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Puppy Abuser’s Release Spurs Anti-Animal Cruelty Draft Bill, Davey’s Law

Despite an outcry from the Santa Barbara community and beyond in the form of a petition with over 12,000 signatures, convicted animal abuser Duanying Chen was released from Santa Barbara County Jail Friday, Dec. 18, 2015, into the custody of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and is being detained at an ICE facility for further processing. 

Chen is deemed to have served his full 365-day jail sentence despite having spent only half of this time incarcerated due to the provisions of California Penal Code 4019, which awards a 50 percent earned time credit.

Sheriff Brown’s office confirmed that the Sheriff has no discretion in Chen’s early release, and according to one dissenter, his release comes far short of what he deserved.

“I don’t think there is a great enough punishment for despicable crimes such as these against the helpless and the voiceless," Diana Basehart, founder of Diana Basehart Foundation said. "This is the moment we have to finally make a difference. We all know animal abuse leads to human abuse. It doesn’t stop with animals. It starts there.”

Davey’s Voice, a nonprofit organization established in honor of brutally tortured Puppy Davey and in order speak out for defenseless animals everywhere, is working on a draft bill to propose to lawmakers, Davey’s Law.

Davey’s Law is in the process of being coined in conjunction with the Animal Legal Defense Fund and others with the aim of strengthening the animal cruelty law in California.

It is hoped that the proposed draft bill will be submitted by local lawmakers to the Office of Legislative Counsel for consideration. 

The proposed draft bill aims to prevent offenders like Chen convicted on charges of animal cruelty from enjoying a 50 percent cut in the jail term announced in open court.

“The Davey/Chen case vividly highlights the lack of justice for the voiceless victims of barbaric animal cruelty in California," said Gretchen Lieff, founder of Davey’s Voice. "California sentencing practices produce confusing and unjust results leaving this State’s citizens misinformed about the true period of incarceration a convicted animal abuser actually serves."

According to Lieff, Davey's voice hopes to send a strong message to the public that abusing defenseless, dependent animals will not be tolerated in California by working with local lawmakers.

State Assemblymember Das Williams said, “It is hard to see how the portion of the sentence served was enough considering the sadistically cruel nature of the crime. Therefore, we must work to ensure that people who exhibit brutal and inhumane behavior, as in this case, are held to an appropriate level of punishment.

"My office is discussing this issue with stakeholders and experts to determine what actions can be taken to provide a greater level of accountability for perpetrators of animal cruelty,” Williams said. 

Former Los Angeles anti-animal cruelty prosecutor Bob Ferber of Last Chance for Animals said, “Animal abuse is not just a crime against animals. It is a crime against civilized society. We are proud to join with Davey’s Voice in changing California laws to increase jail and prison sentences for convicted animal abusers.” 

For more information on Davey’s Voice, visit www.daveysvoice.org.

Patti Teel represents Davey's Voice.

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