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Fremont man faces new animal cruelty charge for dead owls

Posted January 15, 2009
Updated January 16, 2009

— A Fremont man, whom authorities charged earlier this month with three counts of misdemeanor animal cruelty, now faces a fourth charge because four dead owls were found on his property.

Lawton McKenzie, 28, of Old Black Creek Road, was arrested Jan. 6 after animal control officers seized dismembered animals, a machete, knives, bowls of blood and what appeared to be a decapitated puppy’s head in a bag. Investigators also removed 26 living animals from the home.

Owls are protected under state law.

A Wayne County judge ruled Thursday that McKenzie must also pay the county for the upkeep of animals seized from his home last month.

The county filed a civil complaint against him last week and also requested he post sufficient funds with the Wayne County Clerk of Superior Court to ensure the care of the animals for an additional 30 days.

McKenzie has five working days to post the $8,640 necessary for the upkeep of the animals or he automatically forfeits them.

McKenzie has denied the animal cruelty charges, saying he was studying taxidermy and that he began picking up animal carcasses for that purpose.


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  • buckos18 Jan 16, 2009

    Deer and owl aren't in the least bit similar. Deer are grossly over populated. How many owls have you seen, in the wild, in your lifetime? I'm all about hunting and killing whatever needs killing, but it needs to be done according to the laws set forth. Most people that hunt care more about the environment than the hippies. This guy however is not a hunter. IMO he seems a bit disturbed.

  • exwife1956 Jan 16, 2009

    He can't kill owls but it is ok to kill deer everyday, what is the difference?

  • burnhace Jan 16, 2009

    We hear a lot of hysteria about sexual predators, but this guy may actually be dangerous. For those of you too young to remember Jeffrey Dahmer (a serial killer, necrophile, and cannibal), this is how he got his start. He tortured animals. This is not a joke. This guy needs to be watched for the rest of his life. I hope our justice system will devote the resources necessary.

  • CrewMax Jan 16, 2009

    A friend of mine re-habilitated an owl that he saw on the road and went back the next day and it was still on the road. It took a month or two, but it survived and was released. Twice, an owl hit
    my windshield on the same curve at dusk. I think it survived the second strike. But, what does a bowl of blood and a puppy head have to do with taxidermy. And, did he have books on the art? Bizarre.

  • texasncgirl Jan 16, 2009

    I'd like to give this man the benefit of a doubt that he IS actually telling the truth. I PERSONALLY have witnessed owls who, when injured, end up accidently flying into signs or any kind of structures and end up dying. If the owls found were killed by the defendant, then by all means persecute him, but maybe that should find out HOW the owls died BEFORE placing the blame on this guy.

  • Carolina Jan 16, 2009

    I just want to hear him try to claim that the owls were all road-kill. 'Cause I know there's been many a time that I've accidentally run over and owl that was trying to cross the road at night.(/sarcasm)

  • anneonymousone Jan 16, 2009

    The previous article had several comments in which people said his story may be true. Are machetes typical taxidermy tools?