Guam hands down its first animal cruelty indictment

A Guam grand jury returned an indictment against Steven Borja who was allegedly caught on video beating two dogs on Sept. 11. The dogs suffered from skull fractures, broken limbs and organ trauma, and are recovering from their extensive injuries. The Guam Attorney General’s Office, under the leadership of General Elizabeth Barrett-Anderson, is leading this first-ever prosecution of Guam’s felony animal cruelty statute enacted in 2011.

Borja is charged with two counts of felony animal abuse and one count of misdemeanor animal cruelty, terrorizing and criminal mischief, and will be back in court on Sept. 30 to answer to these charges. Felony animal cruelty charges carry up to three years in prison and up to $5,000 in fines.

“We’re encouraged by the strong stance taken by the Guam Attorney General’s office on animal cruelty, sending a zero tolerance message to the community for such abuse,” said Inga Gibson, Pacific Islands policy specialist for Humane Society International. “Research by criminologists and psychologists has long shown those who abuse animals are more likely to abuse humans and engage in other criminal activities.”

In January of 2014, HSI, the international arm of The Humane Society of the United States, began a partnership with Guam policymakers and community leaders to prevent animal cruelty and develop a strategic plan to humanely control Guam’s street dog population.

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