Saturday, May 14, 2011
With speculation swirling around flat earth darling and FOX Noise oddity, Mike Huckabee, is he planning to run for president, I thought this would be a good time to revisit the disturbing story of how the one-time governor of Arkansas handled a very sensitive family matter: allegations that one of his sons was directly involved in the hanging of a stray dog at a Boy Scout camp back in 1998.
The incident — no mere rumor, led to the dismissal of 17-year old David Huckabee, son of Gov. Mike Huckabee, from his job as counselor at Camp Pioneer in Hatfield, Arkansas. It also prompted the local prosecuting attorney — who was bombarded with complaints by a national animal rights group, to write a letter to the Arkansas state police seeking help to investigate whether David and another teenager had violated state animal-cruelty laws. The state police never granted the request, and no charges were ever filed against David Huckabee. I wonder why?
John Bailey, then the Director of Arkansas’s State Police told NEWSWEEK that Governor Huckabee’s chief-of-staff and his personal lawyer had both put pressure on him to write a letter officially denying the prosecutor’s request. Bailey, a career officer who had been appointed chief by Huckabee’s Democratic predecessor, said he viewed the lawyer’s intervention as improper and terminated the conversation. Seven months later, he was called into Huckabee’s office and was summarily fired. “I’ve lost confidence in your ability to do your job,” Bailey says Gov. Mike Huckabee told him.
One reason Huckabee cited was “I couldn’t get you to help me with my son when I had ‘that problem’,” according to Bailey. “Without question, he [Huckabee] was making a conscious attempt to keep the state police from investigating his son,” says I. C. Smith, the former FBI chief in Little Rock, who worked closely with Bailey and called him a “courageous” and “very solid” professional. Interesting.
Mike Huckabee continues to maintain Bailey’s account of the incident is “totally untrue” and describes him as a “bitter ex-employee.” Huckabee even made the extraordinary charge, “I asked him [Bailey] to resign because he had so alienated the entire state police. It had nothing to do with my son.” Brenda Turner, Huckabee’s then chief of staff, and Kevin Crass, the Huckabee family lawyer, naturally backed Huckabee’s account of the matter, disputing Bailey’s account of his termination.
The details of the dog killing incident remain murky to this day. The Animal Legal Defense Fund got an anonymous fax in the summer of 1998 alleging David Huckabee and another youth had been involved in the hanging of a stray dog at Camp Pioneer on July 11. A local animal-rights activist, Joyce Hillard, later contacted the camp director. Hillard’s notes state: “Boys confessed & were fired. Director is making excuses, saying dog was sick & boys were putting him out of his misery.” The camp director admitted to NEWSWEEK only that a stray dog was “put down” and that the counselors were fired for violating the Scout credo to be “kind.” The father of the other counselor was quoted by the Arkansas Democrat Gazette in August 1998 as saying that his son found the dog “hung over a limb and choking.”
David Huckabee did not respond to requests for comment of the incident but his father, Mike Huckabee, told NEWSWEEK that his son did not engage in “intentional torture. There was a dog that apparently had mange and was absolutely, I guess, emaciated.” The implication being killing the dog was an act of kindness. But people close to Mike Huckabee say David “regrets” the incident and as proof, notes that he later even made Eagle Scout.
In a separate incident, David Huckabee was arrested at 6:00 AM, April 26, 2007, for trying to board a commercial airline flight at Little Rock International Airport carrying a loaded Glock handgun. A misdemeanor charge was brought against him for “attempting to carry a gun in a prohibited place.” Huckabee had a concealed-weapon permit at the time of the incident and said he “forgot” about the weapon in his luggage.