This is a story of the death of a beloved pet, Monkey, shot and killed by a neighbor on December 28, 2012, and the tragic aftermath that has been played out in the small town of Swainsboro, Georgia. It is not graphic, but is quite amazing to learn this medievil system still occurs in the 21st Century.
This story of evil will stir anger and wrath in most of you, but I challenge you to channel that negative energy and lean in to His Word for serenity, truth and His Grace. This is NOT a message to rally an army of animal lovers throughout the world to bring together a witch hunt for the accused and the justice system in Emanuel County. This IS a message to share how the Holy Spirit living inside me has used this evil tragedy to reveal His truth. Many of you will not get this and I must admit, it took me 4 months to finally understand how Christ would react to hearing this story and more importantly, how He wanted me to react.
In John 15:11-12 (NIV), Jesus said, "I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. 12 My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” So my question is how do you love someone who has done evil and shows no sign of remorse?
The alleged man in this story is an elderly gentleman who appears to have been raised in a time when it was acceptable to shoot an animal that comes on his property; so deeply engrained that this is the third dog that he has killed in roughly five years. What's worse, he has shown no remorse to the Peeble's family for taking their beloved pet and has secured an attorney to fight the animal cruelty charges brought to him by the Emanuel County Sheriff’s Department...AND HE'S WINNING! Yes, his attorney has successfully turned the tables and focus off the accused and leveraged Contempt charges against Jinny Peebles to have the charges dropped...AND THE JUDICIAL SYSTEM IS SUPPORTING AND ENCOURAGING THIS SETTLEMENT! Why, you may ask, are the Judge and Sheriff’s Department coercing a settlement between the two parties? Perhaps it is because they too grew up learning that protecting their property includes the right to use deadly force against animals. Perhaps their hearts have become numb to evil.
The problem with this old paradigm is that Monkey is a 2.7lbs Chihuahua mix. Protecting property is not a defense in this case. Yes, Monkey was off leash and the Peeble's family had been warned before, but how does someone equate a dog off leash and crossing my property line with the need to go inside and pull out a shotgun, load it and shoot a neighbor’s dog. The accused has raised the issue that his chickens had been killed in the past by other dogs and he was fed up. He decided to take matters into his own hands and the Judicial System is helping him get away with this crime against humanity.
You may be saying at this point what most people believe. This man has obviously lost touch with reality because this no longer occurs in the USA. We have laws to deter and protect from this happening. Right? Maybe your words were harsher than mine, but believe me, I've sat by for the past four months watching this case unfold and my thoughts have not always been as pure.
So where do we stand today? The video (http://www.wjbf.com/story/21789349/swainsboro-dog-death?clienttype=generic&mobilecgbypass ) from Channel 6 News instantly prompted the defendant’s attorney to issue a Contempt motion against Jinny Peebles for talking about the story and seizing the media on the accused. Two charges that were in violation of a prior temporary restraining order issued to quiet and intimidate the Peeble's. The problem here is that Jinny did not contact Channel 6 news and her plight was only to ask for the defendant to return her family dogs body back when she learned Monkey was being stored in a freezer of a family member of the defendants. However, on April 17, Judge Bobby Reeves, refused to grant Mrs. Peebles a continuance to secure legal representation, but also allegedly "encouraged" her to agree to the demands of the defendant or face up to 20 days in jail. She had no choice but to agree to the demands as she is caring for two terminally ill family members at home and can't become a martyr for her family pet at the expense of the well-being of her sick Mother and Husband, and two children...even though she does want to set the right example for them.
Here are the demands (court documents attached) that Jinny Peebles, the woman whose 2.7lbs dog was shot by the defendant, found herself having no other choice but agree to in order to avoid prison and have her family dogs body returned. Imagine if this was happening to you and all the sudden you find yourself scratching your head, wondering how the heck the roles have been reversed so quickly.
1. Mrs. Peebles can bury her dog on her property, but it cannot be within visual site of the defendant’s home (across the street). In other words, they will "allow" her to bury her dog with a memorial in her mother’s back yard, which is next door to the Peebles home.
2. Mrs. Peebles may keep her Facebook profile, but cannot reference this story, nor mention the defendant’s name. Further, she cannot speak to the media nor share her story with any other form of media.
3. Mrs. Peebles must obey the leash laws; a behavior she has adjusted with her other pets and paid a fine shortly after the shooting.
4. Mrs. Peebles must remove the yard memorial signs on her property and not put up yard signs within sight of the defendants home across the street related to this event.
5. Finally and pay attention here, Mrs. Peebles must contact the State Solicitor, Franklin Edenfield, and "request that he dismiss the pending complaint and all charges against the 'defendant' which resulted from the 'defendant's' shooting the petitioner's dog.
That's correct! In order to avoid prison and have her frozen dead dog returned to her, she is required to ask the Solicitor who represents the State of Georgia to drop the charges that they have brought against the defendant. How will the defense accomplish this goal? By leveraging the dogs body and the use of legal bullying to force Mrs. Peebles to give up.
Here is where you can release your anger. I've already been there. You may say to yourself, "The level of corruption and home cooking that has gone on in this small town amazes me." Many of you will be so boiling mad that you will want to curse out loud and condemn this man to an eternal hell. Many of you who have followed this story since the beginning have already posted your hatred and wrath online. I understand and I'm not here to judge you.
