Dog Killers Plead No Contest

August 27, 2003 - Posted at: 3:16 p.m. CDT

JONESBORO, Ark. -- Two Jonesboro teens plead no contest to misdemeanor charges of animal abuse and theft of property for abducting their friends dog and killing it.

Ron "Nick" Allison and Matt Harden were originally believed to have abducted Pooh, a five-year-old Chow-breed dog on June 6, killing it, and claiming to have grilled it and ate it.

After beating Pooh to death, the two strung the dog up on a ladder with part of it's leash, then skinned it and butchered it. Police found two of the paws in a plastic bag in a grill in the back yard, but they don't believe the dog was barbecued.

Pooh's head was found at the bottom of drained swimming pool, several blocks away.

Harden and Allison each received 30 days in jail with 29 suspended, 80 hours of public service, 1 year probation, 1 year of counseling and $550 in fines.

"I picture him getting hit in the head, over and over, in my mind," said Jared Kemp, Pooh's owner. "Hearing him cry out in pain. It really hurts."

It's even more painful for Kemp's mother, who had to be helped from the courtroom after sentencing.

"Something definitely has to be done about this," said District Judge Ray Spruell from the bench. "As the science goes, every serial murderer out there had a history of torturing animals. I hope I'm not looking at that, and I don't think I am. I don't think that's your future."

"I think they should have gotten the maximum fine and one year in jail," said animal right's proponent Ruth Scroggin. "Unfortunately animal cruelty is not looked at in Arkansas as a serious crime. If voters had passed Initiative One last November, they could have been prosecuted as felons. They could have been tracked as felons."

"I am so extremely sorry for what's happened and I will forever and ever regret this," Harden told KAIT.

When asked why he did it, Harden said: "I can't answer that, I do not know. I honestly do not know.

"That was not me. I don't even know who I was that day. I just want to get on with my life," Harden added.

Kemp says that he will never forgive Harden or Allison for what they did to his buddy, Pooh.

"No I believe not," Kemp said. "Because they stole one of my friends lives and they killed him."