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Abused Dog Faces Abuser in Utah Courtroom

Our hearts are with you, Henry! And you too, Judge Barrett! From your comments you must be one of the good ones! Thanks to The...

Joy  |  Nov 8th 2006


Henry’s Abuser Goes To Trial

Our hearts are with you, Henry! And you too, Judge Barrett! From your comments you must be one of the good ones!

Thanks to The Salt Lake Tribune for this article.

Dog appears in court, helps put away abuserBy Stephen Hunt
The Salt Lake Tribune

Henry the dog made an unusual appearance in 3rd District Court on Monday.

Animals are usually banned from courtrooms. But the black Chihuahua mix’s visible burn scars and missing left eye articulated the torture inflicted by 36-year-old Murray resident Marc Christopher Vincent.

Calling the conduct “horrendous,” Judge William Barrett sentenced Vincent to six months in jail, a mental health evaluation, a $500 fine and $986 restitution. During 24 months of probation, Vincent also will be forbidden to have contact with animals, “domesticated or otherwise,” Barrett ordered.

On May 8, Vincent irreparably damaged Henry’s eye when he chased the then-6-month-old puppy with a leaf blower. He told his soon-to-be ex-wife, Rhonda Kamper, he was merely “playing” with the puppy.

But then on May 25, Vincent put the dog in a 200-degree oven for five minutes, an ordeal that scarred Henry’s chest and fused the dog’s front paws together. Kamper said her husband told her he wanted to make the dog “mad” after it urinated in its cage and tried to bite him. She said Vincent told her she initially considered putting the puppy in the microwave.

During the sentencing hearing, Kamper carried the small dog to the bench and held it up for the judge to view the injuries.
“I don’t like people who abuse animals,” the judge told Vincent.

“I don’t like people who abuse children. Both are defenseless.” After the hearing, Kamper said her husband of 7- years became jealous of the dog because it demanded much of her attention. She said Vincent had been prescribed medication for ongoing anger issues but he refused to take the pills.

She noted that while Vincent had apologized in court to the public, his family and friends, “he forgot to apologize to me, of all people.” “I want him cooked, himself, so he knows what it feels like” Kamper told news reporters.

Two months ago, Vincent pleaded guilty to one of two counts of class A misdemeanor animal cruelty, punishable by up to a year in jail. Animal rights advocates have identified Henry’s case as an example of why Utah needs to increase the penalty for animal torture to a third-degree felony, punishable by up to five years in prison.

Kamper told Gene Baierschmidt, executive director of the Humane Society of Utah, that she and Henry would be happy to appear at the Legislature to promote a stricter statute.

“Whatever it takes,” Kamper said.