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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 Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist and Certified Professional Dog Trainer whose clinical work over the last 17 years has focused on the evaluation and treatment of serious behavioral problems in dogs, especially aggression. Karen has been writing the behavior column for The Bark since 2012 and wrote The Bark’s training column and various other articles for eight years before that. She is an adjunct professor in the Department of Biological Sciences at Northern Arizona University, and teaches a tropical field biology course in Costa Rica. Karen writes an animal column, The London Zoo, which appear in The Arizona Daily Sun and is the author of five books on canine training and behavior. She is working on her next book, which she expects to be published in 2017.

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