Well-known animal rights advocate Chris DeRose and state Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson will be speaking at the vigil and March of Mourning next Sunday, July 19, to remember puppy Davey, who died due to horrendous abuse and torture, and to protest the light sentence his abuser received from Judge Brian Hill.
The vigil will begin at 1 p.m. at the Santa Barbara Courthouse Sunken Garden, 1100 Anacapa St. Around 2 p.m., mourners will walk down State Street toward De la Guerra Plaza in a silent vigil for the innocent puppy, whose torture lead to his death. The march will be led by actress Sylva Kelegian, who has rescued hundreds of dogs, placing them in loving homes.
DeRose has been a leader in the animal rights movement, and an inspiration and consultant to countless individuals and groups dedicated to the animal cause. In 1984, he founded Last Chance for Animals, an international, nonprofit animal advocacy organization focused on investigating, exposing and ending animal exploitation.
Jackson was elected to the California Senate in 2012 to represent the 19th Senate District, which includes all of Santa Barbara County and western Ventura County.
The march and vigil was precipitated by the court case of Duanying Chen, who pleaded guilty 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.
Veterinary staff spent weeks trying to save the tortured 5-month-old puppy before he was euthanized due to the severity of his injuries. Dr. Andrea Wells of AVS Vet Clinic said it was the worst case of animal abuse she had ever seen.
Although the prosecutor argued for the maximum sentence of seven years and six months in state prison, Santa Barbara Superior Court Judge Hill shocked the community by remanding Chen into custody at the County Jail for only one year with five years of probation.
The public is encouraged to attend the vigil and March of Mourning in remembrance of puppy Davey and to protest the light sentence his abuser received. Those who take part in the event will be showing their support for the humane treatment of all animals and sending a message to judges and lawmakers; an animal’s life has value and those who abuse them deserve appropriately harsh sentences.
Organizers are also working to develop a database of animal abusers which will be available to the public and a Davey Alert to inform the public and law officials when an animal is being neglected or abused.
For more information, visit daveys-law.com.
— Patti Teel represents the Diana Basehart Foundation.