In November 2008, Glynn Johnson, a former L.A. County assistant fire chief, picked up a rock and beat his neighbor’s German shepherd puppy, Karley, so viciously that she later had to be euthanized. On January 26, 2010, Johnson was found guilty of felony animal cruelty and faced a maximum sentence of four years in prison. On April 2, he received instead a 90-day sentence and three years’ probation for beating Karley. He must also perform 400 hours of community service working with dogs, take anger management courses and repay veterinary bills.
Judges sometimes think that convicted animal abusers should carry out community service orders at an animal shelter – that this will somehow increase their respect for animals and the caretaker issues that are involved. It is ALDF’s position that convicted animal abusers have no place around a shelter’s rescued animals or its dedicated, often youthful, volunteers – not to mention that presenting animal care as a punishment (as opposed to a therapy) is more likely to induce resentment than compassion. Indeed, animal shelter administrations will often refuse to allow such orders to be carried out in their facilities.
Unfortunately, even in situations where there are felony convictions for heinous acts of cruelty, like Johnson’s vicious and fatal beating of his neighbors’ puppy Karley, light sentences can fail to deliver justice for animal victims and their families. While ALDF continues our work to push for tough sentencing in cases of animal abuse, you can take action now to protect yourself and your community by asking your legislator to support registries for convicted felony animal abusers like Glynn Johnson.