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 California Court of Appeals affirmed a ruling by a lower court recognizing Society for the Prevention of Animal Cruelty (SPCA) organizations’ ability to file lawsuits against entities that violate existing animal protection laws.June 9, 2022 Press Release
In a pioneering ruling issued in October 2021, a Madrid court awarded joint custody of a dog, explicitly recognizing the emotional bond between the plaintiff and the animal.April 5, 2022 Animal Law Update
On February 8, 2022, the Washington State Supreme Court issued a decision in the case State v. Charmarke Abdi-Issa, holding that animal cruelty could be designated a crime of domestic violence, and that an animal’s guardian could be considered a victim of the crime.March 9, 2022 News
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