Humane Society of Utah asks for maximum penalty in felony animal abuse case

Yulong Du. Photo: Salt Lake County

TAYLORSVILLE, Utah, Oct. 30, 2019 (Gephardt Daily) — The Humane Society of Utah is asking for the maximum penalty in response to charges filed against a Taylorsville man who has been charged with animal cruelty after he allegedly killed his romantic partner’s dog because the victim’s animal was allowed to sleep on the bed.

Yulong Du, 23, was charged with aggravated cruelty to animals, a third-degree felony, and other misdemeanor charges for assault, criminal mischief and intoxication.

According to charging documents, Du threw his partner’s dog to the floor on Sunday, causing the dog to urinate and defecate before shaking in a “seizure-like motion” until death.

“We were appalled when we heard how this dog was killed,” said Vaughn Maurice, Humane Society of Utah executive director, in a prepared statement.

“The man needs intervention to prevent him from causing further harm to another animal or person since we know there is a high correlation between animal abuse and domestic violence. We believe he should receive the maximum sentence for his actions.”

It is a third-degree felony if the person intentionally or knowingly tortures a companion dog or cat; penalties range from $1,000 to $5,000 and six months to five years, said the press release.

“The Humane Society of Utah fought for nearly eight years to pass Henry’s law, which makes the torture of companion animal a third-degree felony in Utah,” the statement said.

“Henry, the dog who inspired the law, was tortured by a man who was jealous of his wife’s pet.”

Utah bill SB 45, sponsored by Senator Allen Christensen, R-Ogden, passed the Utah House in February 2019. This legislation added aggravated cruelty of an animal to the list of offenses that qualify as a domestic violence offense.

The press release said that according to the Animal Welfare Institute, “Multiple studies have found that from 49% to 71% of battered women reported that their pets had been threatened, harmed, and or killed by their partners. In a national survey, 85% of domestic violence shelters indicated that women coming to their facilities told of incidents of pet abuse.”

The probable cause statement for Du said the reporting officer, from the Salt Lake County Sheriff’s Office, was called to the apartment for a domestic in progress.

“I arrived and spoke with the victim, who stated the two had been dating for approximately six months and lived together until approximately one month ago when the victim got their own apartment,” the statement says. “The two still date and sleep in the same residence a couple of times a week.

“The A/P (accused person, Du) and the victim were verbally arguing earlier in the evening. (Du) left and returned a short time later intoxicated, the victim and (Du) began to argue again. The victim asked (Du) to sleep on the floor.”

A few minutes later, (Du) got up from the floor to use the bathroom, and returned to find the victim’s dog was sleeping on the bed. The couple began to argue again, the statement says.

“The victim was told they loved the dog more than (Du) and then (Du) attempted to remove the dog from the bed. A struggle for the dog ensued with both parties trying to gain control of the dog.”

While Du was grabbing at the dog, the victim was injured in the neck, and Du allegedly knocked over a table, causing a lamp and mirror to break, the statement says.

“(Du) was able to gain control of the dog. (Du) then threw the dog to the floor in the hallway just outside the bedroom striking the clothes washer. This caused the dog to urinate and defecate in the hallway and on the washer and dryer.”

The victim told officers the dog shook as if it were having a seizure, then it died.

Du’s bail was set at $5,000.


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