ROBERTSDALE, Alabama — A case involving animal abuse in Robertsdale has drawn the attention of the international organization PETA.
Robertsdale Police Chief Brad Kendrick said he has received emails from around the world following information put out on the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals’ website.
“When it is on PETA’s page, we get emails from around the world demanding that felony charges be brought,” Kendrick said.
The case stems from the arrest of 20-year-old Adam Callaghan in October of 2019. Callaghan is scheduled to appear in Robertsdale’s municipal court on July 8.
“We made an arrest based on a warrant signed in September or October and the person who signed the warrant was advised at the time that these were misdemeanor, not felony charges,” Kendrick said.
But Kristin Rickman, a PETA spokesperson, said the organization became involved following several calls to action after a video surfaced which apparently shows Callaghan brutally beating and handling the dog, whose name is Echo.
“We just have a lot of people here who do not understand why he is not facing felony charges,” Rickman said.
On average PETA receives 300 complaints per week, Rickman said, ranging from complains involving domestic animals, to abuse of wildlife. When it comes to complaints based on viral videos, “we are being slammed with them.”
A link to the website shows the video as part of a news report from a local television station. It also includes a statement from local veterinarian Lacey Davis, which chronicles several visits with the dog and its owner dating back to April of 2019, all the way up to December.
Based on the surveillance video, which was reportedly taken on Oct. 19, Davis states that all of the injuries could point to mistreatment of Echo.
“After reviewing the clips of the video and the case notes related to Echo, I am mortified that we didn’t see this case for what it is: severe unprovoked brutal abuse,” according to the statement which is addressed to Robertsdale PD Chief Investigator Rex Bishop, “and all those involved.” “…we always gave the benefit of the doubt and tried to make the clinical signs fit with an underlying disease that wasn’t there after all.”
The website encourages the public to contact Kendrick, District Attorney Bob Wilters and city attorney Ken Raines via email and also provides links to the Robertsdale Police Department and District Attorney’s Office Facebook pages.
Kendrick said the charges were based on conversations he and Raines had with the DA’s office and are based on state statutes.
“I cannot change the state statute,” he said. “If they want that to change, they’re going to have to work with the legislature to do that, but we have to go with what we have to work with.”
But Rickman said they believe the video, in corroboration with the statement from the veterinarian, is enough evidence to bring felony charges.
“We believe that animal abuse is indicative of conduct,” she said. “The FBI tracks animal abuse cases to indicate a pattern of abuse when it comes to human abuses. Someone who starts out as a youngster abusing frogs will more likely graduate to kittens and puppies and eventually to humans.
“We just want the police and prosecutors to prosecute this case to the full extent of the law. If that means bringing the case before a grand jury, then that’s what we want to happen.”