Byron’s Story – Animal Cruelty Case of Kyle Voissem

*** FOR MOST RECENT UPDATE, PLEASE SCROLL TO BOTTOM***

In early October 2011, Byron (pictured above) was scalded by boiling hot water for urinating on the floor by his owner Kyle Voissem , a student (gymnastics) athlete at the University of Illinois at Chicago.  Sadly, Byron suffered 2nd and 3rd degree burns but did not receive medical treatment until several days later when a neighbor tipped off the Anti-Cruelty Society, who later alerted authorities.  Kyle was not arrested with misdemeanor charges until December 13 and his story then spread like wildfire via The Huffington Post, CBS Chicago, Chicago Tribune, and of course social media outlets such as Facebook and Twitter.

This is a photo of Byron during his recovery.

(courtesy of the Anti-Cruelty Society)

While a petition is available online via Change.org to upgrade Kyle’s misdemeanor charge to a felony, since I live only a few blocks away from  Kyle, I’ve joined my community in fighting for UIC to take action, especially since Kyle is a student athlete.   Not only am I a taxpayer for this public university but I’m also part of the UIC community as a non-student because I live (along with Kyle) just across the street from campus.

The UIC/Pilsen neighborhood is a community of animal lovers.  Of course, there’s no way to monitor what happens behind closed doors but when you hear a neighbor commits animal cruelty (or cruelty to any other) and makes headline news then it definitely hits home.  While students come and go, the true residents of UIC/Pilsen stay for many years creating a family-friendly, animal-loving neighborhood.  Therefore, I urge you to please take a stand with us.  If our justice system does not charge Kyle with a felony then we can jeopardize his college education, a privilege that so many take for granted.

Please contact the following faculty and athletic department members and let them know that his behavior will not be tolerated.  Also included in the list are the IL State’s Attorney and President of the NCAA.  Although the NCAA does not oversee the UIC gymnastics team, UIC is still a proud member and hopefully the NCAA does not want their name included in Byron’s story and/or Kyle’s cruelty charges.

Who to contact:

Director, Illinois State’s Attorney: Patrick Delfino at pdelfino@ilsaap.org

UIC Vice President for Academic Affairs:  Mrinalini Chaffa Rao at meenarao@uic.edu

UIC Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs: Lon Seth Kaufman at lkaufman@uic.edu

UIC Associate Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs/Dean of Students: Linda Deanna at ldeanna@uic.edu

UIC Assistant Dean of Student Conduct: J. Malcolm Smith at jmalcolm@uic.edu

UIC Director of Athletics: James W. Schmidt at jschmidt@uic.edu

UIC Men’s Gymnastics Head Coach: Charles Arthur Nelson at cnelso4@uic.edu

National Collegiate Athletic Association President: Mark Emmett at memmett@ncaa.org

While Byron recovered successfully and was able to be re-homed, Kyle’s court date is set for 9am on January 26, 2012 at 3150 W. Flournoy, Rm #43-2 in Chicago*.   Both animal-lovers and the UIC/Pilsen community hope to get Byron’s story nationwide attention until then.

In the meantime, please see the links below regarding more about Byron and his journey:

Byron’s YouTube video

For Byron’s Sake

Change.Org Petition to charge Kyle Voissem with a Felony Animal Cruelty

Facebook Page: Byron’s Pain

* Court date info subject to change.  This post will be frequently updated as more details emerge *

UPDATE AS OF JANUARY 27, 2012:

Yesterday on January 26, Kyle Voissem’s original misdemeanor charge for animal cruelty was formally and officially upgraded to a felony charge for aggravated cruelty.  His bond was set at $100,000 and felony court date is February 2.

I would like to extend thank yous to everyone who shared this story and signed the petition on Change.org.  All the attention this cruelty case received definitely did not go unnoticed in the Illinois State’s Attorney’s Office.  Not only is this justice for Byron but also for ALL animals abused, as well as humans.  When it comes to cruelty towards an animal, child, or any other being, the justice system does not discriminate.  Cruelty is cruelty.  Even a stellar college athlete from the middle of nowhere Wisconsin has the capabilities of a felon.   As citizens, it is our moral obligation and civic duty to NOT allow this behavior to be ignored.  It is too easy to just turn your shoulder and walk away.  But it takes strength and courage to physically take action and make sure justice is served.

