Hearing In Creek County Animal Cruelty Case

Wednesday, March 11th 2009, 9:20 pm
By: News On 6

By Jennifer Loren, The News On 6

SAPULPA, OK -- A man accused of dragging a dog behind his truck will go to trial on animal cruelty charges.  Cody Hahn had a preliminary hearing in Creek County on Wednesday.  After the court hearing an impassioned debate over animal cruelty carried over into the courthouse hallways.

The dog, Sammy, is alive and healing after Creek County Sheriff's deputies say he was tied to the back of a truck and dragged for almost a mile.  Deputies say 20-year-old Cody Hahn is responsible for the dog's injuries.

12/23/2008  Related Story: Sapulpa Man Charged With Animal Cruelty

After an eyewitness testified in court, Hahn was bound over for trial on a felony animal cruelty charge.  The decision delighted a courtroom full of animal advocates, who want to see Hahn prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

"I just think that it's a great thing that animal cruelty is being taken seriously," said Ruth Steinberger with the Oklahoma Alliance for Animals.

"We need to tell other people out there that we won't take this. You're not going to get a slap on the wrist. You're not going to get community service.  You're going to get the max, five years in prison for animal cruelty," said Lori Rusling, a law student.

The defense argues that Hahn is innocent because he wasn't driving the truck, the photo lineup to ID him wasn't fair and because the dog was a stray.

"I was disappointed. I don't think that stray dogs fall within this statute," said defense attorney Creekmore Wallace.

The defense attorney said because this dog is a stray it might as well have been a snake or a rabbit or a squirrel.  That position really got some people riled up at the courthouse.

"Well, I thought he was an ignorant fool. By what he's saying, it's okay to drag a squirrel down the road," said Ruth Steinberger with the Oklahoma Alliance for Animals.

The group took their argument straight to Wallace, who debated the issue right outside the courtroom.

One thing Wallace does know is people are passionate in defending animals and sometimes, he believes, a little too much so.

"I know that we all have animals and we all have pets. But, this is something that we have to take less emotionally and more realistically," said defense attorney Creekmore Wallace.

Hahn will be back in district court at the end of March.  If convicted he could spend up to 5 years in prison.