Wisconsin: In February 2009, a 3 year old Labradoodle called Zorro pottied in the house. The owner, Michael Tessmer, kicked the dog in anger. And kicked and kicked and kicked and kicked and kicked and kicked and kicked and kicked and kicked the dog. While his two children watched. Zorro died the next day from “massive bleeding caused by blunt-force trauma”.
One of the children, an 11 year old boy, wrote “My Dad is a killer.” on a piece of paper at school. The authorities were alerted and Mr. Tessmer was charged with “causing mental harm to a child and mistreatment of animals, causing death” – both felonies. At trial, the DA told the jury the boy suffered from anxiety and depression after witnessing Zorro’s brutal beating and had nightmares and flashbacks about the incident. The child was unable to sleep alone for months afterward.
The defense attorney argued that Zorro probably ate rat poison, which caused his death and that the kid seemed to be doing well in school so what’s the big whoop?
The jury found Mr. Tessmer guilty on both counts this week and he is scheduled for sentencing May 9:
The mental harm charge carries a 7 1/2 -year prison term; the mistreatment of animals, a 1 1/2 -year term.