|Who, age||What||Where||When||Last known address|
|Frank Zimmerman||soldier stomps to death 1 dog, breaks leg of another||El Paso, TX||March 15, 2009|
|Type of Crime||Other Crimes||#/Type of animal(s) involved|
|Misdemeanor||2 dogs, 1 a golden retriever|
Fort Bliss confirms that Specialist Frank Zimmerman has been charged by military police for not following the post's policy regarding animal cruelty. It's information the post is just now releasing.
On March 18th, KFOX told you how a dog named Wrigley was returned to Pet Guardian Angel with a broken leg. An official at PGA told KFOX that Zimmerman had beaten the dog. Zimmerman's wife also told KFOX that a second family dog, Tinkerbelle, was killed after he allegedly stomped on its neck.
The Zimmerman case is the second time in recent months that a Fort Bliss soldier has been accused of animal cruelty. Last year, KFOX reported on a dog dubbed "Little Pit Girl" who Dwayne Sumter allegedly left crated in the garage of an abandoned house. The dog chewed her way out of the crate but did not have food or water. She was found dead weeks later in a suitcase left in the house.
KFOX asked Fort Bliss for more information on past cruelty cases that military police investigated, the consequences of those investigations, and whether pet ownership education was given to solider's and their families."You people are going to blow this story out of proportion," Jester said. "I bet you talk a lot to those people at the guardian angel place." KFOX did not interview anyone from Pet Guardian Angel for this story.
When asked if anyone else in the office could provide the requested information, Jester said no. As for potential consequences if a solider is found guilty of animal cruelty, Jester said, "It depends on what the post commander and authorities deem appropriate. It could range from fines to a downgrade in rank."
Jean Offutt, the main public affairs spokeswoman, sent an email to KFOX just before 6pm to confirm that Zimmerman is living in the post's barracks awaiting the outcome of the case.
When asked how long a possible animal cruelty investigation could take, Jester replied, "You'd have to ask an investigator." When KFOX asked if he could provide the name of the investigator, Jester declined.
Update 3/27/09: Fort Bliss officials said they are "well aware of the situation" following a KFOX report about a second Fort Bliss solider accused of animal cruelty. Spc. Frank Zimmerman is charged with failing to obey the post's animal cruelty policy.
Fort Bliss said it is investigating the allegations and Zimmerman is living in the post's barracks awaiting the outcome.Update 3/31/09: Fort Bliss' garrison commander spoke for the first time since KFOX broke the story about the most recent animal cruelty case involving a Fort Bliss soldier.
"Just like anybody in the community, there's a due process that he would go through before the commander would administer any punishment if he finds that appropriate," said Col. Ed Manning.
Manning assured the community that Spc. Frank Zimmerman would answer to the alleged animal cruelty against his previous dogs Tinkerbelle and Wrigley. Zimmerman allegedly beat and stomped on Tinkerbelle, a golden retriever until she died. He allegedly kicked Wringley and broke his leg.
"I used pins and wires. It was a very difficult surgery to reduce and there was a lot of soft tissue trauma," said Dr. George Gibson, the veterinarian who performed surgery on Wrigley.
Fort Bliss officials confirmed the incident happened on Sunday, March 15. Zimmerman was charged with not following the post's policy on animal cruelty. But it wasn't until two days later that Wrigley was returned to Pet Guardian Angel and the staff there took him to a clinic. The pup suffered from his injury for two days before getting medical attention.
"Ideally, when the dog is kicked or hit by a car, they come in immediately," said Gibson.
It is unclear why there was a delay. Fort Bliss officials cannot talk about the incident since it's under investigation. Manning said Zimmerman is doing administrative duties with his unit and he assures the community he won't be reassigned to a different post.
"A soldier under any type of investigation, the Army won't move them until that's complete. The investigation will happen, the commander will take action he deems appropriate and after any punishment is rendered he may move someplace else," said Manning.
Manning also said the Army is taking the appropriate steps to make sure Zimmerman is not going to harm any other pets or anyone else for that matter. When KFOX spoke to Zimmerman's wife two weeks ago, she was very upset that she couldn't see her husband.