Iowa Supreme Court asked to review Davenport animal torture case

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Zachary Meerdink - photo from Iowa Department of Corrections

The Iowa Court of Appeals reversed the conviction of a Davenport man who killed a dog with a baseball bat, and now prosecutors want the state’s supreme court to intervene.

Zachary Meerdink, of Davenport, Iowa, was charged in January 2012 with animal torture.   Police said a Boston Terrier puppy urinated on the floor of the Davenport, Iowa apartment Meerdink shared with his girlfriend, and that Meerdink allegedly responded by taking the puppy outside and beating it to death with a baseball bat.

Police said they found the dog’s body in the yard outside the apartment, and that the dog had injuries to its head.  Meerdink was convicted of animal torture in a bench trial in Scott County Court in April 2012.  He was sentenced to two years in prison.

The appeals court ruled July 10, 2013 that prosecutors had proved Meerdink killed the dog but that they failed to sufficiently prove Meerdink acted with “depraved or sadistic intent” required by Iowa’s animal torture law.

The state says “depraved” and “depraved intent” were not, but should be, clearly defined by the court.  Their appeal to the supreme court also says Meerdink clearly demonstrated depraved intent when he hit the dog with a baseball bat.

Their filing also challenges whether the appeals court met the legal requirement allowing them to overturn the guilty verdict only “if no reasonable factfinder could find the defendant guilty.”

“The Court of Appeals erred in finding that the defendant killed Rocky in response to a dog bite and erred in finding that substantial evidence did not support the verdict,” the filing said.

The state is asking the supreme court to affirm the original verdict of guilty.

No date was set for any potential action at by the supreme court.

Click to Read:  Meerdink Case – Appeal to Iowa Supreme Court