AR-News: Family acts in memory of burned cat
wolfcrest at hotmail.com
Fri Aug 1 22:14:01 EDT 2003
Family acts in memory of burned cat
Petition seeks strongest penalty for accused torturers
Liz Kishimoto - The Spokesman-Review
Constance Porter with Lunx the cat, her daughter Whitney, 16, with Phynx the
cat, and her son, Dylan, 12, with Stubby the dog.
Max the cat's legacy lives on.
Hundreds of area residents are signing petitions demanding the Spokane
County Prosecutor's Office seek the stiffest-possible sentences against two
teenage boys charged with killing the 2-year-old tabby.
Jason R. Brumback and Rusty V. Rardon, both 17, are accused of dousing Max
with gasoline and igniting him on July 20, resulting in the cat's death
three days later.
They were formally arraigned Thursday on charges of first-degree animal
cruelty, a felony.
Both teenagers, now restricted to their homes, waived their rights to appear
before Juvenile Court Judge Ellen Kalama Clark.
If convicted, they could face up to 30 days in Juvenile Detention, plus
fines of up to $500 and 150 hours of community service.
When arrested, the two boys said they torched the cat because they were
bored, police reported.
One of the boys later disavowed making a statement about being bored, but
admitted the two were lighting smiley face stickers on fire when the cat was
Constance "CJ" Porter, a registered nurse and mother of three, said she was
sickened when she heard news reports about the animal cruelty.
"When I heard about that cat being burned alive, I almost had to pull my car
over because I was feeling so sick," Porter said.
She and her daughter, Whitney, 16, and sons Derek, 14, and Dylan, 12,
"wanted to do something," Porter said Thursday.
"We have two cats and I'm an animal lover," Porter said. "But I'm not some
kind of nut case. We just feel strongly about this."
The family initially talked about raising money for the veterinarian, Dr.
Mark Fosberg, who volunteered to care for the badly burned cat.
But then the Porters heard Max had died.
Porter said her husband, who is a medical doctor, encouraged his wife and
children to still do something as the Spokane Valley family continued
talking about the case.
"So I printed up this petition," CJ Porter said. She and her kids opened the
phone book and called about 100 veterinarian clinics, asking for their fax
"Not one said `no,' " Porter said of the vet clinics.
After faxing those copies, the 46-year-old mother and three children took to
the hot city streets.
They spent the next two days at the Northwest Seed and Pet at 2422 E.
Sprague collecting hundreds of signatures.
They also sent copies of the petitions to SpokAnimal Care and the Humane
Society, where other signatures were collected.
Her husband has collected an estimated 300 signatures from colleagues in the
medical community, Porter said.
Porter collected a dozen signatures Thursday as she waited outside Juvenile
Court for the arraignments of the two suspects.
"I'd guess we've collected at least 2,000 signatures so far," she said.
The family also has received a couple of crank calls and a death threat, but
Porter said she's undeterred.
In response to public demand, she took additional blank petitions to
Northwest Seed and SpokAnimal Care, 710 N. Napa, on Thursday.
The petitions say: "As citizens of Spokane, we wish to express our outrage
and disgust regarding the cruel and sadistic acts" allegedly committed by
"We demand that they be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law and
receive the maximum penalties," the petition said, concluding: "We express
sadness that our world must be shared with those capable of such
Porter said only one woman, who said she "hates cats," refused to sign the
"Most people say, `Hell, yeah, give that to me.' They sign it, then ask for
blank copies to give to their friends," Porter said.
Besides involving her own children in what she sees as a valuable process,
Porter said she hopes the Prosecutor's Office and the judge assigned to the
case catch wind of public sentiment.
The case has been assigned to Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Sandra Gabriel,
who last year prosecuted a man accused of dragging a horse to its death.
The prosecutor said about 225 names are on petitions that have already
arrived on her desk.
"This is more response than I ever expected," Gabriel said of the
She has gotten at least a half-dozen calls a day since the case became
public last week. "I am surprised by the level of interest."
"I expected some public outcry ... but nothing like this," Gabriel said.
Bill Morlin can be reached at (509) 459-5444 or by e-mail at
billm at spokesman.com.
Every moral advance now taken as a given was once derided as the radical and
meddlesome project of a few cranks.
The United States is a nation of laws: badly written and randomly enforced.
Communism doesn't work because people like to own stuff.
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