On 4-7-11, Humboldt County Probation officers arrested 21 year old Eureka native Donavan Baltzley for probation violations. Baltzley was on felony probation for animal cruelty. Baltzley pled guilty to killing the family dog of his girlfriend, in 2008. He was convicted in 2010. After an evaluation by the Department of Corrections, he was placed on felony probation.
In the first case, Baltzley, was witnessed squeezing a very small dog out of anger. This small dog, Sarah Lou, showed unusual fear of Baltzley prior to this incident. The act caused significant injuries to the dog. Several days later the dog disappeared. DA investigator Steve Dunn assumed the case from the HCSO and developed evidence that Baltzley stole the dog from the house and killed it. Baltzley later helped the family search for the dog. After estrangement from the family, a My Space page was created on Baltzley’s computer, in the name of the missing dog, using a picture of the missing dog. A friend request was then sent to the victim family.
At the end of 2010, Baltzley was allowed to move in with a Eureka family. The family members included two small Maltese dogs. One of the dogs was 8 month old named Bentley. Just prior to Bentley’s death, he began to show irrational fear of Baltzley. On January 7th, when family members got home from work, they found Bentley under a bed deceased. Circumstantial evidence suggests the dog did not die of natural causes and Baltzley was the only person with an opportunity to harm the dog.
A month later, Baltzley moved in with another family. This family included four dogs, three small dogs and one large dog. A similar scenario played itself out. After about a week, the dogs began displaying irrational fear of Baltzley. Several days later, family members came home and found their small Terrier, Rusty, missing. Rusty was about 8 years old and had lived in the same trailer park for his entire life. Rusty had never wandered off, on his own, during this time. Rusty was never found. Several days later, family members came home and found their small deer legged Chihuahua, Pepe, severely injured and hiding under a bed. Again, circumstantial evidence suggests that Baltzley was the only person with an opportunity to harm Pepe. Pepe had to be put to sleep because of his injuries. A neighbor heard one of the victim’s dogs, “screaming” in pain during the time period these crimes occurred.