Ogden man faces theft, animal cruelty charges after pet rabbit dies


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File photo: Gephart Daily / Laura Withers

OGDEN, Utah, July 5, 2021 (Gephardt Daily) – An Ogden man faces a robbery charge and six misdemeanors, including aggravated animal cruelty after police say he pulled a rabbit week from the hands of a woman and threw it hard against a dresser, killing her almost instantly.

Tra Michael Hoopes, 28, faces charges of:

  • Theft, a second degree crime
  • Intentionally and knowingly aggravated cruelty to animals, a Class A misdemeanor
  • Three counts of domestic violence in the presence of a child, a class B misdemeanor
  • Criminal mischief, a class B misdemeanor
  • Illegal detention, a class B offense

Ogden Police were called to the scene, a condo-style residence in the 1100 block of Healy Street, at 7:13 p.m. on Friday, July 2, during an animal cruelty appeal.

“The animal was a 3 week old rabbit that still needed bottle feeding,” the responding officer wrote in Hoopes’ probable cause statement. “The victim explained that her ex-boyfriend, Tra Hoopes (Tra), who still lived at home with her, had engaged in a
verbal altercation while they were inside the garage.

The woman left the garage and went to the room where the baby rabbit was kept. Hoopes followed, according to the police statement.

“Tra engaged in another verbal altercation with the victim. The victim picked up her bunny and attempted to leave the room when Tra stepped in front of her.

The woman told police she was holding the little white rabbit at breast height and was visible to Hoopes. The woman said she tried to ask Hoopes about six times to let her pass “because she had to watch the three children and feed the rabbit. Tra refused to budge. Tra told her he would not budge. not until she told him what was wrong and bothering her.

She told officers Hoopes was upset and had been violent in the past. She said he wouldn’t move to let her pass.

“Tra finally grabbed the tiny 3 week old bunny with his hand and threw it on a dresser as he turned around. This act killed the rabbit. The victim declared that she had never seen anything being thrown so hard or so fast… ”.

The victim then quickly left the room, saying she was afraid of more violence, she told the Ogden officer.

“The victim explained that Tra usually throws objects inside the house to intimidate or frighten her. The victim believed that Tra threw the rabbit to scare him too… ”said the officer.

Hoopes reportedly admitted seeing the woman with the bunny in the bedroom and they were the only two people in the room.

“Tra denied preventing the victim from leaving and denied ever touching the rabbit. However, during the interview, Tra’s story was popping all over the place and it was difficult to keep a story, ”Hoopes’ affidavit says.

The officer noted that neighbors said they “could hear the altercation from inside their home, in which the children could have heard it.”

Hoopes is being held without bond at the Weber County Jail.

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