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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?

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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.

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