A Baltimore police officer was arrested and charged with animal cruelty for beating and choking his girlfriend's 7-month-old puppy to death, MSN reported March 6.
Alec Eugene Taylor, 27, was a five year veteran of the Baltimore Police Department. On February 26, Taylor allegedly beat and choked a Jack Russell terrier named Rocko. Rocko died from his injuries.
Then Taylor sent a text message with a photo of the dog's body to his girlfriend, along with the message her dog had defecated on the carpet. For this, Taylor killed the little dog by beating it with a mop, then placing the body in an outdoor trash bin.
A necropsy done on Rocko showed the cause of death as blunt force trauma. Taylor told police he had been using a mop to force Rocki from behind a dryer, and then choked the dog to death with his hands.
Officers with Baltimore Animal Services Division were able to recovery Rocko's body, and he was laid to rest in a park.
Taylor's girlfriend contacted the police on February 28. A resident of Silver Spring, Taylor turned himself in to Montgomery County Police on March 6. He has been charged with aggravated animal cruelty, which is a felony in Maryland. He's also charged with abuse or neglect of an animal.
A representative of the Baltimore Police Department made a statement to MSN stating
"Allegations of animal cruelty are taken seriously by the Baltimore Police Department. Over the course of the last year significant emphasis has been placed on developing and training investigators to handle animal abuse incidents in Baltimore."
§ 10-606. Aggravated cruelty to animals--In general states
(1) A person who violates this section is guilty of the felony of aggravated cruelty to animals and on conviction is subject to imprisonment not exceeding 3 years or a fine not exceeding $5,000 or both.
(2) As a condition of sentencing, the court may order a defendant convicted of violating this section to participate in and pay for psychological counseling.
(3) As a condition of probation, the court may prohibit a defendant from owning, possessing, or residing with an animal.
It's a good sign that police in Maryland are taking this situation seriously, especially when cruelty to animals often crosses over to crimes against humanity.
Maryland companion animals are fortunate in that convicted abusers may be forbidden from owning or residing with animals in the future. Other states would do well to follow their example.
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