Dog Abuse

Groomer Sentenced to Probation After Violently Kicking, Seriously Injuring Dog

After a violent attack on a defenseless dog in his care, an Iowa groomer was sentenced this week to two years of probation. Was justice served?

Lucas Van Orden V

Former Iowa City groomer, Lucas Van Orden V, 22, was arrested in July 2016 after police said he kicked a Corgi named Jasper during a grooming session at the Creature Comfort Veterinary Clinic in Iowa City, where he was employed by his parents who run the business. As a result of the attack, Jasper suffered broken ribs and a bruised lung among other injuries resulting in thousands of dollars in medical bills and weeks of pain and suffering.

After the incident, Van Orden was initially charged with simple misdemeanor animal neglect, but the charge was later upgraded to animal abuse, an aggravated misdemeanor. The former groomer originally entered a not guilty plea, but later pleaded guilty in exchange for probation instead of jail time.

The terms of Van Orden’s probation require him to check in with an Iowa Department of Corrections probation officer, avoid any further law violations, follow any recommendations by mental health professionals with regard to further treatment, pay restitution to Jasper’s owners for costs associated with the dog’s treatment, and serve 40 hours of community service, Sixth Judicial District Judge Jason Burns said. Community service may not be performed with any animal shelter, rescue, or welfare organization.

Unlike those of us in the “court of public opinion”, Jasper’s owner, Christopher McCleary, is satisfied with the probation-only sentence.

“I think it was a good person that made a bad decision,” he told the Press-Citizen. “I just respect the judge. I respect his sentencing and if he feels that’s best, I agree.”

“We look at our own animals as companion pets, so they’re part of our family,” McCleary said. “They’re not a human being, but they do deserve rights. The police station had their thumbs tied because this is normally purely civil. It’s treated as the same thing as you’d get from getting a speeding ticket, but my dog had severe damaged and almost died.”

Jasper has made a full recovery. “He healed well. And he’s an extraordinary dog and he’s as loving today as he was then,” McCleary said.

Do you think Van Orden’s sentence was sufficient? Weigh in with a comment below.



  1. Michelle

    Feb 27, 2017 at 10:15 am

    No! Justice was not served. Events like this are too frequent and horrifying. Animals are innocent victims of people like this one and need better protection. I hate to see this kind of thing-it hurts my heart.

  2. Dee

    Feb 25, 2017 at 4:50 am

    Heck no..!! He needs some of the same treatment, If they even put him in jail for a short time he may get a little that he deserves..! .

  3. Nora Petez

    Feb 25, 2017 at 12:01 am

    No it was not sufficient punishment…That's the problem with the system they let these bastards off too easy

  4. Judy

    Feb 24, 2017 at 1:46 pm

    No, it wasn't and this dude needs serious evaluation!!!!

  5. Anne

    Feb 24, 2017 at 10:51 am

    No it wasn't sufficient. People that abuse animals end up committing worse crime after. He should be jailed and then under probation after, including not being allowed to ever owning a pet again. If I were the parents I would watch him closely.

  6. Janie Wolfe

    Feb 23, 2017 at 5:25 pm

    No it wasn't served he deserves jail for at least 7 years.

  7. Molly

    Feb 23, 2017 at 4:05 pm

    If you are angry about the sentencing, then talk to your legislatures. We have many that have no desire to see stiffer penalties for people that abuse animals. You want it to change, then get out, call, write your representatives, vote, make yourself heard. Otherwise this sad cycle will continue to happen in our state.

    • Marie Hernandes

      Mar 1, 2017 at 4:39 pm

      Best commit so far. Most people don't do much to help change the laws until it hits home. I can't believe this owner. It was a simple mistake. I wonder what the owner of the dog would have said if it had been him kicked and beaten by this punk.

