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Heartbreaking Cruelty: Young Dog Stabbed And Hanged One Week After Couple Adopted Him From Shelter

Published: August 10, 2022 at 07:50 PM Author: PENNY EIMS

Indianapolis, Indiana – On July 28, a young dog named Deron was adopted from Indianapolis Animal Care Services. Just nine days later, his bloodied body was in a plastic bag, stuffed into a trash can at the home of the couple who adopted him.

Details provided by witnesses provide grim insight into Deron’s final moments. As reported by WTHR News, witnesses told the police that they:

“saw a man holding a knife while the dog was hanging from the front porch by a leash. The witness told police the man stabbed the dog and then placed a trash bag over the dog’s head. The witness said three people were outside watching as the man stabbed, suffocated and tortured the dog.”

On July 7, the animal shelter promoted Deron for adoption on Facebook, writing in part, “I’m an energetic, affectionate guy! I think I give the best kisses.” A month after that post was made, the affectionate dog who gave the best kisses was dead after being stabbed, strangled, and stuffed into the trash.

On the afternoon of August 6, multiple witnesses phoned the police to report the abuse that they saw. IMPD Officer Nickolas Smith responded to the home located in the 700 block of North Bosart Avenue and saw two women, identified as Sierra Makin and Denita Hughes, cleaning blood off of the porch.

One of the witnesses had reported that the dog was put into the trash, prompting Officer Smith to investigate – he found a trash can in an alley and after looking inside the bags, discovered the bloodied body of the two-year-old dog, along with a bloody steak knife. Officer Smith returned to the porch and attempted to stop the women from destroying more evidence.

Makin tried to flee, running into the home and slamming the door shut. Inside, Officer Smith was met by 19-year-old Zech Thomsen, who tried to stop handcuffs from being placed on Sierra Makin.

The resistance continued…Makin struck the officer in the face with her fist and then bit him on the arm, drawing blood. Another officer who arrived to assist was struck in the back of the head by Thomsen.

Both individuals were eventually arrested and, now they are facing charges of torturing or mutilating a vertebrate animal, animal abandonment/neglect, resisting law enforcement, and battery of a public safety official.

Thomsen has a criminal history, charged in the past with criminal confinement, battery, strangulation, and resisting law enforcement.

Animal Victory has shared the following fact before, and we will share it again.

The FBI has identified cruelty to animals as a sign of psychopathy, a red flag indicating a high risk for committing future acts of violence that pose a danger to the entire community, as evidenced by the history of animal torture and abuse that has been linked to every serial killer and school shooter.

These cases MUST be taken seriously in court to prevent animal abusers from harming someone in the future.

Please add your name to the petition as we fight for justice on behalf of Deron, who died after being viciously stabbed and hanged.

We the undersigned demand that Zech Thomsen and Sierra Makin are held responsible for the abhorrent cruelty inflicted on their adopted dog, Deron. We are petitioning for Thomsen and Makin to receive the maximum punishment allowable by law for their charges of torturing or mutilating a vertebrate animal, animal abandonment/neglect, resisting law enforcement, and battery of a public safety official. We want to see these individuals prohibited from ever owning or residing with an animal in the future. We are also petitioning Indianapolis Animal Care Services to complete a background check on adopters. Had one been conducted for Deron’s adoption, he would still be alive.

Note: Individuals are presumed innocent until they have been found guilty in a court of law. Animal Victory relies upon the authorities and the court system to determine guilt or innocence.



Fox 59



Fox 59 updated news article

Update 5/31/2024: Animal Victory is thrilled to report that Zech Thomsen has been sentenced to two and a half years in jail for the killing of Deron following his term of 27 years for the murder of Vincent Lovett Clifton, Jr. in 2022. Denita Lynn Hughes was charged with obstructing justice and sentenced to 304 days of probation and a fine of $100. Clifford Massey has a change of plea hearing on June 20. We will continue to follow this case until everyone involved has been sentenced. 

Update 4/9/2024: Zech Thomsen – Pre-Trial Conference is scheduled on 06/17/2024 at 8:30 AM, Judicial Officer: Oetjen, Cynthia L 

Update 1/23/2024: Clifford Massey’s sentencing hearing has been rescheduled to 4/25/2024 at 1:30 p.m. E.S.T., Judicial Officer: Ann Flannelly. Zech Thomsen pre-trial conference has been scheduled for 4/1/2024 at 8:30 a.m. Judicial Officer Cynthia Oetjen.

Update 10/26/2023: Petition sent to the DA and Court.

