Animal Services officers questioned Jenkinson about the brutal kicking attack on Tiger, but he denied having kicked the kitten. The Animal Control officers issued a citation for misdemeanor cruelty to an animal.
Tiger was taken to the Contra Costa Veterinary Emergency Clinic. Doctor Richard Groff wrote in his report that Tiger had “bruised lungs and a concussion due to blunt trauma”. Tiger slowly recovered over a period of weeks and was fortunate to be adopted from the Martinez Animal Shelter.
For Tiger this story had a happy ending. However, as investigation continues into Richard Jenkinson’s activities it seems that the attack on Tiger was just the tip of the iceberg.
In early December of 2003, Jenkinson’s neighbors, the Shumways, called Voices for Pets. A friend of the family suggested that they call after hearing of the attack on Tiger.
Since moving next to Richard Jenkinson seven years before the Shumways had experienced the disappearance of four of their beloved cats - Cala, Marie, Alexander and Whitekeys, along with stray cats that were being fed by the Shumways. Another cat was found in Brentwood after a nine-month absence, perhaps dumped there. Still another had to have a pellet from an airgun removed from his head by a vet.
JenkinsonAlthough the Shumways suspected Richard Jenkinson of dumping or killing their cats, they had no proof and were emotionally unready to accept that a neighbor could be so cruel. They were galvanized into taking action on November 23, 2003. Around 7:30pm, June Shumway, on the advice of the sheriff’s department, woke Jenkinson from an alcohol-induced slumber to have one of her cats, released from a trap in Jenkinson’s backyard. After a short, terse conversation Jenkinson went to go open the trap and the cat returned safely over the fence.
After being told by Animal Control that nothing could be done as trapping is legal, the Shumways installed a cat fence in the backyard and tried to explore what options they could, one of which was calling Voices for Pets.
Leroy Moyer of Voices for Pets arrived at the scene and talked to the Shumways and other neighbors. Some of the neighbors had more information on Jenkinson and his treatment of cats.
For instance, Leroy was told of an incident that occurred in August of 2003. Airgun shots were heard from Jenkinson’s yard by his neighbors. A ten-week-old kitten crawled out from under Jenkinson’s fence, convulsed and died. This was later confirmed by a police report. Unfortunately, no arrest could be made at the time, because there were no direct eyewitnesses to the shooting of the kitten.
Voices for Pets distributed fliers around the neighborhood, offering a reward for information helping with the conviction of Richard Jenkinson. As Leroy and a volunteer were walking the neighborhood a woman stopped them. After reading the flier left on her doorstep she got into her car and drove out to talk to Voices for Pets. She had found her cat dead. The cat had been shot with an airgun.
In March of 2004, four months after Tiger was brutally attacked, the case was referred to the Contra Costa County District Attorney’s office as a misdemeanor cruelty to an animal. A misdemeanor cruelty to an animal is punishable by up to one year in a county jail and up to a 20,000-dollar fine.
On April 19th, 2004 Jenkinson appeared before Judge Cunningham. There he was offered the chance to plead no contest/guilty, pay a $500 fine, restitution of vet bills for Tiger’s care and one year probation. He turned the deal down and requested an introduction to the Public Defender’s office, claiming he did not have the money to pay for a private attorney.
Voices for Pets sent letters to both the District Attorney and the Public Defender pointing out that Jenkinson, a landscaper, went to work regularly. However, Jenkinson was appointed a Public Defender, whom he met with on his next court date on April 27th. Jenkinson then entered a plea of “not guilty”.
Richard Jenkinson’s trial date on July 22nd, 2004 was canceled and a new plea bargain hearing has been set for August 10th, 2004. Voices for Pets is trying to make use of this postponement to generate even more interest in this case. You can help make sure that Jenkinson’s case is prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. Here’s what you can do to help:
Write or call the District Attorney at the address and phone number below. Letters are preferred as they will be added to Jenkinson’s file whereas a phone call might not be.
Contra Costa County District Attorney
725 Court Street
Martinez, CA 94553
Telephone - 925-957-2200
Fax - 925-646-2524
Please include the following information:
The Docket Number: 03-212371-9
The name of the accused: Richard Jenkinson
Ask the D.A. to prosecute this as a serious crime against a defenseless victim.
State that you want your letter attached to the probation report.
It is unlikely that we’ll get more information on this case until after the August 10th hearing; however it is likely that unless the District Attorney offers a “slap on the wrist” deal that Jenkinson will accept as a plea bargain a new trial date will be set.
Voices for Pets and the Shumway family have been extremely grateful for the support that has been offered on this case so far. Thank you!
Written by June Shumway and Leroy Moyer
Update on the Kitten Named Tiger & the Trial of Richard Jenkinson
On November 28, 2003, neighbors witnessed Richard Jenkinson kicking a kitten, “Tiger”, up against his fence repeatedly. The neighbors yelled at him to stop and Jenkinson turned and walked away. The neighbors notified the police and stayed with the injured kitten until Animal Services arrived. When Animal Control Officer Lee saw Tiger he “was unable to move.” Tiger was taken to the Contra Costa Veterinary Emergency Clinic where Doctor Richard Groff wrote in his report that Tiger had “bruised lungs and a concussion due to blunt trauma.”
