Livingston pleads not guilty to felony animal cruelty
Local animal activists expressed outrage after a Lake of the Pines man was allowed to remain free without having to post any bail Monday.
Carter Livingston, 19, pleaded not guilty in Nevada County Superior Court on one felony count of cruelty to animals after allegedly hacking an opossum to death and posting video footage on the Internet.
More than a dozen supporters accompanied Livingston to court, with one woman clutching a colorful, hand-lettered sign.
Nevada County Deputy District Attorney Kathryn Francis asked the court to impose bail, calling the alleged attack on the opossum a “very cruel act.”
“I understand this was an anomaly, but nonetheless it shocks the conscience,” she said.
Judge Candace Heidelberger allowed Livingston to remain out on his own recognizance, noting the incident first came to light in June. She did impose a condition that he not be allowed to be around animals without a responsible adult present.
Local animal activists were unhappy about the bail decision.
“We’re very concerned with the lack of any accountability shown by … Livingston or his family for the torture and killing of the opossum,” said Susan Wallace of Scooter’s Pals.
Livingston 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.
Livingston’s father allegedly told animal activist Kathy Labelle the opossum had been “harassing” them for some time, and that Carter “decided to take care of it.”
Labelle, who attended the hearing, said she is working to mobilize the animal community, “to show their numbers in wanting this heinous crime punished.”
Labelle became widely known in the county last year or her interest in an errant buffalo cow and calf.
Livingston will next be in court at 1 p.m. Oct. 7 for a felony conference.
A Rough and Ready man was sentenced to seven years in prison with a suspended execution of the sentence for allegedly arranging to have sex with a 14-year-old girl.
Bryan Phillip Perone, 32, will serve one year in county jail with five years probation, said Nevada County District Attorney Cliff Newell. He must also undergo counseling and attend a one-year inpatient drug treatment program.
Perone pleaded no context to the charges after allegedly texting and calling a female Nevada County Sheriff’s deputy who was posing as the girl for several days, and allegedly arranging to meet her at a local motel for sex.
When Perone was arrested in May, detectives allegedly found condoms, a male sexual enhancement drug, alcohol and a small amount of methamphetamine.
He was arrested on suspicion of contacting a minor with the intent to commit a sexual offense, contributing to the delinquency of a minor, violating a restraining order, possession of a controlled substance and furnishing controlled substances to a minor.
To contact Staff Writer Liz Kellar, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call (530) 477-4229.
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