Case discussion about the woman charged with murder for killing her husband as he beat her cat

This is a case continuation and discussion about the article posted by Michael on June 3 about 47-year-old Mrs. Mary Harrison who admitted to shooting her husband, 49-year-old Dexter Harrison, dead because he was beating the family cat.

She shot her husband dead because he was beating the family cat

She admitted it to the police when they arrived.

Undoubtedly one of the most controversial killings to hit mainstream news in quite some time, with people divided on whether and with what Harrison should be charged with and the psychological harassment most believe Mary must have experienced for an extended period.

Was it right for her to kill her husband? Did she believe her life was in danger? Should she have been charged with first-degree murder and booked on a $100,000 bond?

While some are saying Mary should be punished for what she did, many, many more are saying they’d have done the same thing and believe the beating of the family cat was done by Mr. Harrison in front of his wife to drive her a wee bit crazier than she could put up with any longer.

It’s been suggested a fundraiser be started to raise bail money. I doubt that would be allowed, it being a case where someone died and a fundraiser would benefit the one who committed the act. Still, a lot of people have stated they’d donate to help free Mary. According to June 4 article on People.com, an attorney who “might speak on Mary Harrison’s behalf was not immediately identified, nor was it clear whether she has yet entered a plea.”

Michael commented on his previous article and his comment sums hit the nail on the head, so to speak.

“Firstly, is there any reason why some people should not value cats as equal to humans? Do humans have to have a superior value to those of other animals? Is it automatic that the value of humans is higher than that of animals including cats? I don’t think so. But you find it bizarre and mad that a person can value the life of a cat over a human. However, this woman might not have valued the life of her cat higher than that of her husband. She might have had a temporary complete loss of self-control because of years of abuse. We don’t know.”

It’s disappointing that none of the news media outlets seem to know who has the cat at this time.


Update from Michael. He contacted CBS DFW for info and they contacted Dallas County Sheriff’s Dept and they said: “She’s still in the Dallas County Jail. There’s information on how to write her here: http://www.dallascounty.org/department/sheriff/inmate_mail.php. We’re not sure what happened to the cat.”

Note: You have to know the jail ID number of the inmate to write to them. I believe that she should be contacted and asked if she’d like help in funding her legal defense. If yes we could start crowdfunding. If you live in Dallas County can you visit her in jail?


I firmly believe women who have suffered domestic abuse (especially involving a pet) have a different view on this situation that those who wear rose-colored glasses and believe it’s impossible that those in a relationship could take out their hate on a defenseless animal. It can happen, it does happen and it’s a proven fact animal abuse leads to abuse of a person.

According to Animal Law: The Link Cruelty to Animals and Violence Towards People

  • 100% of sexual homicide offenders examined had a history of cruelty towards animals.
  • 70% of all animal abusers have committed at least one other criminal offense and almost 40% have committed violent crimes against people.
  • 63.3% of men who had committed crimes of aggression admitted to cruelty to animals.
  • 48% of rapists and 30% of child molesters reported committing animal abuse during childhood or adolescence.
  • 36% of assaultive women reported cruelty to animals while 0% of non-assaultive women did.
  • 25% of violent, incarcerated men reported higher rates of “substantial cruelty to animals” in childhood than a comparison group of non-incarcerated men (0%).
  • Men who abused animals were five times more likely to have been arrested for violence towards humans, four times more likely to have committed property crimes, and three times more likely to have records for drug and disorderly conduct offenses.

Please feel free to post your thoughts on this case. What do you think the end result will be? Sounds like the world will be a safer place due to her actions.

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Case discussion about the woman charged with murder for killing her husband as he beat her cat — 14 Comments

    • I hate this sort of human behavior. It is totally immoral as well as criminal. The animal is completely innocent. Why should mad humans involve an animal in their stupid personal war?

  1. In the photo of the woman posted here, it looks to me like she has two black eyes. If so, that is an indication of domestic violence to her. I don’t know the statistics, or even how one could get reliable statistics, b/c when domestic violence is reported to police, it can lead to escalated abuse.

    • I don’t thing protecting the cat or other animals will be a defense although it goes to the character of the deceased. Diminished responsibility or temporary insanity would be. Provocation? Long term domestic violence?

