by Cynthia Hunt
What kind of man shoots and kills a tiny 3-pound little girl chihuahua named Sassy?
I know your first thought. What was the chihuahua doing?
Neighbors say Sassy was wearing her pink rhinestone collar and simply walking in the street through the upper-middle class neighborhood in Lorena, Texas, when a homeowner used his pellet gun to repeatedly shoot Sassy. She ran to a neighbor's yard and died. The man turned around with his children and went into his home without a care in the world about the neighbor's pet he had just killed.
The man who killed the pet wasn't just a homeowner. Lovett Leslie Ledger Jr., 40, is an F.B.I. agent stationed in Waco.
At first, police say Agent Ledger (pictured above in the mug shot after his arrest) lied about what he had done. When he realized his other neighbors had witnessed him do it, he changed his story and admitted he shot and killed his own neighbor's pet.
"Mr. Ledger is not sorry for what he's done. Still to this day, eighteen months later, we've never had an apology." Amy Davis, Sassy's owner, told KXXV-TV News in Waco yesterday after court.
The story led the news at the local TV station. The Davis family held a picture of the little fawn-colored chihuahua with her huge ears. Sassy looked a lot like my little guy, Maxwell, my 12-year-old chihuahua (pictured with me after he had knee surgery). I would show you a picture of Sassy but there are none in print I can pull from the news coverage. You can watch the TV story that shows a quick picture of her if you click on this KXXV-TV link.
In my years as a journalist, I've covered many animal cruelty cases, and I've seen other defendants, who are not law officers, receive much more punishment. I think Ledger should have been punished more, not less, than a regular citizen because he understood the magnitude of his actions.
Ledger pleaded "no contest" to felony animal cruelty charges in exchange for deferred probation, no fine, and 300 hours of community service. Deferred probation means Ledger will have no final verdict of guilt if he completes his terms successfully.
In other words, Ledger got practically no punishment for killing his neighbor's pet.
The F.B.I. has an internal investigation to see if Ledger gets to keep his job, which he should absolutely lose. The man shot a little dog who was simply walking through the neighborhood. If he is capable of that, how has he abused his power as an F.B.I. agent?
Let me explain why the ability to kill a small pet is such a disturbing sign. Many serial killers have pasts that include the torture or killing of small pets. Experts have long listed the killing of small animals as a dangerous sign of a future sociopath. The killing or torture of small animals, fire starting, and bed wetting are the three behavioral markers of the "homicidal triad," which a number of serial offending sociopaths have exhibited in their pasts. I bet Agent Ledger wets his bed too. Any grown man who gets satisfaction from killing a small defenseless animal like Sassy has to be a bed wetter.
Jason and Amy Davis, Sassy's owners, are disappointed in the sentence. They wished Ledger would have had to be the one to tell their then 8 and 5 year old kids that their pet Sassy had been killed.
Pets are such an important part of so many American families. I know many of you may not know or particularly like chihuahuas. These little dogs with their big spirits have been a priceless addition to our family.
Chihuahuas with their keen hearing are ranked as one of the best watch dogs because they always alert you when something is wrong. When the railroad serial killer was on the loose, I lived near the tracks and was on high alert like everybody else in Houston. Angel Maturino Resendiz had killed a brilliant female doctor just a couple of miles from where I lived. My old apartment had no alarm system, but Maxwell my chihuahua alerted me any time anyone was near our apartment. He was the only reason I could sleep during that awful time in Texas. My little dog's unconditional love has given me more than I could ever write.
My sister Angelia was diagnosed with terminal inoperable heart and brain aneurysms when she was only 23. Doctors call her a ticking time bomb because one of her aneurysms could rupture any day. We are blessed she has lived nine years since that diagnosis. Her only dream in life was to be a mother. With her illness, that dream would never come true. Instead she became a mother to Lucy Pearl (pictured above), a bossy, lovable little chihuahua who never fails to make us laugh at her antics.
Killing a neighbor's pet is something that the courts should punish accordingly in 2009.
An F.B.I. agent who kills his neighbor's small dog should get more than community service. The prosecutors in this case should be ashamed of themselves for agreeing to this deal.