This is a story that epitomizes how vets can lie -- lies so bald-faced, so immoral, that one is left to ask: "Is this man a sociopath?" Lies in which the vet is the hero or martyr, whose heart bleeds for animals, when the truth is -- he is a killer of animals.
This is also a story of how eager the veterinary community, and the press and community at large are, to buy into this false heroic image of veterinarians.
On April 24th, Alabama veterinarian Jerry Handley reportedly called his wife, saying he'd been shot by an intruder to his animal clinic, Handley Animal Clinic. The wife called 9-11, and when officers arrived, the building was ablaze.
The account of events was told in the publication "DVM 360," and the hero-making characterization of the approach is evident, as they paint the portrait of Handley:
DVM 360 wrote:
"Dr. Jerry Handley grabbed the gun from his truck before entering his rural Alabama practice by way of the back door, already ajar. . . . he never expected to encounter a man 6 feet tall and weighing at least 230 pounds. The intruder smelled of grease, like a mechanic, with dark hair and a tribal tattoo on his right bicep, Handley says. 'I was shocked. I didn't know anyone was there, to be honest. I just walked in,' Handley recalls of the April 24 attack that reduced his practice to ashes and nearly killed him. "Just when I realized something was wrong, someone from behind hit me in the back of the head." The blow from a second intruder stunned 51-year-old Handley, giving the assailant time to snatch the veterinarian's gun and shoot him in the arm and leg."
Painting himself as an animal-loving victim, in this article, Handley is quoted as saying: "I thought I was going to die," Handley says. "I kept blacking out. Fire was all around me. I could hear my cats crying, I just couldn't get to them." Eight animals — seven owned by Handley— died in the blaze."
Except . . . Handley's account of what happened was a fiction.
Handley later admitted that he had staged the whole thing. There never was an intruder -- and he'd shot himself as a part of this charade. He poured gasoline throughout his clinic, with two cats and five dogs inside, and set fire to it.
According to the Gadsden Times, as quoted on PetAbuse.com, the local Sheriff said that Handley may have done this to collect insurance money.
In spite of Handley's willful actions, the Sheriff is quoted in the article as having said: "He didn't intend for it [the fire] to get the animals."
OK, riddle me this: After the insane whoppers this man has told, can you please explain to me how he can have 7 animals caged inside his clinic, pour gasoline all over his clinic, set fire to it, shoot himself in the arm and leg . . . and yet he claims he "never intended" to kill the animals?
Are we still so DESPERATE to paint vets as heros, victims and martyrs, that someone is going to believe that ludicrous disclaimer after these horrible acts and mind-bogglind lies?
Perhaps even more disturbing to me than Handley's actions themselves are the fawning, idolatrous tone of the original veterinary article retelling Handley's outlandish tale, and the fact that the Sheriff and his community are even now, after the horrible truth has come out, still seemingly inclined to continue believing his statements, and extend their sympathies to him.
This man set fire to his own clinic, nearly pulled off a total scam, lied such lies that I frankly believe he must be a sociopath, and most importantly, killed 7 animals in a fire he set.
Will he be held to account for this travesty?
Jerry Handley has been charged with 7 counts of felony animal cruelty, second degree arson, and a misdemeanor charge of filing a false report. On May 30th, Handley was released on $100,000 bond and ordered to a mental health facility.
Handley will be arraigned on July 31st.
DVM 360 Article with Update
PetAbuse.com Articles and Updates