The greatest things about animals are that they don’t have egos, don’t experience self-pity, and don’t dwell on the past.  They are instead resilient, forgiving, and loving companions if treated the same by humans.  Therefore, it is only sweet justice that Byron is now happy and healthy with his new family while Kyle has a very long and difficult road ahead of him…in prison.

Other than 911, here are tips from the ASPCA to report online cruelty

Chicago Tribune’s Report on the Upgrade of Charges

Please continue to share this story because even though Kyle was suspended from the UIC Athletic Department, he is still listed as an active student at UIC, a public, tax-payer funded university.   It would be in UIC’s best interest to dismiss him and set an example.  If a student is aware that his/her education can easily be taken away if they commit a felony then it would make sense that a student would be LESS likely to commit a felony, right?  If a student has obvious anger management issues that result in abusive, cruel behavior then s/he is more likely to react again, if not addressed.   UIC has the chance to prevent campus violence therefore it would be wise to address the issue now.  Kyle does indeed have a right to a college education but then it should be privately funded with therapy.

UPDATE AS OF FEBRUARY 2ND, 2012

Today was Kyle Voissem’s preliminary hearing for the felony charge of 1 count of aggravated cruelty, where he denied pouring hot water on Byron.  He claims he only splashed or flicked the hot water.   Based on the testimony of the arresting officer, in mid-October the officers showed up at Kyle’s apartment a few times but Kyle was never home. On October 18 officers arrived when Kyle was finally home.  It is speculated that Kyle already knew at this point the officers were looking for him and had put a shirt on Byron to hide the wounds.  Instead of the previous 1 count of aggravated cruelty, there are now 2 counts of aggravated cruelty added to the felony charge because Kyle denied vet care.  Kyle’s next court date is set for February 28 at 2650 S. California, Chicago IL.  Time and Judge TBD.

UPDATE AS OF MARCH 26TH, 2013

About these ads

40 responses to “Byron’s Story – Animal Cruelty Case of Kyle Voissem

  1. Thank you for everything you are doing!! Bless you…

  2. I know Kyle very well, used to be in my car pool for many yrs to and from gym, before college. I was devastated to hear of what he did. As a dog lover (we have 3) I want to sign the petition but having a history with Kyle, knowing some devastations that he has been through I cannot. I do hope that he gets psych counseling for anger management or something. I do supper what you are doing

    • I appreciate your comment and honesty. As everyone else, we all are human and have our own story and/or reason why we lash out sometimes. However, it should never be an excuse. That is why I hope to pressure UIC administration and athletic department to take action. Kyle clearly has anger management issues (for whatever reasons) that need to be addressed before his anger escalates and causes harm to another, whether human or animal.

      • I would just like to expand on this initial comment by cjm. I too know Kyle the and past struggles he has undergone, however, I made the decision to sign the petition. My reasons are as follows: Kyle is not the only person to have ever lost a parent due to illness or other circumstances. This unfortunate event in his life, in my opinion, should not have grounds to be an excuse for his horrid behavior towards a defenseless being. I too have lost family members that meant the world to me, but I certainly don’t go around abusing and neglecting animals or people, for that matter, because of past tragedies. One would think that witnessing a loss of life would bring about a greater appreciation for the fragility that encompasses it, rather than a total disregard for it.

        I will agree that Kyle clearly needs help from a professional and I whole-heartedly hope that he does so he can become mentally well again.

  3. he also breached contract in that agreement not to abuse the animal sue sue sue there has to be some lawyer willing to do it……

  4. I am mostly angry that Kyle did not seek Vet Care for Byron, if this is true for one week. That poor dog must have suffered tremendously. Who does that? I do get sick every time I think of that poor dog. To me this in itself warrants at least a class A misdemeanor, which I believe the penalty is a bit stiffer. I am also curious as to how the whole thing unraveled, who reported the incident? There were other animals on premise, how are they? He won’t get them back or will he? Does anyone know the law?

    • That is what is very hard to handle, if he had ANY remorse, he would of taken Byron to the vet….. I have been told that it was a neighbor who made the tip off, I’m not sure how they new, unless Byron’s cries were heard down the street. =[ He ha other dogs in the home, Japanese Chin and a Mini Schnauzer, they were also pulled from the home. There are multiple allegations against the abuser that I do not know more details about..

