'That Is Sadistic' -- Former Shelter Technicians Get Prison Time for Cruelty to Animals

By Buser, Lawrence | The Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN), October 10, 2012 | Go to article overview

'That Is Sadistic' -- Former Shelter Technicians Get Prison Time for Cruelty to Animals


Buser, Lawrence, The Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN)


After hearing accounts of dogs being hanged by their leashes and cats being dropped and stomped, a judge Tuesday ordered one former Memphis Animal Shelter technician to prison for two years and another for 20 days.

Archie Elliott III and Frank Lightfoot Jr. pleaded guilty last month to aggravated animal cruelty charges, and, after disturbing accounts from an undercover officer, Criminal Court Judge Paula Skahan denied their requests for diversion or probation.

Elliott, 36, who accused an undercover officer of lying and said he had been set up, was taken into custody on a two-year sentence. He will be eligible for parole after serving 7.2 months.

Lightfoot, 60, who said he was turning out big numbers of euthanizations in hopes of advancing to another city job, was ordered to serve 20 days in prison on weekends followed by two years of probation.

The judge found he owned up to his actions, which included dropping caged, dying cats to the floor from 6 feet, stomping one with both feet to hasten its death and giving dogs painful lethal injections directly into their hearts without first using sedation.

It's a despicable culture, said his defense attorney, Arthur Horne. Instead of walking away from it, he became part of it. He admits he had a problem. He went to a doctor because he is having nightmares about killing dogs.

Another defendant, Billy Stewart, 28, who has called the charges against him a conspiracy by various officials, asked for a trial, which is set for March 18.

Elliott and Lightfoot pleaded guilty last month to aggravated animal cruelty following a three-month undercover police investigation at the long-troubled animal shelter.

Skahan said she received 67 letters from the public asking her to basically to do to the defendants what they did to these animals as they were being euthanized. She noted she was constrained by the law in the amount of time she could give the defendants, but said she found Elliott's actions of choking dogs to death particularly disturbing. …

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