April 13, 2017 – Few things bring a community together like a tragedy does. In the early morning of Tuesday, March 21, a beloved neighborhood dog, Snowball, was beaten while he sat on his own front porch. The morning started out like any other for his owner, Lora Kingery. She woke up early, went outside to feed Snowball, jumped in the shower and continued on her morning routine. As she exited the front door to head to work, she noticed that Snowball was bleeding from his mouth. Unsure of what exactly transpired, but believing the injuries to be minor and restricted to his mouth, Kingery called a friend to check on Snowball and left for work.
“He still seemed perky at first,” she said, “But I had an entire chain of people coming throughout the day – and rest of the week – that checked on Snowball and sat with him while I was working.”
A few days later, on March 25, Snowball succumbed to his injuries. It was later discovered that he suffered from extensive internal bleeding from blunt force trauma, and evidence was collected from the scene of the potential weapon.
Exactly what happened – and why – remain a mystery, but ESPD Staff Sergeant Larry Tarrant tells The Standard that there is an active investigation ongoing. By now, social media is abuzz with rumors and tips, including the possibility that a video of the beating exists. A post on the Excelsior Springs Police Department’s Facebook page states, “On March 25th, 2017, the Excelsior Springs Police Department received a report of a dog (a family pet known as Snowball) that was apparently beaten on March 21, and ultimately died from his injuries, in the 100 block of West Excelsior Street. We believe there may be a video that exists of the beating by a suspect. An anonymous donor has offered a $500 REWARD for the first person that can provide law enforcement with this video and information that leads to an arrest. Please, if you have ANY information regarding this case, contact the Excelsior Springs Police Department Investigations Unit at 816-630-2000.”
Kingery confirmed that an anonymous person has stepped forward to offer that reward, and many others have since stepped forward to add to it. There is also a gofundme page available at www.gofundme.com/justice-for-snowball-reward-fund.
ESPD’s post has been shared more than 800 times, with people demanding #JusticeForSnowball.
Snowball wasn’t just an ordinary dog. A constant fixture at his home on Excelsior Street, Snowball has been around longer than most can remember. Kingery estimates his age to have been approximately 17 years old.
“Everybody knew Snowball,” she said. “He was super friendly and happy to see everyone. He would pounce up to you, almost like a cat, with his goofy bark. People all over town knew him.
Some citizens showed concerns for Snowball, who was always on the front porch of his home, but Kingery confirmed that is where he wanted to be. She recalled a time she tried to bring him inside during a cold night, and he busted through the screen door to get back outside.
“He just really liked to people watch and guard his kingdom. He was nosy and wanted to see what was going on all the time,” she said.
Snowball was so beloved, in fact, that a memorial has been set up in his honor. The patients at Skylander Mental Health constructed a doghouse shaped memorial with the words “I Miss You” big and bold at the top. They signed it and left it at Kingery’s house. Since then, many others have been by to sign it and leave messages of support.
Without a doubt, the loss of Snowball has left a void in the downtown area. “Snowball was a good boy! I still look on the porch for him on my way to work at the Atlas. We had many visits and many shared lunches together… and now there’s no one there wagging his tail at me,” said Melissa Jordan on Facebook.
“I really miss Snowball. He was my buddy,” said Kingery. “I hope whoever did this is brought to justice.” Anyone with information is encouraged to contact the Excelsior Springs Police Department at 816-630-2000.
The Standard received the following statement in regards to a $5,000 reward now attached to information leading to the conviction of Snowball’s abuser:
“The Humane Society of the United States is offering a reward of up to $5,000 for information leading to the identification, arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible for the brutal beating and death of a dog who was leashed in his yard in Excelsior Springs, Missouri.
The Case: According to news reports, a 30-year resident of Excelsior Springs, Lora Kingery, said her dog, Snowball, was severely beaten while still attached to a leash in her yard on March 21. Snowball died three days later despite being under a veterinarian’s care.
Animal Cruelty: Getting the serious attention of law enforcement, prosecutors and residents in cases involving allegations of cruelty to animals is an essential step in protecting the community.
“This savage act shows complete contempt for an innocent creature like Snowball and all the humans who cared for this beloved dog,” said Amanda Good, Missouri state director for The HSUS. “We hope this reward will motivate someone to come forward so that justice can be served.”
The Investigators: The Excelsior Springs Police is investigating. Anyone with information about the case is asked to call the Investigations Division at (816) 630-2000.
“We are very thankful for the generous reward being offered in this case by The Humane Society of the United States,” said Excelsior Springs Police Staff Sergeant Larry Tarrant. “We hope the additional reward will motivate any witnesses, or others with information about this crime, to come forward and provide what they know to police.”
Resources: The HSUS Animal Cruelty Campaign raises public awareness and educates communities about the connection between animal cruelty and human violence while providing a variety of resources to law enforcement agencies, social work professionals, educators, legislators and families. The HSUS offers rewards in animal cruelty cases across the country and works to strengthen laws against animal cruelty.
The National Sheriffs’ Association and The HSUS launched ICE BlackBox, a free smartphone tool, to allow users to record video of illegal animal cruelty and share it securely with law enforcement for possible investigation and prosecution.
To see information on statistics, trends, laws and animal cruelty categories, click here.”
By Skyla Sullivan • email@example.com