  8. Gerri

    Feb 23, 2017 at 12:20 pm

    No, I do not think he was given the correct punishment. Until these types of incidents get the type of punishment they really deserve, this abuse will continue. No telling how many other animals he kicked and hit. If that were my dog, it would not have stopped here. This is absolute Bulls hit. He needs his ass kicked

  9. Jackie Nash

    Feb 23, 2017 at 11:22 am


  10. E. A. Coy

    Feb 22, 2017 at 11:32 pm

    Fuck no!!!

  11. Elizabeth

    Feb 22, 2017 at 9:32 pm

    Absolutely no contact with animals. It's common knowledge animal abuse is a symptom of psychological problems that often leads to more violence. Something may have triggered this but what happens to a child in his care who may upset him? He's old enough to know better and has been around animals if he was working for his parents. I think a little 'jailhouse justice' may be in order here.

  12. Nancy

    Feb 22, 2017 at 9:08 pm

    Wow, I certainly disagree with the owner saying "a good person made a bad decision". There is nothing "good" with a person who would make a "decision" to kick a small dog (Corgi) so hard he would break ribs and bruise a lung!

  13. Georgiana

    Feb 22, 2017 at 8:38 pm

    I believe as a first time offender his sentence was adequate, but
    I would have added that he should not be allowed to work with animals. Apparently something occured to cause him to do that to the animal,and he doesn't have the necessary temperment. Just as you
    need patience with children….the same applies to pets.. after all
    in many cases if not all, they are our children.

  14. joe hurst

    Feb 22, 2017 at 6:39 pm

    A "good person" does not do that much of a bad thing, I think he is a young punk puke who should have it done to him, or do some time in jail. Then he might get what he deserves. I doubt he is learning anything.

  15. Roberta

    Feb 22, 2017 at 6:29 pm

    He should be in prison and never allowed to work with animals again and maybe kicked a few times!

  16. Cheryl Carson

    Feb 22, 2017 at 5:50 pm

    This was not nearly enough punishment for the groomer. I think he should never be allowed to be around any animals and should go to jail for a time before probation. That just makes me sick. (Poor little dog. He didn't deserve to be treated like that. If it had been my dog, I'd sure have filed charges on him for jail time plus.

  17. Vivian Calabria

    Feb 22, 2017 at 9:44 am

    So, if I kick this groomer, breaking some ribs and bruising his lungs, will I get off on probation too? Cause if that's the case, I'll gladly go kick the shit out of this animal abuser and see how he likes it!!! A life is a life, and as such, this type of abuse cannot be tolerated and must be punished severely. I disagree with the owner, this was not a good person making a bad decision; a bad decision would have been choosing to use human shampoo instead of dog shampoo on the dog. This is a case of a sick bully taking advantage of a defenseless creature!!!

    • joe hurst

      Feb 22, 2017 at 6:41 pm

      I agree.

  18. Vickie Hilbert

    Feb 22, 2017 at 9:14 am

    Next time it might be a child! This monster has mental problems and probation will not help!

  19. Sara Toreau

    Feb 22, 2017 at 6:31 am

    When Is the punishment going to fit the crime? For as long as people like that and their likes can get away with slaps on the wrist, we will continue to be indulged in these stomach-twisting news stories. Hit 'em back where it hurts. Jail. Financial restitution. And THEN probation. This however requires that our laws be changed. Too often do I read judges lamenting that they would love to but are unable to hand down harsher sentences. It's on us right here to change that!

  20. Caroline

    Feb 22, 2017 at 4:36 am

    No, he should also be banned from owning and grooming any future pets!!!!

  21. Elly

    Feb 22, 2017 at 1:30 am

    I sure hope their grooming business goes out of business- anyone who cares for their pets would never let them near these monsters!

  22. Olivia R. Lemey

    Feb 21, 2017 at 10:57 pm

    No. Not al all. His parents should be appalled at their son's behavior. JAIL TIME!!!

  23. Rebecca

    Feb 21, 2017 at 10:47 pm

    No it is not enough. I love my dog so much if someone ever hurt her they would be hurt is all I can say.