Update 10/19/2023: Zech Thomsen’s jury trial which was scheduled for 10/18/2023 has been cancelled. Currently, he has a pre-trial conference scheduled for 11/13/2023 at 8:30 a.m.

Update 10/16/2023: Clifford Massey has entered a guilty plea and his sentencing hearing is scheduled for January 18, 2024, at 1:30 p.m. 

Denita Hughes is serving her two-year sentence at home. When she leaves the house, she must contact Community Correction to receive permission. However, this sentence, with regard to animals, prohibits her from having animals in her home. While we are thrilled she has been punished to some degree, this would be more effective if she served her time behind bars.

Update 9/5/2023: Zech Thomsen, Case #49D30-2208-F6-021486: A jury trial is scheduled for 10/18/2023 at 8:30 a.m. E.S.T.

Update 7/28/2023: A status hearing for Clifford Massey is scheduled on 8/10/2023 at 1:30 p.m. (attorneys only).

Update 5/20/2023: Court records show that Sierra Makin pleaded guilty to battery of a public safety officer and obstruction of justice in January. A judge sentenced Makin to three years in prison with one suspended and another to be served on GPS monitoring; she was also ordered to attend anger control counseling. 

Zech Thomsen, the man charged with hanging and stabbing Deron, is now accused of the July murder of Vincent Lovett Clifton, proving yet again the strong tie between animal cruelty crimes and human violence.

Update 5/15/2023:  Zech Thomsen’s trial has been rescheduled to July 12, 2023. Please continue to sign the petition.

Update 3/12/2023: For both defendants, the court is set for Pre-Trial 05/04/2023 at 1:30 PM with Judicial Officer: Flannelly, Anne -MAG0 and Jury Trial 5/10/2023 8:30 AM, Judicial Officer: Oetjen, Cynthia L

Update 3/6/2023: Animal Victory has sent the petition to the judge.

Update 1/20/2023: Both defendants are due in court for trial on 03/08/2023 at 8:30 a.m. with Judicial Officer Anne Flannelly’s ruling.

Update 10/25/2022: For defendants Massey and Hughes, the pre-trial is scheduled for January 5, 2023, at 1:30 p.m. The jury trial begins January 11, 2023, at 8:30 a.m. 

Update 9/7/2022: Animal Victory has sent 20,971 signatures along with our petition to Attorney Andrew J. Bookwalter. 

Update 8/29/2022: There is a bail review hearing being held tomorrow, August 30, 2022, at 9:30 a.m. for defendant Clifford Massey. The pre-trial conference will take place on October 13, 2022, at 1:30 p.m. The jury trial is scheduled for October 19, 2022, at 8:30 a.m. 


Update 8/12/2022: Animal Victory has learned that two more people have been arrested and charged in this animal cruelty case. On Thursday night, IMPD announced the arrests of 21-year-old Clifford Massey and 66-year-old Denita Hughes. Hughes is facing a charge of felony obstruction of justice and Massey is charged with felony torturing or mutilating a vertebrate animal and felony obstruction of justice. These newly identified and charged individuals will be included in Animal Victory’s petition and letter to court officials.

Prior Signatures 26,163

Heartbreaking Cruelty: Young Dog Stabbed And Hanged One Week After Couple Adopted Him From Shelter

8,792 signatures = 44% of goal

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Latest Signatures
8,792 Janice Q. 0 Jun 06, 2024
8,791 Corina V. Punish these criminals 0 Jun 04, 2024
8,790 luke A. 0 Jun 02, 2024
8,789 Jennifer C. 0 May 28, 2024
8,788 Jason D. They will continue killing, I would be more than happy to put a bullet in each of their heads while they are hanging from their porch. 0 May 28, 2024
8,787 Samantha H. 0 May 19, 2024
8,786 Daisha P. May 14, 2024
8,785 Valerie E. May 07, 2024
8,784 Rachael G. May 04, 2024
8,783 Crystal T. May 03, 2024
8,782 Sydney L. May 01, 2024
8,781 stacy s. Apr 30, 2024
8,780 Grady P. jai time won't solve the problem, but a bullet to the head will... Apr 26, 2024
8,779Anonymous They look like scum. Throw this scum in jail. Better adoption process Harsher penalties and they can Never own an animal again Apr 26, 2024
8,778 sarah r. Apr 22, 2024
8,777Anonymous Apr 22, 2024
8,776 Tonia G. Apr 22, 2024
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8,773 Cheryl D. Punish them to the full extent of the law Apr 19, 2024