Karen B. London
Print|Email|Text Size: ||
Does The Punishment Fit?
Accused animal beater ordered to work at SPCA

Derrick Chambers allegedly beat his Miniature Pinscher to death with a pipe. Authorities found the dog in a garbage bag in Chambers' truck less than an hour before the dog died. Chambers has been charged with multiple counts of animal cruelty.

The defense requested that the case be dropped if Chambers agreed to volunteer 50 hours of community service at the Maryland SPCA, and the judge agreed to this offer. Aileen Gabbey, executive director of the Maryland SPCA will deny this volunteer service. She says this action is based on the fact that it is their job to protect the animals in their care, and that because of the violent nature of the case, they do not want the accused man near their animals.
Caroline Griffin of the Animal Abuse Task Force expressed frustration that Chambers will not be prosecuted. She also said that there are better options than putting a person who has been violent towards animals with animals.
Officials of the state say there is not enough evidence to convict Chambers, especially in light of evidence that his behavior was a result of serious bites by the dog to his wife and to himself. They also say that police failed to read Chambers his Miranda rights, which would make a conviction impossible.
Without access to the facts of the case, include specifics of the conduct of the police etc., it’s hard to know whether a conviction is likely or even possible. I do, however, feel very comfortable taking a stand against assigning community service with animals to anyone accused of violence towards them. What’s the justification for putting MORE animals at risk?


Karen B. London, PhD, is a Bark columnist and a Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist specializing in the evaluation and treatment of serious behavior problems in the domestic dog.

iStock photo

CommentsPost a Comment
Please note comments are moderated. After being approved your comment will appear below.
Submitted by Carolyn | September 23 2010 |

I agree. Pedophiles are not assigned to community service with children ... same principle should hold for animal abusers.

Submitted by Anonymous | September 23 2010 |

Carolyn, I agree with you. This is ridiculous!! If that poor baby was human, this person would have been sent to jail!! He should NEVER be allowed around or near any animals EVER!!!

Submitted by Margaret Duclos | September 23 2010 |

makes no sense to me. I was just discussing this whole thing yesterday with friends. one friend made a great point about the success of programs involving animals to rehabilitate violent offenders, such as the programs in prisons where the inmates train shelter dogs, or socialize kittens, and violent youth programs working with animals etc. the success of those programs is only partially because of the animals, the other driving force is the *formally trained* people who work with the inmates to rehab them psychologically. sentencing a man who killed his EIGHT lb dog by BEATING it to death for biting him & his wife, to a measly 50 hrs community service, at an average shelter with zero resources to help educate and rehabilitate this man, simply because the man's defense attorney thinks the man did nothing wrong and wants the entire case dismissed with NO punishment, makes ZERO sense, is very unsafe, a ridiculous idea, and is down right INFURIATING. this man needs to be psychologically evaluated, and he needs to pay for the wrong he committed.

this is the article I read btw: http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/maryland/bs-md-animal-cruelty-shelter-2...

in it the attorney says:
"'The dog goes nuts on him,' Cohen said. 'Yes, he did hit the dog a lot and unfortunately the dog is deceased as a result of that…. But this guy likes animals. He's not a crazed maniac. The dog would just not let up.'

Cohen said he thought that the arrangement to have Chambers work at the Maryland SPCA was a good compromise. 'I was trying to think what would make everybody happy,' he said. 'In a perfect world I'd like the case dismissed.'"

I think the attorney makes it quite clear that he believes the dog deserved it and that this man reacted appropriately. THIS is what is so infuriating to me about this case. This man, who is obviously clueless about proper animal care, is the one who conjured up this backwards idea of community service at the SPCA.

Submitted by Ann | September 23 2010 |

Well said Carolyn, I agree 100%.

Submitted by Mary | October 20 2010 |

My question is what did the man and his wife do to make the dog bite them in the first place? If the man was truly an animal lover like the lawyer claimed, he would have trained and treated the dog better to begin with, and he would have reacted differently to being bitten.

More From The Bark

Karen B. London
Karen B. London
Karen B. London
More in Karen B. London:
Packing to Move
Movies and Breed Popularity
Matching Names
Circadian Rhythms
Amazing X-Rays
Back to School
A Dog in Front and a Dog Behind
Resembling Our Dogs
Favorite Facial Expressions
Handler Stress Improves Dog Performance