Boy, 9, accused in death of dog

Escrito por Nuria Querol i Viñas. Publicado en News in English.

Psychiatric evaluation ordered for youngster who police say beat animal to death, then set it on fire Boy, 9, accused in death of dog

Psychiatric evaluation ordered for youngster who police say beat animal to death, then set it on fire

Friday, July 01, 2005


Staff Reporter 

BAY MINETTE -- A 9-year-old boy was ordered to undergo psychiatric
evaluation this week after he allegedly beat a dog to death then set
it on fire in his neighbor's backyard, police said Thursday.

The boy, who was charged with a felony count of cruelty to animals,
reportedly struck an 11-year-old cocker spaniel in the head after he
taunted the dog, according to Police Chief Michael Rowland. The child
is not being identified because of his age, the chief said.

After the dog died, the boy set it on fire, he said.

"It's pretty horrendous the way the child attempted to dispose of the
dog's body," Rowland said Thursday. "We don't know if he used some
sort of accelerant, but the dog was pretty well incinerated."

A judge ordered the boy to undergo psychiatric evaluation and
released him to the custody of his family after a hearing in Baldwin
County Juvenile Court on Wednesday, Rowland said.

The boy left his home, walked a few houses down Hickory Street on Bay
Minette's east side and found the dog around 6 p.m. June 19 while the
homeowner was not present, Rowland said.

"The dog wasn't bothering the child," he said.

The boy picked up a 2-by-4 board with a nail embedded in it and
smacked the dog in the head several times, according to the chief.

"At least one of those blows to the head killed the dog," Rowland

At some point the boy set the dog on fire.

The owner found the dog dead and contacted police, Rowland said. Bay
Minette investigators found the dog's badly charred body in the back
yard near a trash fire, according to the chief. The boy had
apparently tried to pull the dog into the burning trash pile, but was
unable to free the animal's remains from a chain, the chief said.

"So he set the dog on fire where it lay," Rowland said.

Witnesses later led police to the boy, who was arrested the day after
the incident and taken to the Baldwin County Regional Juvenile
Detention Center in Bay Minette, the chief said. When police tried to
talk with the boy, his mother intervened and invoked the boy's right
to remain silent, Rowland said.

The boy was scheduled for another hearing, but that date was not

The "Gucci Bill," passed in 2000 as the Pet Protection Act, made it a
felony to torture or kill any dog or cat in a cruel fashion. The anti-
cruelty law stemmed from a 1994 case in Mobile in which Gucci, a chow
mix dog, was set on fire by three teenagers. At the time, the crime
was a misdemeanor, and the leader of Gucci's tormentors was sentenced
to three months in jail.

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