It was every animal guardian’s worst nightmare come true: A woman returns home to find her home ransacked and her beloved dog, Penny, missing. As she walks through the house calling for Penny, she notices that the oven light is on and a chair is propped against the door. At that point, I can only imagine the feeling of horror that must have washed over her. Penny was in the oven, baked to death by the psychopath who, not content with robbing this woman of her possessions, robbed her of her best friend too.
PETA offered a reward of up to $2,500 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the perpetrator. It turned out to be among the best $2,500 we ever spent. Thankfully, a person who overheard the man responsible for killing Penny bragging about the crime informed the police. Teofilo Falaniko was arrested, and I’m happy to report that he was recently convicted and sentenced to 11 years in jail, a punishment that I think you all will agree was richly deserved. The police department shared with us that it is unlikely that Falaniko would have been apprehended if not for our reward. The community of Dillon, South Carolina, can now rest a lot easier knowing that Falaniko is behind bars.
Studies indicate that people who commit violent crimes against animals like this one are often just getting warmed up. All the teens involved in the deadly school shooting sprees and just about every serial killer you can name-from Jeffrey Dahmer to the Boston Strangler-started out by killing animals. The man responsible for the horrific abuse and death of Baby P in London tormented animals as a child.
If you ever hear of anyone hurting or killing an animal, please report it to authorities right away. Your call could save both animals’ and humans’ lives.
Make your time with your friends and family—including your animal companions—even more meaningful.