Recent dog attack cases continue trend toward stiffer charges & sentencing
From ANIMAL PEOPLE, April 2003–
Benjamin Moore, 28, of Richmond, California, who left
neighbor Shawn Jones, 10, for dead after Moore’s three pit bull
terriers mauled Jones beyond recognition in June 2001, was sentenced
on March 14 to serve six years plus eight months in federal prison on
a plea bargain for possession of cocaine with intent to sell. Moore
will not be prosecuted for Jones’ mauling because no applicable
charge would carry a stiffer sentence than he received on the drug
Michael L. Petry, 21, of Canton, Ohio, could get five
years in prison after pleading guilty on March 17 to felony child
endangerment for leaving three adult pit bulls and six puppies
unrestrained in the house he shared with the mother of a 13-month-old
child. The child was severely mauled. His mother faces the same
charges as Petry.
Also in Canton, Ruth A. Garaux, 38, pleaded guilty earlier
in March to felonious endangerment for allowing her four dogs,
including a pit bull mix, to run free. The dogs mauled a
Another Canton defendant, Kelli L. Rhynes, 26, drew 58
days on house arrest for failing to restrain his pit bull. The dog
escaped from a pen and mauled an 11-year-old boy.
Wayne Hardy, 24, of Elroy, Wis-consin, is to go to trial
on April 28 for being a party to homicide resulting from a vicious
animal and felony reckless endangerment, for the fatal mauling of
Alicia Lynn Clark, 10, on Valentine’s Day 2002. Six Rottweilers
tore Clark apart in a 15-minute attack. Hardy and codefendant Shanda
McCracken, 32, not yet scheduled for trial on the same charges,
were not home. McCracken’s 11-year-old daughter Melissa was unable
to save Clark. Hardy, who has prior felony convictions, could get
up to 72 years in prison. McCracken could get a maximum of 38 years.
Penny Whipple Kelly, mother of dog attack victim Diane
Whipple, and Whipple’s companion, Sharon Smith, in December 2002
accepted an undisclosed cash settlement from Marina Green Properties
Inc. and Rudolph and Annette Koppl, managers and owners of the San
Francisco apartment house where Whipple was killed in January 2001.
Smith donated her portion of the settlement to charities favored by
Whipple. Kelly and Smith have suits pending against attorneys Robert
Noel and Marjorie Knoller, who were convicted of manslaugfhter after
their two Presa Canarios attacked Whipple.
Michael Dean Caldwell, 40, of Las Vegas, in November 2002
drew five years on supervised felony probation from Superior Court
Judge James Dorr of Barstow, California, for owning a dog who was
trained to attack. Caldwell and Gilbert Garcia, still facing
charges, were co-owners of a pair of pit bull terriers who fatally
mauled Cash Carson, 10, in April 2000. The dogs were left with
James Chiavetta, 54, who started a four-year prison term for
manslaughter in May 2001, but died in May 2002.