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Prosecutors now have a burden of proving that a Jack Russell Terrier suffered “extreme physical pain or injury” before it died in December. On Friday a grand jury indicted the dog’s alleged killer on a torture charge.

Fort Campbell soldier Marc T. Staley, 42, of Denzil Drive, allegedly skinned his wife’s dog, named Baxter, after the couple argued in December. His wife said he put the dog’s remains in a garbage bag and tossed it at her feet.

Randall Greene, a detective of the Hopkinsville Police Department, arrested Staley on a misdemeanor charge of second-degree cruelty to animals.

Two weeks later, a prosecutor asked a judge to amend the charge to a felony and send it to a grand jury. Since Staley remained in jail, the grand jury had 60 days to rule on the case. Jurors also had the option of reducing the charge back to a misdemeanor and returning it to district court.

The felony statute defines torture as “the intentional infliction of or subjection to extreme physical pain or injury, motivated by an intent to increase or prolong the pain of the animal.”

An affidavit states that Staley ran a knife down the dog’s back, cutting it open.

Greene said he did not request a necropsy of the dog’s remains, which could have pinpointed the cause of death, because patrolman Mike Platero had already taken the remains to Christian County Animal Shelter when Greene arrived on scene.

Assistant County Attorney Maureen Leamy previously told the New Era prosecutors would need to rely on Platero’s testimony about the dog’s specific wounds.

Greene testified before the grand jury, but Platero did not, according to court records.

Staley’s wife, Ismelda Staley, 22, filed for an emergency protective order the day her husband went to jail. But those orders only last for about two weeks, and she asked a judge to let the order expire instead of issuing a long-term order. She told a prosecutor she blamed herself for her husband’s behavior.

A staff member at the Pennyroyal Center interviewed Staley around the time of his arrest and detailed her conclusions in a document now attached to Staley’s court file.

“He informed undersigned he has been deployed 4 x’s – last deployment ‘did me in,’” she wrote. “He has fleeting suicidal ideations, impaired sleep, admits to problems with anger control … He answers many of undersigned’s questions by relating to incidents in Iraq/Afghanistan – being shot at there and not allowed to shoot back.”

She signed the document on Dec. 29, the day after Staley went to jail.

Staley remains at Christian County Jail on a $5,000 bond.

Posted By Nick Tabor
Kentucky New Era


When a yellow northern cardinal alighted on their bird feeder, David and Tina Gourley of Gravel Switch were puzzled. When a second one joined it, they were shocked.

The first bird — bright yellow, not the typical brilliant red — showed up Jan. 21 and has come back frequently, Tina Gourley said. The next weekend, the second one arrived.

"It looked like a cardinal," she said, "but we'd never seen anything like it."

Apparently not many other people, including bird experts, have seen a yellow Northern cardinal, much less two.

The first bird stayed at the Gourleys' feeder long enough for the Boyle County couple — who enjoy feeding birds but don't describe themselves as birders — to get a few photos of it through a window.

They sent the pictures to the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife, which forwarded them to the Kentucky Ornithological Society.

Society member Brainard Palmer-Ball, a retired zoologist with Kentucky Nature Preserves, contacted Auburn University professor Geoff Hill, who had co-authored a research paper on the coloration phenomenon in 2003. Hill confirmed that a genetic mutation affected the color of the birds' plumage, Palmer-Ball said.

It is evidently a rare mutation.

The first documented yellow Northern cardinal was "collected" in 1989 by the Museum of Natural Science at Louisiana State University, according to Hill's research paper.

Typical cardinals get their rich red feathers by metabolizing their food into a certain pigment, Palmer-Ball said. With the yellow Northern cardinals — not to be confused with a separate South American species known simply as a yellow cardinal — a mutation causes the metabolic process to create a different type of pigment.

He also said that Hill's research showed that, as with albino animals, there is probably something associated with the mutation that affects the birds' overall health and fitness.

Because of that, Palmer-Ball said, the birds are less likely to live very long.

He also said they're less likely to reproduce, but that it's possible that one of the yellow cardinals is an offspring of the other. The two also could be siblings.

Palmer-Ball said the most common color mutation that he has seen in birds is albinism, in which a bird has a few white feathers, a patch of white or an overall paleness. He remembers seeing a pink cardinal, the result of what's called dilute albinism.

Tina Gourley said the other birds that come to their feeder don't seem to know what to make of the yellow cardinals.

"It seems like when they come to the feeder, the other birds clear out and let them have it," she said. They've seen only one bold chickadee come to the feeder when the cardinals are there.

Posted by By Will Scott
Lexington Herald-Leader

This week officially kicked off preparations for our Fourth Annual "Walk for the Animals" to be held Saturday, April 30th.



Pledge Booklets/Registration Forms are now available at the following locations in Lawrence County:

  • LC Humane Society Animal Shelter, 820 Isaac Park Road
  • Tri-County Animal Clinic, 11 Rhubens Branch Rd. (Hwy. 23)
  • Ashley's Salon, 205 E. Pike Street
  • Hometown Realty, 110 S. Clay Street Suite #1
  • Home Federal Savings & Loan, 119 N. Main Cross St.
  • Louisa City Hall
  • Louisa Sporting Goods, 212 Madison St. (beside Dee ’s Restaurant)

The deadline for pre-registration is April 14th. Please come join us for the "Walk For The Animals 2011".


Please share this info with your friends and family! If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to contact me.


Beverly Pack

Chairperson, "Walk for the Animals"
Lawrence Co (KY) Humane Society

cell  606-571-6224