I've taken the time to share this story in hopes that I can share what the Good Lord has spoken to me. He asks that we love others as He has loved us. It is easy to love Mrs. Peebles, a poor woman who is not only caring for her sick Mother and Husband, but trying to remain strong for her children while facing the injustice in our legal system. It is much harder, if not impossible, to find a way to love the defendant, attorney or Judge in this matter. They have manipulated the legal system to accomplish their goal. The only way the animal cruelty and discharging a firearm charges can be dropped is with a plea from Mrs. Peebles to the State Solicitor. She did not bring charges against the defendant; the State did and they can't drop the charges with so much media scrutiny and the world's eyes watching the outcome of this case which is scheduled for October 2013. I can think of many other verbs other than love that are more appropriate for these people: hatred, impatience, wrath, condemnation, etc. Surely, the justice system in our country will not sit by and allow this crime to go unpunished. Several laws have been allegedly been broken and if we look the other way, the appropriate outcome will occur, right? Wrong! No later than May 5, Mrs. Peebles is required to speak with the State Solicitor to request the charges be dropped or the Contempt motion is back in play with up to 20 days jail as the punishment. I assume they will not go into the Mothers backyard and dig up Monkey's remains and put him back in the freezer. This isn't Honey Boo-Boo land, is it? (sarcasm font here)
So how do you love someone you only have anger and contempt for? Isn't it easier to turn my head away from the evil in this world, knowing that God will see to it that justice is served in the end? Fortunately and unfortunately, it's not that simple for those who are followers of Jesus or those from similar religions. In Colossians 3:12-14 (NIV), we are told, "12 Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 13 Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. 14 And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.
Now I know I'm a sinner, but surely He doesn't expect me to forgive someone who commits murder...against one of His animal creatures. That was premeditated and the same type of evil that occurred in Boston this month. NOT GONNA HAPPEN! God, I know you ask me to love my neighbor and forgive one another, but evil is evil and a spades a spade. I'll spend my energy loving and forgiving those that deserve it and show some level of remorse or humility. By now, you can probably see where I'm heading and what He revealed to me.
I am commanded (hate that word) to clothe myself with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience towards ALL others and wrap it with big red bow of LOVE. Hmmm! So here's what I think that looks like 2,000 years later as it relates to this tragedy.
- Compassion - I must find a way to put myself in the defendant’s shoes, not judge, and have compassion that he was raised 70+ years ago in a much different time than today. He may not have traveled outside his small world and be ignorant of the changes that have occurred with regards to animal rights laws. He was taught, perhaps from his father, that a man has a right to not only bear arms, but to defend his property from anyone or anything that trespasses. I need to find compassion for this man who may not have the same schooling or intellect as others; therefore he is not aware he has done wrong. Finally, I need compassion of understanding that this man is simply defending what he thinks is right and who am I to cast the first stone.
- Kindness - I need to search my heart for the goodness that lies within this man. He may be afraid that being found guilty for these charges will possibly carry a short jail term. This may terrify him and his wife, so they have no choice but to fight the charges. He may feel that he has done no wrong.
- Humility - This requires me to remove my emotions from the case and let God and the justice system prevail. I also must put myself in his shoes and imagine what I would hope from others as I face these charges.
- Gentleness - In my mind, this is the clearest case of animal cruelty I've ever seen. Slam dunk! But with gentleness, I have to consider others and that includes the opinions and beliefs of those who oppose mine.
- Patience - The impatient person in me wants to chastise the defendant and rally the world to stop this injustice. With patience, I want to share this story, pray for forgiveness, bless those involved, and Glorify God in the process.
- Love - The most important of those is love. By forgiving the defendant, I make room for God's grace and love to enter my heart. This brings me peace and the ability to be more loving towards others; including the defendant. He has wronged another. I have wronged another before and thankfully God has forgiven me of my trespasses and shown me love. Some times that has included tough love which I imagine the defendant will face.
So with that, I'd like to end with a prayer, which I've never done before in a public venue. Dear Heavenly Father, I'd like to thank you for revealing your truth and for all the times that you've loved and forgiven me with compassion, kindness, gentleness, and your patience. O and your patience! My prayer is for the strength and courage to love others like the defendant that killed a poor dog. While I don't fully understand your Will in this case, I trust that your Word be my guide as I navigate through this evil and cruel world. I pray that those who have sinned against You will be served Your justice in Your time, not mine. I pray that this includes a change of heart by the defendant, but understand that I can't control that outcome, only You. I pray for healing and serenity for the Peebles family as they face the uncertainty of this tragic event and the injustice of our justice system. I pray that You restore the innocence of the daughters and heal the scar on their hearts from the death of their precious Monkey. Finally, I pray that one of your innocent creatures, whose life was cut so short, is resting in peace, waiting on the rainbow bridge for his family to meet again in Heaven. Amen.
If you feel inclined to pray for all those involved, please do, but I ask that you resist the urge to leave disparaging remarks in the comments section. This is about moving past that anger, not contributing to the evil in this world. If you'd like to contribute to the legal defense fund and have the means in which to bless the Peebles family, they would greatly appreciate the love. They can't imagine how they've gotten in this position, but now have to hire an attorney to defend the Contempt Motion and not go to prison. Please share this story with your friends and family. If you know an attorney that might be able to help and represent Mrs. Peebles, please share and ask them to contact me through Facebook - ARK Angels Foundation