    • Kyle is a criminal justice major, he knows the law and consequences. No excuse or history is good enough to forgo a punishment suitable to a week or more of torturing a living being. Sadly excuse after excuse is made for ofenders young and old. Kudos to the neighbors and folks that rescued Byron, and for the publicity.

  5. It’s very important that we take a firm stand against animal cruelty in whatever form it occurs. Thank heavens for the responsible neighbor whose actions enabled Byron to finally get the treatment he needed. Whether this particular case requires legal or mental health interference, we don’t know, not being privy to the details of the incident – I just hope for the best in the future for Byron and others like him. That said, you are right, something needs to be done to prevent further injury to another animal or human. Kudos to you for taking action on this issue!

    Thank you for blogging and being the change for animals!
    Kim Thomas
    BtC4Animals.com
    CindyLu’s Muse

  6. My God, the horror that this beautiful little soul, Byron, has experienced is absolutely nauseating. What a horrid, sadistic thing to do. The person who did this is an obvious sociopath, no doubt in my mind.
    I am so grateful to you and your community for doing all you can to punish and send a clear message to that young man. Thank you, thank you, thank you. God be with your efforts and thank you for being such a strong voice for Be the Change for animals!
    On a much, much lighter note, I do LOVE your banner with all the dogs!! Very cool! Please visit my blog anytime, I’d love to hear from you.

  7. Youre so cool! I dont suppose Ive learn anything like this before. So good to seek out any person with some authentic ideas on this subject. realy thank you for starting this up. this web site is one thing that is wanted on the internet, somebody with a little bit originality. useful job for bringing something new to the internet!

  8. No-one does this without serious mental issues..we all get pissed and I have cleaned many accidents but I have NEVER reacted this way to the many pee-pee accidents my animals mY have had..or my kids for that matter..it starts with animals and ALWAYS ends with people. ALWAYS! This poor baby did not deserve this…I am sorry Kyle..but you need to be prosecuted to full extent of the law.

  9. As an Illinois alum (urbana) I am appalled!!! This person should be prosecuted to the fullest extent!!! these animals FEEL for God’s sake!!! I will make my voice heard on the issue!!! Thank you for bringing light to the situation.

  10. Kyle should have Boiling Hot Water poured on Him ! Then he would Actually Feel the Pain He Caused “Byron” ! Animals give unconditional love . Their eyes and tail show their emotions , They are their for you no matter what . Justice should be done to this person in a heavy charge . He should be band from ever owning a god given creature ever again.

  11. How painfully horrible it must have been for this poor dog to spend days with 2nd and 3rd degree burns. He should be charged with a FELONY and NEVER be allowed to have another animal. He should also be banned from attending this school.

  12. That poor dog! So much pain caused by someone’s own hands. Our hands were not created to do such harm. Thank you so much for your work on this, I will gladly sign the petition.

  13. Hi Everyone! I just wanted to inform you that I attended Kyle’s hearing today and he was officially charged with a felony! He was escorted out of court, cuffed, and in custody until his felony hearing next week. His original misdemeanor charge was upgraded to a felony because the cruel act was intentional and aggravated AND he showed absolutely no remorse. He most likely will cop a plea rather than let this go to trial. I hope to attend his next court appearance and will keep you all posted! Thank you again for reading and sharing Byron’s Story because this not only was justice for Byron but also for ALL animals victimized by heartless humans.

  14. Brilliant! Thanks for your efforts and follow up.

  15. since he is in the cook county jail till next week i hope the prisoners who are dog lovers throw scaulding hot water on him, and the uic gets some balls and expells this psyco idiot….And I hope he gets a long prison term and does not get offered a plea…SCUMBAG

  16. I am glad that Byron is in safe hands and on his road to recovery. As for Kyle too bad we can’t save the taxpayers money that is pent on prosecuting him and just tie him down and burn him by throwing boiling water on him repeatedly! By doing this the money that was saved can be given to the good people over at the Anti-cruelty!

  17. I am VERY GLAD Kyle is going to see his day in court. He deserves to be locked away for a very long time. I don’t give a shit what he has been through. THERE IS NO EXCUSE TO ABUSE AN ANIMAL. If anyone is defending this heartless creature, you, youself need your head examined! The only thing that caused this person to be so cruel to that dog is he is evil and deranged inside and out! If he has that kind of temper and that type of mentality, he needs to be controlled in an 8×10 cell where he can no longer hurt any thing or any one. PERIOD!