  24. Theresa smith

    Feb 21, 2017 at 10:17 pm

    No! He should get jail time along with all the rest of it.

  25. Kathy Lauve

    Feb 21, 2017 at 9:54 pm

    This man needs to also be banned from his parents grooming facility for life. He shouldn't come in contact or be allowed to own any animal ever. I want stiffer punishments for animal abusers.

  26. Terri Nunnallee

    Feb 21, 2017 at 9:46 pm

    Hell no! He made a conscious decision Tells plenty if his character – and lack of integrity!!!

  27. Terri Hyatt

    Feb 21, 2017 at 9:44 pm

    I am disgusted and appalled at this. Clearly this is a person with severe anger issues that needs to be held accountable. Science has proven again and again that animal cruelty is a pre-cursor to human cruelty. This POS needs a stiffer sentence, including jail time and a hefty fine.

    The justice system for animals does not work because Big Ag rules the law makers. Things have GOT to change!

  28. Ann Burton

    Feb 21, 2017 at 8:49 pm

    How many other innocent fur babies has he hurt that no one knows about?????

  29. KARMA

    Feb 21, 2017 at 8:28 pm

    Put that bitch, Lucas, in front of me, so that I can kick the shit outta his fat ugly pathetic ass! You evil piece of shit! Karma will come after you, now, you useless waste of space, bitch!

  30. Jo Ann Tobin

    Feb 21, 2017 at 8:16 pm

    It doesn't matter that it was an animal. Pain is pain. Injury is injury. He attacked a helpless being because he could and got away with it. He will do it again someday. End of story.

  31. Brenda

    Feb 21, 2017 at 8:00 pm

    Absolutely not!

  32. Diana Guidi

    Feb 21, 2017 at 7:55 pm

    Hope people who know this asshole tell him what they think of him,send him a card and tell him what you think about him,call him,and call creature comfort veterinary clinic and tell them how you feel. Thank you for caring.

  33. Pam Wells

    Feb 21, 2017 at 6:58 pm

    He should have had the same punishment as if he did it to a person. He should have done jail time! Chances are he'll just do it again! What a jerk!!!

  34. Teka Clark

    Feb 21, 2017 at 6:51 pm

    No it isn't. Whatwere the circumstances this happened

  35. Gloria Pantoja

    Feb 21, 2017 at 6:37 pm

    I do not agree with his sentence, it was but a slap on the hand,that monster should have done jail time and should NEVER EVER be allowed to work with animals again.

  36. Roy Bish

    Feb 21, 2017 at 4:45 pm

    It is an assault, plain and simple. If he had inflicted this damage to a human he would have had a jail term! So unfair

  37. Ruby Wilson

    Feb 21, 2017 at 4:42 pm

    This moron is a POS!! He should never have any contact w/any animals except a Grizzly Bear!! The judge obviously made a stupid uncaring decision!, and he's just as guilty! Remember this tho stupid young man =what goes around, really does COME AROUND & your turn is coming!!

  38. j

    Feb 21, 2017 at 4:17 pm

    absolutely not ,requires jail time psych evaluation at the minimum. it's where you start…..

  39. Evelyn R. Farkas

    Feb 21, 2017 at 3:10 pm

    Absolutely not, I don't agree with him just getting probabion. It doesn't matter that he pled guilty or not. He should be serving time in jail. Even that isn't enough punishment for what that poor little helpless dog endured!!!!

  40. Sharon McTaggart

    Feb 21, 2017 at 3:08 pm

    When is the punishment ever going to fit the crime with regards to animal cruelty? I'm sick of people literally being let off with soft sentencing. Makes my blood boil!!!

    • Teresa

      Feb 22, 2017 at 12:05 am

      I am furious at the probation sentence this person should have gotten jail time and should never be able to work in anyway with animals! Also he should never ever be able to own a pet. Jasper had to endure so much pain and suffering because of that peice of crap!!!!

    • Caroline

      Feb 22, 2017 at 4:37 am


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