Prosecution for Maryland Dog Freezing to Death
State of Maryland v. Selvin Robin Gnanakkan
The Animal Legal Defense Fund funded the necropsy of an elderly dog named Oscar, who died sometime between December 30, 2017, and January 1, 2018, when he was kept outside of his owner's home in Baltimore County, Maryland, in 20-degree weather.
Defendant plead guilty
The Animal Legal Defense Fund funded the necropsy of an elderly dog named Oscar, who died sometime between December 30, 2017, and January 1, 2018, when he was kept outside of his owner’s home in Baltimore County, Maryland, in 20-degree weather. His owner, Selvin Gnanakkan, claimed Oscar died of old age. The necropsy proved Oscar died of hypothermia, and the death was preventable. This crucial evidence was used to prosecute Gnanakkan.
In December 2018, Gnanakkan entered an Alford plea to one count of animal cruelty. He was sentenced six months of unsupervised probation, a $500 fine, and a $2,260 payment for forensic veterinary services. Gnanakkan was also barred from possessing animals (possession ban) for three years — a key victory.
In the wake of Oscar’s death, public outcry led to the Baltimore County Council to pass Oscar’s Law which requires pets be brought inside within 30 minutes after the onset of “adverse environmental conditions” — and clarifies that animal control officers and police officers have the ability to investigate claims of animal cruelty.
Who is being sued, why, and under what law? Selvin Gnanakkan, for animal cruelty
Why this case is important: It is illegal to cause a companion animal to freeze to death in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. The Animal Legal Defense Fund’s expert animal cruelty attorneys work closely with local police and prosecutors’ offices to get neglected and abused animals the justice they deserve.
The Animal Legal Defense Fund announced that a settlement agreement has been reached with the Animal Kingdom pet store in a high-profile lawsuit over a puppy laundering scheme to unlawfully circumvent the California "retail pet sale ban" — a law that bans the sale of dogs from commercial breeders, commonly called puppy mills.June 17, 2020 Press Release
This week, the Superior Court of California in Solano County found the owner of California Carolina Dogs, a puppy mill located in Vallejo, liable for violating the Polanco-Lockyer Pet Breeder Warranty Act following a lawsuit filed by the Animal Legal Defense Fund on behalf of Caru SPCA.June 3, 2020 Press Release
In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic and mounting criticism of the dog meat trade from Chinese citizens, the national government of China has issued draft guidelines to reclassify dogs from “livestock” to “companion animals.”May 20, 2020 Animal Law Update
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