Would you like to read the message that prompted this Letter?

UPDATE: (Small Victory) The Judge has denied the Motion to Dismiss.


November 8, 1999

Judge C.W. Foust
Via fax: 608-267-4153
Dane County Courthouse
210 Martin Luther King Blvd - Room 207
Madison, Wisconsin 53709

Re: College Student Chad Alvarez and his friend's pet parrot, Iago

Dear Judge Foust:

As a fellow mid-westerner, I have been following the above-referenced case via a friend who lives in Wisconsin near Madison. I was sickened and angered to learn of the actions of this college student. So much so, that when my friend wrote me that the case might be dropped due to a Motion to Dismiss filed by Mr. Alvarez's attorney based on the notoriety this case has received, I felt compelled to write to you.

Psychiatrists and psychologists have identified a definite link between individuals who torture and/or kill animals and the commission of violent criminal acts towards other humans. As such, it is essential to detect and correct this type of behavior before it escalates.

It is obvious that this violent act committed to express his anger/rage was inappropriate and disproportionate to the triggering event. Sadly, it is likely that, unless reprimanded, counseled and rehabilitated, not only is Mr. Alvarez likely to commit similar violent offenses, but he may graduate to more heinous acts. The pattern can already be seen since he has progressed from merely tormenting/torturing an animal (his own family's pet Dalmatian) to killing one. I suggest to you that it would be far better to go forward with this criminal case than to dismiss it now, and find Mr. Alvarez before you again--perhaps his next "crime of passion (anger)" will be directed at a human being.

Your honor, there have been a rash of violent incidents over this last year in schools and places of employment--people walking in and with little or no provocation shooting people to death. Perhaps if someone with your opportunity had recognized the warning signs of unhealthy anger, rage and despair earlier, some of these incidents would not have occurred.

Further, I would imagine that Mr. Alvarez's friend (whom I doubt remains one) would like to see justice served. We have reached a point in our society where animals are not merely "things" that live in our houses, but are companions who share our homes and our lives. Certainly some value and respect should be attributed to that person-pet relationship, and the loss acknowledged.

Lastly, I am afraid that if you dismiss this case--especially for the reasons stated in Mr. Hurley's Motion to Dismiss (as I understand the motion)--the only message you'll be sending the public is that knowing or being related to "someone" influential can get you out of paying the costs for your actions.

Therefore, I urge you to go forward with this case and enforce the laws violated to the fullest extent permissible. I encourage you to add to any possible sentence the stipulation of psychological evaluation and counseling for the young man. Send a clear message that such violent acts have repercussions, will not be tolerated in our society, and that it is not okay to hurt and kill an animal just because it is not a human. We must all do our part to curb violence, I hope you will do your part by permitting this case to proceed. Also, I thank you for taking a moment of your valuable time to read my letter.


Leigh-Anne Dennison


This past May, Chad Alvarez was arrested for killing a friend's parrot ("Iago") in a microwave.

Alvarez's attorney, Stephen Hurley, has now filed a motion to dismiss the case on the grounds that Chad is being given too much attention because of his father's position a head football coach at UW-Madison.

It is hoped that Judge Foust will not dismiss the case. If he does not dismiss the charges, Alvarez is scheduled to go to trial on November 16, charged with Felony Theft and with Mistreatment of an Animal resulting in the Death of the Animal. For the combined charges, he faces up to 7 years in prison.

Chad claims he was angry with his friend Cory over a "joke" e-mail about alcoholism and that he killed Iago to release his anger. Although he claimed he wasn't aware of the attachment between Cory and his parrot, Chad had been told earlier how much Corey cared for Iago.

This was not the first time Chad had tormented an animal. Court records show Chad had fed glue-covered crackers to their elderly Dalmation, causing the dog to be ill for days afterwards. Apparently Chad thought this was pretty funny. He also tormented the same dog by flicking matches at her; each time the dog saw Chad, she cowered in fright.

Sadly, the court records also contain a letter from Donna Shalala, Secretary of the Dept of Health and Human Services, claiming Chad simly "made a mistake" and is really a "fine young man."

PLEASE WRITE A RESPECTFUL LETTER TO JUDGE FOUST asking him to enact justice in this case.

Judge C.W. Foust
Dane County Courthouse
Room 207
210 Martin Luther King Blvd
Madison, WI 53709

Fax: 608-267-4153