.  He is a psychopath and has escalated his obsessive thoughts to violent action.  No halfway normal person would ever conceive of doing such a thing.  A vandal would just do it and not be making threatening phone calls.

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Re: I've been vandalized, dead rabbits, how do I respond now?
« Reply #27 on: August 30, 2013, 07:52:19 AM »
Killing your animals and making telephone threats is serious.  Some neighbor out there is very violent and control obsessive.  If it were me I would want to get this person outed and dealt with by the authorities.  He is likely to keep escalating until he successfully hurts you or he is caught and locked up.

Ditto on that. . .  It takes someone pretty crazy and out right brazen to go on anothers property and do something like that.  And to prove they didn't have an ounce of sanity in them, instead of fealing remorse and being scared they would get caught, they escalated it further by making the threatening phone call.

Offline RitaRose1945

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Re: I've been vandalized, dead rabbits, how do I respond now?
« Reply #28 on: August 30, 2013, 08:57:35 AM »
Ditto on that. . .  It takes someone pretty crazy and out right brazen to go on anothers property and do something like that.  And to prove they didn't have an ounce of sanity in them, instead of fealing remorse and being scared they would get caught, they escalated it further by making the threatening phone call.

Exactly.

This person is not even close to stable.

Offline bdhutier

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Re: I've been vandalized, dead rabbits, how do I respond now?
« Reply #29 on: August 30, 2013, 09:10:35 AM »
FYI, this would fall under Penal Code ยง42.092, Cruelty to Nonlivestock Animals, and is punishable as a Class A Misdemeanor for the first two convictions.  Depending on your county prosecutor, it could go as a state jail felony for the first two convictions.  The enhancements are state jail and third degree respectively, if the actor has the two or more prior convictions.

As stated, this is serious business.