Dogs Deserve Better founder Grimes sentenced to 300 hours, $3,879 penalties

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, March 2008:
HOLIDAYSBURG, Pa.– Blair County Court Judge Elizabeth Doyle
on February 22, 2008 sentenced Dogs Deserve Better founder Tammy
Grimes to do 300 hours of community service, in a capacity helping
humans rather than animals, and to spend a year on probation, for
removing an elderly and apparently painfully dying dog from the yard
of Steve and Lori Arnold of East Freedom, Pennsylvania in September
Grimes was unsuccessful in attempting to bring a cruelty
prosecution against the Arnolds, after the Central Pennsylvania SPCA
and Blair County district attorney Richard Consiglio refused to press
the case. Grimes was convicted of theft and receiving stolen
property in December 2007.

Judge Doyle ordered Grimes to remove all references to Steven
and Lori Arnold and pictures of the dog from the Dogs Deserve Better
web site and any other places she posted it. Doyle also directed
Grimes to cease selling merchandise bearing images of the dog, and
to pay the $1,700 cost of her trial, plus supervisory and community
service fees of $1,500. Her total financial penalty, if paid,
would be $3,878.99.
“We will be appealing most if not all of the sentencing as
soon as possible,” Grimes posted to the Dogs Deserve Better web
site. “The saddest thing is that they actually seem to believe that
taking Doogie,” as she called the now deceased dog, “was a
publicity stunt and that ‘the dog was just old.’ The district
attorney was seriously ticked off that the Arnolds received
Valentines and a brochure this Valentine’s Day,” as part of Dogs
Deserve Better’s annual Valentine’s Day awareness campaign against
keeping dogs chained. “Yet at trial he insisted Dogs Deserve Better
should try to educate them,” Grimes recalled.
Ten days before the sentencing Grimes declared herself
“morally and ethically unable and unwilling to pay any fine that goes
to pay the salaries of those who use power wrongly,” and requested
jail time instead of community service, probation, and fines.
“As founder and director of Dogs Deserve Better,” Grimes
said, “I do community service virtually every day of my life. I was
performing community service the day I picked an aged and dying dog
out of the mud and got him the veterinary care he was entitled to by
“It is incumbent upon Blair County voters,” Grimes asserted,
“to remove from office anyone who by their actions or inactions
condones animal cruelty and abuse, and punishes those who seek to
help these animals. This includes Judge Elizabeth Doyle and district
attorney Richard Consiglio.”
Grimes objected that “Video evidence of the dog struggling to
get up and after-photos and video of the dog walking,” posted to
YouTube and the Dogs Deserve Better web site, “were suppressed from
the jury.”
Grimes further objected that the jury was not informed about
“jury nullification,” and therefore “knew not that they were free to
exercise their own judgment based on their consciences,” and “were
therefore railroaded into a conviction by the actions of Consiglio
and Doyle.”
Grimes had based her defense strategy on the hope of winning
“jury nullification.”
Jury nullification, according to University of Missouri at
Kansas City constitutional law professor Doug Linder, “occurs when a
jury returns a verdict of ‘Not Guilty’ despite its belief that the
defendant is guilty of the violation charged. The jury in effect
nullifies a law that it believes is either immoral or wrongly applied
to the defendant. Once a jury returns a verdict of ‘Not Guilty,’
that verdict cannot be questioned by any court and the ‘double
jeopardy’ clause of the Constitution prohibits a retrial on the same
Seeking jury nullification was a common defense strategy in
the 19th century, Linder notes, especially by juries in northern
states hearing prosecutions of people who helped runaway slaves. In
1895, however, the U. S. Supreme Court voted 7 to 2 that trial
judges are not under any obligation to inform juries of their ability
to nullify a prosecution by refusing to convict based on evidence.
In the 20th century jury nullification was used most
prominently, Linder recalls, in “some notorious cases in which
all-white Southern juries in the 1950s and 1960s refused to convict
white supremacists for killing blacks or civil rights workers despite
overwhelming evidence of their guilt.”
Subsequently, Linder summarizes, “In most jurisdictions,
judges instruct jurors that it is their duty to apply the law as it
is given to them, whether they agree with the law or not. Most
judges also will prohibit attorneys from using their closing
arguments to directly appeal to jurors to nullify the law.”
In a similar case of much lower profile, a jury in
Tuscaloosa, Alabama, in January 2007 refused to convict Alabamians
Defending Animal Rights founder Amy Giblin of third-degree theft of
property–but the major evidence was plaintiff Kirkey Wade’s
recollection of overhearing a telephone call.
“Giblin said she was disturbed to drive by Wade’s home and
see his schnauzer tied up in the yard outside with no food or water,”
summarized Tuscaloosa News staff writer Jason Smith. “Giblin said
Wade told her that the animal smelled too bad to keep inside, so she
paid nearly $400 to have the dog groomed and treated for a testicle
infection caused by matted hair. Wade testified in court that a few
days after Giblin returned the dog to him, neighbor Tabitha Johnson
asked him if she could take the dog back to the veterinarian for a
check up. Wade said he agreed, and the dog was returned to him
shortly afterward,” but then disappeared.
Wade contended that he knew Giblin took the dog because
Johnson’s husband called Giblin in his presence to tell her that Wade
wouldn’t press charges if she returned the dog. Wade testified that
he overheard Giblin say she had adopted the dog out to someone in

Print Friendly

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.