DNA use in criminal cases has been around for a long time—thirty-five years, or so. And it’s been the cornerstone of numerous cases, sending lots of bad guys to prison.
Well, for the first time in New York City (Brooklyn), DNA was used to convict someone for animal cruelty. In 2008, an apartment manager found Scruffy, aka “Tommy Two Times” (pictured above) with large areas of his fur burned off. His skin was also badly burned, to the extent that the damage had reached the deep muscle of his legs. The building manager notified police and an investigation was opened. In the meantime, vets determined that Scruffy’s injuries were too severe for him to survive. He was euthanized.
Back at the apartment building, detectives searched a vacant room and found what appeared to be burned flesh adhering to a section of flooring. So they removed that portion of the floor and sent it to the lab for testing. DNA from the extracted tissue matched a DNA sample taken from Scruffy. In short, detectives linked two teens to the vicious attack, Angelo Monderoy and Matthew Cooper.
Cooper recently pleaded guilty, stating that he and Monderoy had taken the cat to the apartment where one of the men stepped on the aninal, holding it down, while the other poured lighter fluid over it and set it on fire. Monderoy, however, elected to go to trial. He was convicted on March 8 of this year and now faces 15 years in prison for his violent crimes. Incidentally, Moderoy’s reason for burning the cat…he was bored. He also faces deportation back to his native Trinidad.
Another case of animal cruelty was recently solved using DNA. Madea, a four-year-old family cat, was beaten so severely that her lungs were lacerated. Again, the cat had to be put to sleep. Cat DNA found on the sheath of an umbrella linked 33-year-old Lordtyshon Garrett to the brutal beating of his mother-in-law’s beloved Madea. He was charged for the crime.
In other cases, animal DNA has linked several abusers to their crimes. In North Carolina, for example, blood and hair of burned animals were found on the suspect’s clothing.
Also, scientists have established the country’s first DNA database of dogs used in dog fights.
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