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Santa Barbara Man Sentenced to Jail, Probation in Animal-Cruelty Case

A Santa Barbara man will spend a year in jail and five years on probation after pleading guilty to felony animal cruelty and assault charges, which involved abusing his girlfriend and her puppy, which later had to be euthanized.

Duanying Chen

Santa Barbara Superior Court Judge Brian Hill handed down Duanying Chen’s sentence this week over objections from Santa Barbara County District Attorney Joyce Dudley, who said Tuesday that her office didn’t offer a plea bargain in the case.

Chen pleaded guilty as charged on May 19 to four felony counts and one misdemeanor count, including two felony charges of animal cruelty, felony assault by force likely to produce great bodily injury, witness dissuasion and violating a court order.

Dudley said Chen also admitted a special allegation of personally using a deadly weapon — a utility lighter — to burn his girlfriend’s Doberman pinscher puppy.

Chen was remanded into custody at the County Jail, where he will serve 365 days in addition to completing a one year batterer’s intervention program, paying restitution to the veterinary clinic for treatment of the puppy, and adhering to an order to not have contact with any animal, Dudley said.

“Chen is not allowed to have in his possession or care any animal for a period of 10 years,” she said in a statement. “The prosecutor for the District Attorney’s Office argued for the maximum sentence in this case of seven years, six months (in) state prison.”

The charges stem from May 14, 2014, when Santa Barbara police responded to a local veterinary clinic, where personnel treated the 5-month-old male puppy for broken bones, significant infections and burns over 80 percent of his body, Dudley said.

“Davey was humanely euthanized while surrounded by the veterinary staff who spent weeks attempting to rehabilitate him,” she said. 

Police determined that Chen had tortured the puppy and also assaulted his girlfriend weeks earlier, strangling her until she nearly lost consciousness after a heated argument.

Sgt. Riley Harwood said Chen told his girlfriend that the puppy had been injured in a fall from the top of a ping pong table. He was arrested and taken to the County Jail.

“After his arrest, Chen attempted to have his girlfriend fabricate and destroy evidence in an effort to thwart the criminal prosecution,” Dudley said. “This was an outrageous act of a coward who brutalized a vulnerable woman and a helpless animal. I can only hope his time in jail will help him understand just how despicable his criminal actions were.”

Noozhawk staff writer Gina Potthoff 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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