Virginia animal group takes back $45,000 contribution to reward fund |

Virginia animal group takes back $45,000 contribution to reward fund

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) – A Virginia group took back its $45,000 contribution to a reward fund for the criminal conviction of a man in a road rage dog death case, claiming it had not taken part in deciding which tipsters should get the money.

Our Animal WARDS had offered $45,000 as part of the $115,000 total reward money in the case that gripped animal lovers across the nation. The story of a small dog thrown to its death in traffic horrified fellow pet owners who donated checks, cash and pledged funds to apprehend the culprit.

The Humane Society of Santa Clara Valley maintains the Virginia-based group was involved in the decision, and has warned that it may take legal action if money was given to people the society felt were ineligible.

The Humane Society of Santa Clara Valley had announced last week that $75,000 would be paid to John Mora, a San Jose man who testified that he saw Andrew Burnett yank Leo, a bichon frise, from the car of Sara McBurnett and toss the dog to its death after a fender bender in February, 2000.

Burnett, 27, was convicted earlier this month of felony animal cruelty for killing Leo.

The Virginia group was particularly concerned about the $10,000 share of the reward allotted to Max Frazer, a man who e-mailed Santa Clara police investigators about alleged animal abuse by Burnett when he was in the Navy and stationed in Puerto Rico.

”We were concerned about others who really felt they went out of their way, whether any other people felt they had a claim to all or part of it,” said Joe Venable, Our Animal WARDS vice president.

Frazer never testified at Burnett’s trial and details about the alleged incident in Puerto Rico were never presented to the jury.

Frazer received $6,100 instead of $10,000. John Mora received $45,600 instead of the $70,000 announced last week.

Reward recipients were awarded checks for their contributions to the case at a ceremony Thursday afternoon, albeit in amounts about 40 percent less than previously promised.

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