By Margie Wuebker
The organization People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) has sent an urgent plea to Celina Law Director Kevin McKirnan urging him to vigorously prosecute an Indiana man who allegedly beheaded a dog June 3 in Montezuma.
Arthur T. Buschur, 40, of Pennville, Ind., is set to appear Wednesday in Celina Municipal Court on a charge of animal cruelty. His jury trial commences at 8:30 a.m.
Daniel Paden, PETA cruelty caseworker, said the organization based in Norfolk, Va., continues to receive telephone calls from Mercer County residents outraged by the incident. Stories appearing in The Daily Standard in the days following the offense initially led to the office being inundated with calls, Paden added.
Buschur allegedly bludgeoned the boxer named Tyson with a shovel and a maul, a heavy, long-handled hammer used to drive stakes or split logs, according to Mercer County Sheriff's Office reports. He reportedly used a pocket knife to decapitate the dog and then threw the head into a creek near his mother's Riley Street home in Montezuma.
A burlap rope found around the dog's collar by his guardian suggests the animal was tied to a tree prior to the beheading, according to Paden. Reports list the dog's owner as Paula L. Lecompte, 34 W. Main St., Montezuma. Buschur reportedly told Deputy Chris Hamberg the boxer trespassed on his mother's property and tried to attack his sister. Reports also indicate the animal was aggressively pursued prior to the beating and beheading.
Hamberg responded to the scene after LeCompte reported her dog had been shot and the perpetrator, later identified as Buschur, would not return it. Lecompte said Tyson had gotten out of a kennel, but described the animal as neither vicious nor aggressive.
"Animal abusers are cowards," Paden said. "They take their issues out on the most defenseless beings available to them."
Mental health professionals and top law enforcement officials consider cruelty to animals a red flag, according to the cruelty caseworker. Perpetrators of violent acts against animals are often repeat offenders who pose a serious threat not only to other animals, but to the community as a whole, he said.
In the event the jury returns a guilty verdict, Paden has asked McKirnan to seek a sentence extending beyond the maximum six-month jail sentence. He asks that the defendant be required to undergo a thorough psychological evaluation followed by mandatory counseling and anger management at his own expense.
"We implore you to take every measure to ensure that he is barred from all contact with animals and to immediately seize any who may remain in his charge," Paden wrote in the letter to McKirnan.
The first-degree misdemeanor also carries a maximum $1,000 fine.
PETA also is sending its new anti-violence public service announcement to television stations serving the Mercer County area.