Case Study: Petty criminal turned animal sex offender

Friday, April 6, 2018 8:54 AM

In the early morning hours of July of 2012, officers responded to a disturbance call from a local veterinary clinic in Washington State. On arrival, they found 25-year-old Michael Heyes inside his vehicle. There was blood on the trunk, and an injured puppy was sitting on the ground near the rear tire. Heyes told the officer that he had been attacked by strangers on the street, who slit the puppy’s throat just to “piss him off”. At the time of the incident, there was a case pending against Heyes for possession and use of drug paraphernalia.

The injured puppy was 17 weeks old, hemorrhaging, and in shock. During the day, his vital signs dropped, and he was transferred to a veterinary surgical hospital. There the puppy was given a blood transfusion, and the wound – severe enough to expose the trachea – was sutured.

When officers conducted a follow-up interview with Heyes the next day, he changed his story twice, first saying the puppy had been injured during a home invasion, then ultimately admitting he had slit the dog’s throat because “they” told him to as part of a military mission. He then told the officers that if slashing the puppy’s throat had not killed it, he would have dragged it behind a car until dead.

Heyes was charged with first degree animal cruelty, and civilly committed for 90 days. While Heyes was in the hospital, his family searched his home, where they found multiple self-recorded videos of Heyes having sex with his other pet dogs. The family reported the bestiality videos, and told officers there had been previous unreported incidents of animal cruelty involving Heyes. Several dogs were removed by animal control officers and placed in protective custody.

During follow-up interviews with family and friends of Heyes, officers were told that after slitting the dog’s throat, he took several photos of the dog which he presumed to be dead, and sent them to several people, along with messages like “My dog died today. I slit his throat,” and “fuck jail”.  One friend of Heyes told officers she received pictures of a puppy’s face with blood on its neck and because they were “disturbing and [she] wasn’t sure if they were real”, she deleted them from her phone.

According to Heyes family, Heyes was an active heroin and morphine user, and had a long history of mental illness including bi-polar disorder and schizophrenia. Shortly before the current incident, officers had been called to the home when Heyes attempted suicide.

Heyes had a criminal history dating back to 2005 for reckless endangerment, eluding police, hit and run, DUI, multiple drug-related offenses, multiple reports of domestic violence assault, and repeated arrests for driving with a suspended license. He received suspended sentences or charges were dismissed for all of these offenses.

Heyes stayed at the mental health facility for several months before the case was resolved. He was given a $600 fine and credit for time served for his attempt to kill the puppy. Subsequent to his release Heyes continued to commit criminal and traffic offenses: he was charged multiple times with driving with a suspended license, criminal mischief involving property damage, and assault in the 4th degree. He was never charged with bestiality.