Cherokee County, Ga.: Lt. Daniel Peabody — dubbed “Serial Dog Killer Cop” by The Free Thought Project — pled guilty after being re-indicted by the District Attorney’s Office in August 2018 for animal cruelty, reported Patch.
Peabody was initially indicted in 2016 for the killing of two of his K-9 partners and one count of making a false statement, reported The Washington Post.
There were actually 3 dogs that died while under Peabody’s care. One was his then-current K-9 partner, Inka. Another was his former K-9 partner, named Dale, who he kept after she retired. Peabody initially claimed Dale died by choking on a tennis ball. However, authorities found she was shot in the head after her remains were recovered from Peabody’s backyard. The remains of a third dog was found buried in Peabody’s backyard with evidence that she, too, was shot in the head. It is presumed that the third dog was Inka’s mother.
The tragic event precipitating the investigation leading to Peabody’s eventual indictment was the death of his K-9 partner, Inka, a 4-year-old Belgian Malinois. Peabody left her in his police vehicle for 3 hours. As a result, she perished from heatstroke, according to dquick3. The temperature outside on that day was in the mid-90s.
However, at trial, the judge granted Peabody’s counsel’s motion to quash the two charges of aggravated cruelty to animal on the basis that Peabody was indicted before being notified of the indictment and without being allowed to appear before the grand jury.
Section 17-7-52 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated requires that:
Before a bill of indictment or special presentment against a present or former peace officer charging the officer with a crime which is alleged to have occurred while he or she was in the performance of his or her duties is presented to a grand jury, the officer shall be given a copy of the proposed bill of indictment or special presentment and notified in writing of the contemplated action by the prosecuting attorney. Such notice and a copy of the proposed bill of indictment or special presentment shall be provided to such officer not less than 20 days prior to the date upon which a grand jury will begin hearing evidence. (Emphases added.) OCGA § 17-7-52 (a).
The District Attorney appealed the trial court’s ruling, but lost. The Court of Appeals of Georgia upheld the lower court’s ruling. For this reason, the District Attorney re-indicted Peabody on the same charges, for which he pled guilty, as stated above.
Peabody killed 3 of his dogs — 2, intentionally, by shooting them in the head. One of those dogs was his former K9 partner, Dale. The other is believed to be Inka’s mother. Inka died from heatstroke as a result of Peabody’s negligence.
For these crimes, Peabody was sentenced to the following, according to the Patch:
36 months of probation, $1,000 fine, and 120 hours of community service. The plea agreement stipulates that Peabody may not be employed as a law enforcement officer for the duration of his sentence.
Animal abuse and neglect are no longer accepted in a civilized society. That’s why we now have laws intended to protect animals and ensure their welfare. We expect law enforcement officers to be held to a higher standard of conduct with respect to the treatment of their pets. This is especially true when the caretaker of the animal is a K-9 handler.
Peabody’s sentence is inconsistent with the severity of his offenses. Not only will he serve zero jail time, but he can one day be employed as a law enforcement officer once he has served his sentence.
Equally disturbing is that his wife, Tyler Verlander-Peabody, was also criminally cited for operating a for-profit business having to do with animals. She was operating a dog boarding and training business without an occupation tax certificate, as well as operating the business in a residential zone, in violation of the law that prohibits the operation of a business within 75 feet of residential property.
Features photos: Left, Cherokee Sheriff’s Office; Right, YouTube screenshot