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Man Convicted of Puppy Abuse, Domestic Violence Soon Being Released From Santa Barbara Jail

Immigration detainer remains in effect for Duanying Chen, a Chinese citizen, so ICE officials plan to take custody after his local release

Hundreds of locals participated in a “Justice for Puppy Davey” march through Santa Barbara in July, protesting the one-year jail sentence handed to Duanying Chen.
Hundreds of locals participated in a “Justice for Puppy Davey” march through Santa Barbara in July, protesting the one-year jail sentence handed to Duanying Chen. (Gina Potthoff / Noozhawk file photo)

A man convicted of abusing his girlfriend and her puppy so badly it had to be euthanized will complete his Santa Barbara County Jail sentence next month and could be deported upon release, authorities said. 

Duanying Chen, a Chinese citizen, was sentenced to one year in jail after pleading guilty to felony animal cruelty and assault charges, which involved abusing his girlfriend and her puppy.

The charges against Chen resulted when Santa Barbara police responded to a local veterinary clinic on May 14, 2014, where personnel treated the 5-month-old male Doberman pinscher puppy for broken bones, infections and burns over 80 percent of his body.

Police determined that Chen had tortured the puppy, which eventually had to be euthanized because of its injuries.

Chen had assaulted his girlfriend weeks earlier, strangling her until she nearly lost consciousness after a heated argument, police said.

Chen was 19 at the time of his arrest. 

Santa Barbara Superior Court Judge Brian Hill handed down Chen’s sentence in June, to the dismay of animal advocates who maintained that the sentence was too light considering the extent of the abuse. 

Prosecutors on the case had also lobbied for a seven-and-a-half-year prison sentence for the crimes.

Several protests of the sentencing were held, and Santa Barbara sheriff’s deputies were assigned to conduct extra patrols for Hill’s protection.

(Duanying Chen)

An online petition has been circulating by a group called “Davey’s Voice,” calling for the sheriff’s department to make Chen serve his full sentence, participate in a batterer’s intervention program and be deported upon his release.

The petition had nearly 7,000 supporters as of Friday.

Deputy District Attorney Kevin Weichbrod, who prosecuted the case, explained that just because Chen isn’t released 365 days from when he was sentenced doesn’t mean he hasn’t served a full term.

Under state statutes, inmates are given credit for good behavior in custody and work time as well as credit for time served before trial, he said.

The credits can work out to a two for one situation, where an inmate sentenced to a year could spend 180 days in actual days in custody, because of the good time/work time credits that all California jails must adhere to, he said.

“Under the law, (Chen) is serving the sentence,” he said.

The Santa Barbara Sheriff’s Office has no intention of releasing Chen earlier than required by law, said Kelly Hoover, department spokeswoman.

Hoover explained that Chen has received credit for good time and work time, which makes him eligible for release on Dec. 20.

“Unless he has refused work or violated jail rules, he is entitled by law to receive the good time and work time credits,” she said.

“The Sheriff’s Office does not have the authority to interfere with that application of law.”

Hoover also said that the Sheriff’s Office isn’t involved in the deportation process.

An immigration detainer lodged against Chen remains in place, confirmed Lori Haley, spokeswoman for Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE.

“A detainer requests that local law enforcement notifies us before (the suspect is) released to the streets, so that we can take custody for possible administrative (immigration enforcement),” she said.

Before his Dec. 20 scheduled release, Chen must also appear in court Dec. 2 to review the domestic violence portion of his case.

Chen will appear in Hill’s courtroom to make sure he is meeting the terms of the batterer’s intervention program to which he was sentenced, Weichbrod said.

Noozhawk staff writer Lara Cooper can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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