OGDEN -- Weber County's first prosecution under Henry's Law brought 30 days in jail Tuesday for a 49-year-old man with mental problems. And Henry now lives here in the Top of Utah.
Robin Barnett was charged with torture of a companion animal, a third-degree felony punishableSFlbby up to five years in prison, for a March 29 incident in Farr West. He beat his own dog to death after an argument with his mother, who was tending the dog at the time.
Henry's parents, as they like to call themselves, were on hand Tuesday for Barnett's sentencing, accepting the fact that Barnett's mental health issues mitigate the case.
Rhonda Kamper and Daniel Dew, while waiting to talk to prosecutors after Barnett's hearing, were proudly showing off pictures of Henry, who now lives in North Ogden with them.
Henry, now 5, was just a youngster in Salt Lake City in 2006 when Marc Vincent, Kamper's now ex-husband, tortured him with a leaf blower, leading to infection that cost him his left eye.
A month later, Vincent put the dachshund-chihuahua cross into an oven at 200 degrees, scarring the dog's paws and chest. Vincent spent 4 1/2 months in jail.
But the dog's plight led to the 2008 passage of Henry's Law, as it came to be known, or torture of a companion animal, making animal cruelty a felony in Utah for the first time.
Kamper still uses her maiden name in association with fundraisers and softball tournaments in promotions for animal awareness, keying on her poster dog, Henry.
They are still pushing the Utah Legislature to extend the animals covered by Henry's Law beyond just dogs and cats.
On Tuesday, they also showed off pictures of Henry's pal, Dew's 80-pound pit bull, Kaiser, and now Henry's personal bodyguard.
They love watching the hulking Kaiser calmly step in when small dogs, as they will do, get into it with Henry.
Henry's parents said Barnett's was the fourth prosecution under Henry's Law in the state.
They monitor cases and post them to their website, HelpUsHelpThem.org, much the way a companion organization Animal Advocacy Alliance of Utah does on its site, HenrysLaw.com.
Henry has sat in the gallery at the Legislature with Kamper and Dew and stars in trips to school groups, where he warms to the attention.
There is one cautionary note, Kamper said, as their website warns, "Make sure he sees you first. The trauma he suffered has left him a little bi-polar at times."
"We don't want everybody to go to prison," Dew said. "But we spent three years at the Legislature fighting to make sure that was a tool in the toolbox."
Of Barnett, defense attorney Paul Olds and Deputy Weber County Attorney Chris Shaw told Judge Ernie Jones they had hopes of having him already enrolled in a mental health treatment program, at Barnett's expense.
But he can't afford it, they said, so it would have to be court-ordered, which Jones agreed to. Barnett has no prior criminal record, they noted.
Saying he realized the irony of the situation, Olds successfully argued that Barnett be granted a few days before reporting to jail to make arrangements at his home in a remote area of Franklin County, Idaho, "where he keeps a lot of pets."