All the dirt, news, culture and commentary for Oklahoma's second century.

Family finds mutilated rabbit decapitated, offering reward

Photo provided
Bella Tipton, 7, with her bunny before it was decapitated.
Fertile Ground Compost Service
Help support Red Dirt Report

Warning: Graphic images in gallery

SHAWNEE, Okla. – It’s been a bad week for animals in Shawnee. Poisoned cats and dogs at a mobile home park, a skinned coyote dumped at Wal-Mart, and now a family rabbit have all met with death.

A Shawnee family returned from an out of town trip over the New Year weekend to find their pet rabbit mutilated.

Marty Tipton, a well-known western entertainer and western heritage consultant, entered his backyard Sunday to find their pet out of its cage. The head was missing, and the cage badly damaged. His eight-year-old daughter was close behind him.

“I saw her coming and she started screaming. I told her to get back and take her little sister back around the house,” said Tipton. “Fortunately, she didn’t see the rabbit’s head was gone. She cried, ‘I saw its feet together and he was laying the grass and he wouldn’t move.’”

Just last week, his daughter’s bicycle was stolen from the front yard. Now the family pet has been beheaded. It has been unsettling for a family who isn’t used to violence of any kind in their neighborhood. The rabbit was a gift two years ago from a charity event Tipton attended.

“They had to know we were gone,” said Tipton, who believes it happened sometime Saturday evening. “I’m concerned it could evolve into worse crimes.”

This was no animal attack, local vet confirms

Tipton tried to see what could have happened and when he looked at the cage, he said there’s no way it was an animal.

“We kept a rug over the top of it to give it some shade. The cage was flipped over from the backside, the rug under it. So, it was flipped over. If it had been a dog or a coyote, it would have tried to drag the cage, maybe. And it would have taken the meat; it wouldn’t have left the body,” said Tipton.

Growing up on a farm, Tipton said he raised a lot of wild animals and they used chicken wire. “We never had a wild animal kick through chicken wire,” he said, commenting that it appeared to have been kicked in.

Most disturbing to Tipton was the head missing. He speculated that it appeared the head was twisted or cut off. He didn’t find any other puncture marks. Tipton took the rabbit to Best Friends Pet Clinic, where Dr. Brad Roach examined it.

Dr. Brad Roach spoke with Red Dirt Report. “I think it was a pretty clean cut. There was only one area at the bottom of the neck where there was a tear. You could tell someone cut it and didn’t complete the cut all the way. An animal would have done a much worse job on the neck. An animal would have left uneven edges and the bone was cleanly cut,” said Roach.

There is little hope of finding out who did it. The only surveillance camera which covers the front of the house did not show anyone approach. The cage was beyond the camera view. Tipton said his neighbors didn’t recall seeing anything suspicious.

Last year, the family had a kitten. “It was hurt, like someone or something had messed with it. It ended up disappearing,” he said. “So, now this. I don’t know.”

Tipton is concerned that if the incident was a malicious attack directed toward him and or his family that someone was watching the residence or his Facebook page. He is a public figure who travels all over the nation as a performer and consultant for entertainment. More recently, he was a consultant for Proctor and Gamble’s newest Old Spice commercials. He regularly posts images of his work locally and out of state.

He also said that several years ago, he was harassed by a man who kept appearing in and out of his life for approximately 10 years. Tipton hired him when he worked in sales in Oklahoma. To Tipton’s surprise, after he moved to Florida, the former employee showed up, again looking for a job. When Tipton moved back to Oklahoma, so did the former employee. He repeatedly told him to leave him and his family alone.  

“He was really mad at me for not talking to him. For a long time, I’d have newspapers on my doorstep in Oklahoma from Florida,” said Tipton. “It was weird.”

Tipton never took legal action and hasn’t heard from him again. As to the mutilated rabbit, he doesn’t know what happened for sure. While he said that bothers him, it’s how it makes his daughters feel that is the most hurtful. “I feel bad for my daughters. It hurts me to see them hurt,” said Tipton.  

For now, the family takes consolation with other pets, all of which they rescued. They are offering a $500 for any information that secures justice in the matter.

More animal incidents

Jan. 2, a coyote that had been skinned was dumped in front of witnesses at the Shawnee Wal-Mart. According to the report, the front paws and ears had been cut off, and it was missing part of the nose.

Three young men were in the back of a white pickup and one kicked the carcass out from the bed of the truck. According to Chief Mason Wilson of the Shawnee Police Department, a minor suspect was charged with improper dumping of a carcass, a misdemeanor. It is not against the law in Oklahoma to hunt and skin coyotes.

According to the report, the minor allegedly obtained the coyote from his father who had shot it in Lincoln County. A witnesses’ statement read: “The driver of the truck screamed something, then the boy in the back kicked off the body of a skinned dog.”  

Dogs and cats at Rolling Acres mobile home park have been reportedly dying of rat poison. Sunday, a family’s dog was put down after a vet declared it a case of rat poisoning. Tamica Simmon’s 15-year-old son has been diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder. She said her son was worried his therapy dog would be next. He was crying clutching the family cat, who befell similar symptoms as the dog before it died. They didn’t have the money to euthanize it, having already paid for the dog’s death.

Other dogs and cats have also died, likely the result of poisoning now exposed by trailers that have been moved due to the closing of the park.

There are active animal advocacy groups in Pottawatomie County, but they could not be reached at the time of press for comment.

If anyone has information regarding the mutilation of the rabbit, please contact the Shawnee Police Department at 405-273-2121 or email Marty Tipton at 360western@gmail.com.

Enjoy this? Please share it!

About the Author

Mindy Ragan Wood

Mindy Ragan Wood is a freelance writer and editor with a special interest in investigative and...

read more

Enjoy this? Please share it!

About Red Dirt Report

Red Dirt Report was launched July 4, 2007 as an independent news website covering all manner of news, culture, entertainment and lifestyle stories that affect and interest Oklahoma readers and readers outside of our state. Our mission is to educate, promote civic engagement and discourse on public policy, government and politics. Our experienced journalists provided balanced in-depth coverage of news stories that affect Oklahomans. Our opinion/editorial stories come from a wide range of political view points. We carry out our mission by reporting, writing, and posting news and information. read more

Member of the Oklahoma Press Association
Member of Investigative Reporters & Editors
Member of Diversity Business Association
Member of Uptown 23rd

Rotary Club of Bricktown OKC
Keep it Local OK