  18. It will be a sheer miracle if this idiot survives his next term at UIC if he doesn’t get expelled. I am sure his any dog fans who reads about his actions will take some sort of “action” against him if they seem him wandering around campus.

  19. Kyle does not deserve to become a police officer or a lawyer. While his actions may have been impetuous, the fact that he did not seek any care for Byron after injuring him, allowing him to suffer with severe burns says more about Kyle to me. He not only acted cruelly on impulse but allowed the suffering to continue. In fact he may not ever have sought help for Byron as I understand it. It was a neighbor that got help for Byron. He should be expelled from UI. He should serve time, the maximum. He should Never, Never, Never be allowed to have an animal, he should never procreate either. Animal abuse translates to violence on humans also.

  20. Thanks for your continuing updates and monitoring of this heartbreakingly heinous abuse… and for advocating on Byron’s behalf by your presence in the courtroom hearings.

    While it is tragic to learn that the abuser suffered hardships in his life, those experiences can in no way excuse this horrific abuse, and should not mitigate his punishment in any manner.

    Criminal justice would appear to be “off the table” as far as he’s concerned, just as the “pre-med” program was, for that Michigan abuser who repeatedly adopted and slaughtered innocent Italian Greyhounds from area shelters… also in irrational, uncontrollable anger after his puppy urinated on the bedroom floor…

    ( just one of many related articles: http://www.lansingstatejournal.com/article/20110729/NEWS01/107290338/1002/NEWS01 )

    A senior at UI, it is my belief that he should be denied the award of a degree in “Criminal Justice” for violating every precept that degree program espouses – unless UI believes that actually BECOMING a criminal is a requisite and obligatory component of that curriculum?

    It is heartbreaking to watch the many, many videos of this precious companion as a young puppy, with his first adopters (so trusting, so hopeful, so full of life and eager to learn… to please…) knowing the fate he ultimately suffered at the hands of this miscreant:

    Until such time as ALL crimes against these precious souls are prosecuted as felony-level offenses.. AND commensurate sentencing of significant incarceration and recompense IS ENFORCED… we will continue to hear of such terrible tragedies.

    Thank God dear Byron has recovered, and is happily living the life that he was always entitled to by virtue of his birth, with protective, appreciative, loving parents in his new “forever home”!

  21. This person is no longer a student at University of Illinois at Chicago. I received this from one of the individuals listed above:

    “From the outset the campus administration has shared your concern in this serious matter. UIC is committed to the ethical and humane treatment of animals. UIC also respects the presumption of innocence and the due process of law for any person accused of a crime.

    Mr. Voissem is no longer a student at UIC.

    While federal student privacy laws prevent us from commenting on any educational matter of record for an individual, for your reference the UIC Student Code of Conduct is online at http://www.uic.edu/depts/dos/docs/Student%20Disciplinary%20Policy%202011-12%20Final-1.pdf.

    Thank you for your concern and taking the time to comment.”

  22. what a sick person. there is absolutely no excuse for this kind of bahaviour and it will only lead to abuse towards children and the elderly. period.

  23. Maximum punishment please……this was a heinous act!!

  24. I have cried for Byron.I hope they give the creep the maximum punishment they can.God Bless you little one.No one has a right to hurt the innocent.EVER!

  25. This hurts me so much. The love and trust in a dogs eyes ..this man is without compassion.there are no words to describe this vile man. Like Michael Vick, who got such a kick out of controlling dogs that were forced to fight until death. Vick served a slap on the wrist, was accepted back in the NFL, and people actually cheer him. Shame everyone didn’t just get up &leave when he came out on the field. Now, he actually owns another dog, after whining that his kid wanted one so badly. Isn’t it amazing how an animal can be scalded & severe pain and still wag his tail & show love in his eyes. God bless everyone who helped Byron. It’s the judges that need to be pushed in these animal cases.

  26. so did this guy go to jail and serve time???

  27. I can’t believe this guy has an active Facebook page. And, it seems, a girlfriend. What kind of person would date someone who did this to a dog?

  28. Pingback: Justice for Byron and all other animal victims | PAWSITIVE CHANGE

  29. Christine Rigs

    Please be sure to remind everyone of the judge’s name come election time. People forget and it is very hard to get a judge voted out.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s