Grand jury indicts Guam’s first case of felony animal cruelty
A pitbull named Thor suffering from untreated tumor. Photo courtesy of GAIN
A grand jury has charged a man with animal cruelty for neglecting his pitbull, which had been suffering from an enlarged tumor.
Melchor Antolin, who is facing one count of first degree animal cruelty as third degree felony and one count of animal abandonment as a petty misdemeanor, is scheduled to appear in court on Sept. 10 for his arraignment.
On Jan. 22, Guam Animal Control was notified that Thor, an adult male pitbull belonging to Antolin, was suffering from an untreated medical condition.
Upon visiting the house where Thor was chained, the dog was found to have a tumor larger than a basketball growing from his leg. Animal Control instructed that Thor needed immediate medical attention. After repeated follow-ups and continued neglect by Antolin, Animal Control confiscated the animal on June 27.
Animal Control brought Thor to the GAIN animal shelter to be euthanized due to his condition. “Multiple veterinarians have since reviewed Thor’s situation, and all were shocked,” said GAIN board president Cyrus Luhr. “Thor suffered through extreme pain, his tumor was growing for months, and weighed about 15 pounds. Every time he moved, his skin would tear.”
Gabe Baker, GAIN board member. said Thor needed medical attention early on,” “But instead he suffered needlessly, and the tumor slowly grew beyond the point he could be saved.”
"Guam law requires owners to provide the veterinary care needed by their pets. Failure to do so is a crime," said Dr. Thomas Poole, Guam territorial veterinarian.
While prior Felony Animal Cruelty cases have been prosecuted on Guam, they stemmed from physical violence toward an animal. This is believed to be the first Felony Animal Cruelty case due to neglect.
“This is a very important case for Guam,” Luhr said. “If you purposefully hurt an animal, whether through physical violence or neglect, the law is clear - animal cruelty is animal cruelty.”
The penalty for First Degree Animal Cruelty is imprisonment for up three years (or up to five years if an individual has prior convictions), and a fine of up to $5,000.