Jenkinson was cited by Animal Control for misdemeanor cruelty to an animal. Since last November he has appeared before a judge many times and eventually a trial date was set for July 22nd, 2004. It was canceled at the last minute and a plea bargain session was scheduled for August 10th, 2004. Although the plea bargain meeting was held behind closed doors, it is clear that Jenkinson did not accept the bargain offered him as a new trial date has been scheduled.
Jury selection begins at 8:30am and the trial is scheduled to begin at 1:00pm.
September 2, 2004 at 1:00pm at
The Superior Court, Walnut Creek
Dept. 25 - Second Floor
640 Ygnacio Valley Road
Walnut Creek, CA 94596
Second trial dates are almost never cancelled and it is very important that the community make its presence known. The more people that attend, the stronger the message sent to the judge and District Attorney. It is important that violence against pets is treated as a real crime and community involvement is a very effective way to make this happen.
Thanks so much for all the help on this case so far! It is very encouraging to see such an outpouring of support!
Update on Tiger’s Story and the Case Against Richard Jenkinson
In October of 2004, Richard Jenkinson was found not guilty of one misdemeanor count of cruelty to an animal by a jury of his peers. This verdict was delivered almost one year after the original citation for allegedly kicking an 8-month-old kitten named Tiger.
Volunteers for Voices for Pets had worked hard to put together a picture of Richard Jenkinson and his activities. Voices for Pets had taken video of the booby-trapped fence Jenkinson had made by nailing long nails through a board and turning it upside down on the top of his fence as well as his animal trap and junk filled backyard. Voices for Pets spoke with Jenkinson’s neighbors and discovered stories of missing pets in Jenkinson’s area of the neighborhood. Neighbors also spoke of Jenkinson throwing rocks and yelling at pets. Animal Control reports showed Jenkinson having called in injured or dead cats on his property.
However, none of this evidence was used in the court case against Jenkinson. The District Attorney’s office had decided on a tactic of narrowing the focus to the alleged kicking attack on Tiger. By only concentrating on the one incident the Assistant District Attorney prosecuting the case was trapped into trying to prove the Jenkinson had suddenly snapped and the kicking attack on Tiger was an isolated, one-time incident.
Jenkinson’s Public Defender made her case by describing Jenkinson as a quiet Vietnam veteran who kept an iris garden and never harmed anyone. Jenkinson, in the Public Defender’s picture, was the victim of a conspiracy on the part of Jenkinson’s neighbors, who used Tiger’s injuries to seek revenge. Jenkinson and his neighbors had once been friends, however, that changed after the neighbor’s kitten was allegedly shot to death in Jenkinson’s yard. The death of the kitten occurred more than a year before Jenkinson was charged with causing Tiger’s injuries. The Public Defender did not mention the death of the kitten as the cause for the feud between Jenkinson and his neighbors. The District Attorney did not mention this either, as it did not fit in with the tactic of narrowing the focus to concentrate on the attack on Tiger.
Many of the Public Defender’s claims could have been easily countered if the District Attorney had entered in the evidence supplied by Voices for Pets. Pictures of Jenkinson’s messy yard and overgrown garden would have dispelled the defense’s picture of his beautiful iris and fruit tree garden. Allowing testimony from neighbors, especially those who had been subpoenaed already, would have helped keep Jenkinson’s actions in context, by showing that the alleged attack on Tiger was not an isolate instance but the latest in a string of abuses.
In addition to not asking for testimony from Jenkinson’s neighbors, the District Attorney also did not put the second witness to the attack on Tiger up on the stand. The second witness would have helped the case immensely.
Another good person to ask for testimony from would have been the wonderful volunteer who worked hard to trap stray cats in the neighborhood and put them into foster and adoption programs. She would have been able to counter the Public Defender’s descriptions of hundreds of cats living in this neighborhood had she been called to the stand. The volunteer pulled out 14 cats from the neighborhood, ten of which were under the age of 10 weeks. Fortunately these cats are now living in safer homes.
Voices for Pets is very grateful to the many people who helped make this trial happen, for even though the verdict was not what we had been hoping for, every case that gets attention makes it a little easier for others to be taken seriously. Without your letters and phone calls none of this would have been possible.
Voices for Pets is also extremely grateful for the assistance of Community Concern for Cats, The Feral Cat Foundation and the Contra Costa county chapter of the ASPCA. These organizations helped remove cats from Jenkinson’s neighborhood, give them veterinary care and find them homes out of that danger zone.
Tiger’s Story and the Case Against Richard Jenkinson
On November 28, 2003, neighbors witnessed Richard Henri Jenkinson (AKA George Jenkinson) kicking a kitten, “Tiger”, up against his fence repeatedly. The neighbors yelled at him to stop and Jenkinson turned and walked away.
The neighbors notified the police and stayed with the injured kitten until Animal Services arrived. When Animal Control Officer Lee saw Tiger he was “lying motionless” and “was unable to move.”