Reduced charges for torturing, killing multiple cats upsets Humane Society of Utah

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MURRAY UT (Dec. 14, 2016) -- HSU asks that Henry’s Law is upheld


Spencer Jens Pedersen, a 26-year-old male, was arrested by Provo police officers Wednesday, Nov. 16, 2016, on reports of torturing and killing up to 11 cats in Provo, Utah. Pedersen was charged with two counts of torture of a companion animal and one charge of possession of heroin with intent to distribute, all third-degree felonies. On Tuesday, Dec. 13, Pedersen pleaded guilty to one count of animal torture and one drug count; the other charges were dismissed. The Humane Society of Utah made the following statement in response to hearing that Pedersen’s charges were reduced.


“The Humane Society of Utah spent eight years helping fight to make animal torture a felony charge,” said Gene Baierschmidt, HSU executive director. “We hoped that this law, known as Henry’s Law, would be a deterrent for animal abuse and bring justice to those who committed such egregious acts. Spencer Pedersen committed disgusting acts of violence and premeditated torture, and our legal system will set the example of what is tolerable behavior by their treatment of this case. If Pedersen’s charges are reduced, and he is not sentenced to the full extent of the law, we feel this sends a message to our community that this behavior is not taken seriously.”


Pedersen will be sentenced Jan. 24, 2017, by Judge Thomas Low and prosecuted by Julie Thomas of Utah County Attorney’s Office.


“Multiple studies have found that people who abuse animals are more likely to commit violent crimes against humans,” said Baierschmidt. “The Humane Society of Utah respectfully requests that Pedersen receives the maximum possible sentence with no recommendation for early release; substantial fines; court-ordered psychological evaluation and appropriate prison-administered follow-up therapeutic intervention.”