animal cruelty in spotlight february 2012 - Okaloosa County Sheriff's ...

animal cruelty in spotlight february 2012 - Okaloosa County Sheriff's ...



A Message From Your


Alaqua Animal Refuge held its

2nd Annual Animal Cruelty

Investigation and Prosecution

Seminar “From Crime to

Punishment” this month. The

event attracted more than 125 law

enforcement officers, state

attorneys, animal control officers,

and shelter directors.

Public awareness and a strong

focus on investigating and

prosecuting animal cruelty cases

are key components of dealing with

this issue.

Our agency has taken steps to

put more emphasis on catching

those responsible for animal

abuse. I salute the combined

efforts of all those involved.




The Okaloosa . County Sheriff’s Office supports efforts to give

animal cruelty cases the attention they deserve and to use

education to prevent animal abuse to the greatest extent


Abby When Found

Abby One Year Later

Here’s an example of the type of case deputies and animal

control officers encounter:

The Panhandle Animal Welfare Society Animal Services

office received a call about a female yellow Lab that was

emaciated and chained in a backyard. When the OCSO & a

PAWS Officer responded and found her, “Abby” had no food

or shelter and only green stagnant water in a bucket. She

weighed sixteen pounds. While investigating, PAWS learned a

year earlier Abby had weighed forty pounds. Abby’s owner

turned himself in and said he had “forgot about providing for

her". He was sentenced to six months probation. He also had

to write a letter to PAWS explaining what had happened and

why, to be used for educational purposes. Fortunately this

story has a happy ending. When Abby was adopted by her

new family one month later, she had already gained twenty

pounds and was healthy.

Florida Statute 828.12 Cruelty to Animals: to unnecessarily overload,

overdrive, torture, torment, deprive of necessary sustenance or shelter or

unnecessarily or cruelly beat, mutilate, or kill an animal….




When it comes to the issue of protecting animals from abuse,

our agency encourages citizens to keep the following five tips in


1. If you suspect animal abuse, report it!

Neighborhood Watch Groups should be sure animal neglect or abuse is a

topic of discussion.

2. Give law enforcement as much information as possible.

3. Push for stronger laws and tougher penalties.

4. Support your local animal shelters or rescue organizations.

5. Set a good example for our children.



An OCSO investigator who survived being shot three times while working to take a violent fugitive into

custody says the amount of support he’s received has been overwhelming, including letters from across the


Investigator Steve Hough says the December 9 th , event in Santa Rosa County, when the suspect came out

of the home on Camille Garden Circle firing guns in both hands, initially seemed like something out of a

movie. He says he relied on his training and returned fire immediately. But when he was knocked to the

ground and saw all the blood, he realized he’d been shot in the face.. In addition to that injury, two bullets

also went through Investigator Hough’s leg, injuries he was unaware of until he arrived at the Emergency

Room. Hough, who is part of the OCSO Sexual Predator & Offender Unit, was working at the time as part

of a U.S. Marshals Service team.

Investigator Hough and his wife Tanya say they want to voice their extreme gratitude for the emotional

and financial support offered by co-workers, family, friends, local citizens, and even complete strangers

over the last two months.

“It’s just been incredible,” said Hough. “The amount of support that’s come in is still, to this day,

it’s overwhelming. It’s phenomenal.”

Hough and his wife Tanya say it has boosted their spirits and helped ease the painful process of


Hough says he plans to return to his job as a law enforcement officer once he’s gotten through all the

planned surgeries.

He also wants to be able to share his experiences with fellow law enforcement officers in hopes his

experience may provide insights that would benefit others who also find themselves in a gunfight.

To watch an interview with Investigator Hough, divided into two segments, click on the following links:




Investigators with the Okaloosa County Sheriff’s

Office say there may be additional victims connected to a

scam involving a Destin man who posed as a real estate

agent and rented out vacant homes without the owners’


40-year old William Richard Slattery III is charged

with multiple counts of racketeering and posing as an

unlicensed real estate broker. Deputies say Slattery,

working under the name SGI Services, leased out vacant or

abandoned homes on Quail Lake Boulevard, Harborwind

Court and Cypress Street. In some cases, the homeowners,

who knew nothing of the rentals, were filing for bankruptcy

and the homes were in foreclosure.

Investigator Jim Hoisington says there may be additional

victims in the area. Anyone with information is asked to

contact Hoisington at the Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office

Criminal Investigations Division, 609-2094.

Inspector George Collins received Congressional Recognition for work investigating and

increasing public awareness about the crime of human trafficking. Inspector Collins

brought national and international attention to problems with the J-1 Summer Work

Travel Visa program and subsequent exploitation of foreign workers at the hands of

some labor brokers who abuse the program.

Collins received an award for his professionalism and dedication from Florida 1 st District

U.S. Congressman Jeff Miller, presented by District Aide Helen Rigdon.





From left to right:

Investigator John Merchant

—Medal of Merit

Investigator Todd Watkins

—Medal of Valor

Investigator Steve Hough

—Medal of Valor

Investigator Jeff McGill

—Medal of Merit

2011 Investigator of Yr. Al McDonough

2011 Deputy of the Year Heath Hehl

Supervisor of Year Sgt. Ron Kimble

Field Services—Corp. Michael Smith





From left to right:

Frank “Pop” Spinella

-Volunteer of the Year

Lucien Byron, Jr.

Volunteer with 10 Yrs Service

Morris “Stew” Stewart

Posse Member of the Year

Support Services—Dep. Charlie Bozeman

Non-Sworn Employee—Deborah Anderson

From left to right:

Angie Barrow

- Communications Performer of Yr.

Frankie Burgess

- Operations Division

Ashley Bailey

-Support Services Division








My favorite Bible verse is Philippians 4:13, which

reads “I can do all things through Christ who gives me

strength.” Having been in law enforcement for 20 years

before going into the ministry I often believed I could “do

all things” on my own. It wasn’t until many years later

when I realized I needed and wanted God to be in control

of my life. It didn’t mean that I was not going to make

any of my own decisions but that I could go to him and be

guided by his wisdom. I also sought advice from people

who had “been there and done that and have the tee shirt.”

Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office has five chaplains

who are here to be a listening ear and yes, maybe even

dispense some wisdom. All have had experience in

dealing with tragedies and heartache and know how to

listen and not judge. So if you are thinking you have to

“do all things” on your own, you don’t. We are here and

can be reached 24/7. Not because we have to but because

we want to. Know you are being prayed for and we ask

God to keep you and your family safe and well. We look

forward to serving you in any way we can.

Chaplain Dennis Walker

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