Teacher Found Not Guilty of Starving Cats to DeathPosted by Scott Heiser, Director of ALDF's Criminal Justice Program on April 8, 2010
Congress Middle School teacher Allison Dinsmore of Palm Beach County, Florida was facing felony charges of animal cruelty for allegedly abandoning her two cats for weeks, leaving them to die horrible deaths by starvation in her apartment. Dinsmore reportedly cited her busy work schedule, long commute and a camping trip as reasons for her failure to see to the cats’ needs (she had essentially moved out of the apartment and had been staying elsewhere). Seeking information as to unpaid rent, Dinsmore’s property manager discovered the cats’ bodies and notified authorities on February 23, 2009. The school district initially suspended her teaching duties – with pay – pending the outcome of the criminal case, but later announced that they would not be renewing her contract.
On April 2, 2010, a jury found Allison Dinsmore not guilty of felony animal cruelty. Despite the outcome in the courtroom, the public outcry over the Dinsmore case was a testament to our society’s ever-increasing judgment that the responsibility of animal care is a grave one, and that our children especially must learn compassion from our example. Get involved by finding out what humane education resources are available, and making sure that your community is aware of them.