On Friday, May 18, 2012, I attended a meeting with Chris Martin, District Attorney for Van Zandt County, Texas, along with two animal loving constituents from East Texas, Marie Aughtry and Janet Bouchard, to follow up on a horrific animal abuse case that I (along with several others) felt fell through the cracks. To recap, on March 19, 2012, Ranger, a bull dog, was brutally choked and beaten with a claw hammer while tethered to a tree by Keith Meredith, who admitted to hitting the dog and making a mistake, in Canton, Texas. As several of our members continue to ask, "What ever happened in Van Zandt," herein I will share my opinion on the meeting.
Mr. Martin and others from his office, along with Officer James Bradshaw, attended. Mr. Martin represented that he "aggressively" pursued this case. He also represented that he will not present the case to another grand jury because "it would fly in the face of justice" and argued that such a move is considered "forum shopping." Mr. Martin did admit that he did not call Officer Bradshaw live and also called Ranger a "pit bull" throughout the meeting only to be corrected by Officer Bradshaw and Ms. Bouchard as Ranger was a bull dog.
Before arriving at the meeting, I felt optimistic. I even brought the original petition prepared by a Dallas third grader who had her whole class' signatures asking Mr. Martin to bring the case before another grand jury. After all, Keith Meredith admitted to killing the dog at the scene, and admitted he "made a mistake." However, within a couple of minutes of the meeting commencing, it was evident Mr. Martin would not do anything more on this case. In my opinion, Mr. Martin acted rude, obnoxious, and attempted to intimidate us by threatening litigation and attempting to depose Ms. Aughtry in the meeting in order for her to admit elements for a cause of action against THLN. He also told us that we hurt his "feelings" and that a recent THLN blog surrounding this case was "really hurtful."
I, nor several others of you will not forget Ranger. Nor will I forget Officer Bradshaw's valiant act in arresting Keith Meredith at the scene for animal cruelty. We ended the meeting by wishing Mr. Martin the best of luck in the next election.
Proving that cities do listen to concerned Texans, however, I commend a Texas town that recently cancelled an event amid an out pour of letters and emails. On June 23-24, 2012, the Van Horn Chamber of Commerce is hosting "Van Horn Frontier Days and Trailer Roping." It featured an event called donkey roping, wherein donkeys are shocked with a cattle prod until they try to run away and once in motion two people on horseback run the donkey down, one throwing a rope around its neck, the other around its rear legs. Once roped, the donkeys are stretched between the two horses. After listening to many Texans, including members from THLN, as of now, the event has been eliminated from its Frontier Days. I thank the City of Van Horn, Texas for listening to the public and removing this cruel event.