& Sentences Man to 5 Years in Animal Cruelty Case
GALVESTON – A
Galveston County jury sentenced Jairen Delano Peterson, to five years’ in
prison after finding him guilty on November 16, 2017, for Cruelty to
Non-Livestock Animals, by Torture.
Peterson’s jury trial began on Monday, November 13th,
in the 405th District Court and he entered a plea of not guilty by reason of
insanity. During the trial, Animal Cruelty prosecutor Leslie Rebescher and
Felony Chief Prosecutor Adam Poole presented witnesses and evidence detailing
the crime which led to the death of Peterson’s dog. The witnesses called to
testify by the State included Officer Smith, Officer Gonzales, Animal Control
Officer Sarah Saunders, Dr. Courtney Smith, a local veterinarian, and Dr.
Victor Scarano to testify on the mental state of Peterson at the time of the
The evidence at trial revealed that on July 12,
2016, Officer Smith and Officer Gonzales of the Dickinson Police Department was
dispatched to a suspicious circumstance of a man stabbing a dog. Upon arrival
they observed a pit bull struggling to stand up and laboring to breathe. Also
on location was Jairen Peterson, who was covered in blood and determined to be
high on phencyclidine (PCP). When asked why he was covered in blood, Peterson
stated that “his dog was dead,” that he “killed it,” and he did it because he
was “tripped out.” A bloody knife covered in hair was located in Peterson’s
pocket. Dr. Smith testified the dog, whose name was Cloud, was stabbed 37
A defense witness provided that Peterson was insane
at the time. This was rebutted by the state with Dr. Scarano’s testimony and
argument of voluntary intoxication from ingesting PCP prior to the offense. The
guilt-innocence phase of the trial concluded Thursday early morning.
The jury found Peterson guilty of the offense and
the punishment phase immediately followed. Jurors learned that Peterson had
sixteen previous criminal convictions, six of those convictions being felonies.
ADA Rebescher argued that this was a vicious attack on a dog by a multi-time convicted
felon and how this could potentially escalate in the future. Peterson’s penalty
range was two to ten years confinement. The jurors retired to deliberate and
later returned Thursday afternoon and sentenced Peterson to five years
Peterson was prosecuted by Assistant District
Attorneys Leslie Rebescher and Adam Poole in the 405th District Court, with
Judge Michelle Slaughter presiding. The investigation was conducted by the
Dickinson Police Department and Bayou Animal Services.