  2. Abusers often use pets to torture their victims. From my perspective beating on one of my cats would be little different than beating on me. Self defense. How do we expect to have someone stand by even calling 911 and watch a beloved family member beat to death by a sick abusive SO and do nothing.
    An example is you see someone being overly aggressive with their dog. They are most common in public and you shoot them. You would likely face first degree murder. You see someone kick a friendly stray cat. You can’t just gun them down to protect the cat.
    Once you shift to the home things can change. Many spouses , GF and BF endure regular abuse at that hands of someone they love, and fear. Another fact is many abused spouses usually women stay in an abusive home because shelters will not allow them to bring their pets or limit the number. Telling someone to just leave doesn’t address the mental prison many abused people are in. Summed up best by a friend. When did I become THAT woman. Seemingly happy marriage for years though we thought him a controlling ****. When she gained some independence and wanted to have a job and a life and friends he done an about face. One of his first moves was to threaten her pets.

    • Agreed. There are many examples of men abusing and killing cats owned by their former female partner in order to get at her; to hurt her emotionally. Cats are very vulnerable in domestic disputes as they are ideal targets. The animal welfare laws should be amended to make animal abuse ‘aggravated’ (more serious) if this happens.

  3. I think that she will be convicted of involuntary manslaughter based on diminished responsibility. Her defense will be that she acted under diminished responsibility and therefore it was not murder but manslaughter. It is a question of intent. I was not a criminal lawyer by the way so I am speculating.

  4. I believe that there is much more to this than a husband abusing the family cat. The abuse of the cat crystallised what was probably a long-term underlying problem in the home and it may well be the case that the husband was also physically abusing the woman. I don’t know – that is just a possibility. It certainly caused her to crack, to see the red mist of extreme anger and a loss of self-control.

    I wholeheartedly agree with the idea of a crowdfunding page to raise money to defend this woman. As Elisa mentioned it may be illegal but I don’t think so. It would simply be money to help pay for a good lawyer. That is not making money out of a crime. It is simply funding a defence.

    Personally, I have an admiration for this woman. That is not to say that I condone a person murdering another person. It is just that I admire her for tearing up the rulebook and stepping in to stop this man hurting her cat. She threw away all caution and there is something beautiful about it. It does make a great statement although there will be a great loss to her and indeed to the cat.

    • I wonder what people would be saying if the situation ended like Kyle the cat who watched the murder of his female owner. From what I’m hearing this wasn’t the first time he beat the cat. The situation was escalating and she just got tired of it.

  5. Abuse of pets can be part of any Domestic Abuse situation, at any stage of the whole process as I understand it.

    It isn,t always used as a way of saying to the abused “Hey! Looky here, your cat now sweetheart, YOU might be next ”

    It is often used a quick cheap reminder of where the power lies. It feeds the abuser with the reward of seeing the victim frightened, angry, helpless, all attention on their pet, every one of their shattered emotional strings pulled 100% of the time. To threaten to, or actually abuse any living being that is significant to the victim, is a weapon more powerful than any gun.

    It is deliberate torture.

    If one partner attacks, threatens a pet and the victim tells the abuser why they must not do it/not to do it again, showing, explaining their emotional distress, the abuser cannot claim lack of intent to harm when they reasonably know the serious harms it will cause. Many abusers plead a lack of malicious intent, or ignorance their acts would cause serious harms. Any excuse for acts that have no excuse.

    I am hoping very hard she gets a good lawyer working pro bono for her. Without it, she probably doesn’t stand much of a chance of getting fairness in trial.

    Whatever the back story, the husband knew what he was doing, he was deliberately causing serious psychological trauma, both to the woman and the cat, and likely serious physically harm to the cat.

    I could speculate that maybe the cat was not as beloved of and previous to the wife & she judges st took this opportunity to kill her husband, breaking the biggest rule of all, not to kill humans. In the maelstrom of DV situations, any thing or living beings can and may well be used as weapons of attack or defence. What better act of virtue signalling than trying to save the family cat from a violent, terrifying death or at least serious injury?

    It might be six of one, half a dozen of the other, but honestly, I don’t care one jot about an animal abuser shot dead in the act.

    I do care about the way humans treat each other and I care a hell of a lot more about how they treat other species.

    • Jane, I agree with your comment. I think it is a very good comment. I believe that there is much more to this than the cat being abused. There must have been quite a lot of stress between the people as well.

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