Activists rally to protest alleged animal torture |

Activists rally to protest alleged animal torture

An overflow crowd of more than 60 animal activists filled the Nevada County Superior Court room where alleged opossum killer Carter Livingston made an extremely brief appearance Thursday.

Some, like Deborah Ash, brought along signs reading “Nevada County residents include animal wildlife” and “Lock him up! Only seriously evil torture, terrorize and murder,” holding them up outside the courtroom.

“The reason we live in Nevada County is because we like the wildlife,” Ash said. “It’s their land, too.”

Many of the protesters had been rallied by local animal rescue organizations, including Scooter’s Pals and Sammie’s Friends, at the urging of Alta Sierra resident Kathy Labelle.

“My thought was that it was important for the animal rescue groups to unite,” said Labelle, who was handing out photographs of an opossum with the words “Opie the Opossum, 2009-2010,” and “United Against Animal Cruelty” emblazoned on sheets of paper for protesters to pin to their shirts.

“They’re so busy doing wonderful things, and this was a situation where everybody needed to unite and speak out, and send a clear message to (the District Attorney’s office) that we support their efforts,” Labelle said.

Livingston, 19, allegedly posted a video on Facebook that showed him hitting the opossum 44 times with a meat cleaver as four juveniles looked on. He could face as many as three years in prison if convicted.

The carcass of the opossum was seized, and a necropsy by county Animal Control showed it died from multiple fractures and trauma to the head.

“We’re just wanting to see what happens, hoping there will be some justice for Opie,” said Susan Wallace, founder of Scooter’s Pals. “The biggest issue is not that (Livingston) be punished, but his not owning how cruel his behavior was.”

Livingston pleaded not guilty in September to one felony count of cruelty to animals. He remains out of jail on his own recognizance, but he is not allowed to be around animals without a responsible adult present. He next will be in court at 1 p.m. Oct. 28.

To contact Staff Writer Liz Kellar, e-mail or call (530) 477-4229.

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