on Monday, December 16, 2019
UPDATE (4:15PM, 12/16/19): Security footage of Carothers at the ARL (red shirt) just prior to the alleged attack on Petunia is now available:
Note: There is additional footage after this clip of Carothers exiting the building, but that footage has been provided to law enforcement as part of the investigation and will not be released to media at this time.
ORIGINAL POST (10:00AM, 12/16/19):
Last night animal cruelty hit home.
We’d had a busy day of adopting 33 pets into great homes. From the time we opened until past closing time, our adoption team had been busy helping customers find their new pet family member. As our team began performing their closing duties, including performing a final check on the animals for the evening, there was still a man in the shelter. They asked to him to leave since we were now closed.
Just minutes after he left the building, we discovered the unimaginable: Our sweet bunny, Petunia, had been violently killed. The scene was beyond gruesome. We immediately called Polk County dispatch and deputies arrived to begin the investigation and secure the property to ensure our team was safe, since the suspect’s location and further intent was unknown.
Through impressive detective work from the Polk County Sheriff’s Office, Bobby Carothers of Carroll, IA, was arrested hours later and charged with alleged animal torture and trespassing.
We are devastated, we are shocked, and we are outraged, but beyond that, we are furious. Furious that someone could do this to an innocent animal, furious at the brazen attack on one of our very own, and furious at the lawmakers whose inaction last session will mean the person who did this to Petunia will not get the punishment they deserve.
Enough is enough. Petunia didn’t deserve this horrific act of cruelty, and our team didn’t deserve to find a bunny they loved and cared for in that condition.
We are all hurting this morning as we process last night’s events and mourn the loss of sweet Petunia. We feel violated that our animals and team could be victimized in this way, in the last place we could have imagined. We will do everything in our power to ensure that what little justice is possible will be had, but this fight to improve Iowa’s animal cruelty laws just got a lot more personal.
Iowa’s laws need to change once and for all. For Petunia. For all animals.
-Tom Colvin, CEO
People interested in helping change the animal welfare laws in Iowa to better punish animal abusers can learn more about the proposed legislation and receive action alerts through our Humane Action Network.