Animal Services recommends criminal charges for Labrador owner

February 22, 2020


San Luis Obispo County Animal Services officials have recommended prosecutors file animal cruelty charges against the owner of a black Labrador retriever who duct taped the dog’s eyes and mouth shut and attached part of a dead chicken to its head.

At about 9 p.m. Monday, Lynda Shoemaker was taking her dog for a walk when she discovered the Labrador retriever had wandered into her yard on or near Loma Lane. The Labrador retriever had its mouth and eyes shut with duct tape, to which there was part of a dead chicken attached.

The dog was taken to the Atascadero Pet Hospital for treatment. The Labrador is now being held by Animal Services personnel and is said to be doing well.

Animal Services conducted an investigation and determined the owner taped the dog’s muzzle and the top of its head after the Labrador attacked chickens. The owner taped part of one of the dead chickens to the dog’s head.

The owner was trying to discipline the dog and did not necessarily intend to cause suffering, said Eric Anderson, the director of Animal Services.

Nonetheless, Animal Services sent a report to the SLO County District Attorney’s Office recommending prosecutors charge the dog owner with animal cruelty and misdemeanor permitting animals to go without care. The animal cruelty charge could be filed either as either a felony or a misdemeanor.

Prosecutors are now determining whether or not they will file charges in the case.

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I am not advocating treating an animal in this manner, but the reactions do make one wonder. Where does this behavior fall in a descending list of transgressions? It is atop?

If the dog was bloodied from the escape from a chain that had a legal choke collar on it. Would that rate higher than duct tape?

If the pet was malnourished. Would that qualify to be higher up the list than chicken taping?

If the dog cowered in fear because it was regularly beaten, but without duct tape attached. Would that get you just as incensed?

Did it have wounds associated with home done castration or tail bobbing?

All things mentioned above are higher up on my list than this duct taping. Most are legal.

They are done frequently and without consequence by too many pet owners.