ABA Journal


Family Law

Lawyer Charged with Dog Cruelty After Police Say He Slit Pet’s Throat and Texted Photo to Wife

Nov 21, 2012, 05:08 pm CST


All I can say is thank God they didn't have any kids.

By Tyrone on 2012 11 21, 5:13 pm CST

As the proud owner of two bully breed dogs, if these allegations are true, I say the proper punishment is to neuter this guy. It's what should have happened to Michael Vick.

By ipthereforeiam on 2012 11 21, 5:55 pm CST

This is sick. Fights can get loud yet you have to be a sick guy to slit the throat of your own pet and send a picture to your wife. As #1 said I'm just glad they do not have children.

By Joshua Neuman on 2012 11 21, 7:50 pm CST

I have ZERO tolerance for animal cruelty. This makes me sick.

By StudentK on 2012 11 21, 8:00 pm CST

Why do people get so f-----g crazy during divorces? Relationships end. Have and drink and move on. What is wrong with people who take it to this level?

By violette on 2012 11 22, 12:40 am CST

violette @ 5: There is no single answer to your question. In general, a divorce is one of the most stressful events that can occur in someone's life--and it doesn't encourage rational thinking.

By BMF on 2012 11 22, 5:04 am CST

"All I can say is thank God they didn't have any kids."

At least none that have been found, No. 1.

By B. McLeod on 2012 11 22, 5:08 am CST

eye for an eye is my motto.

By k. on 2012 11 23, 6:01 pm CST

I hope they disbar this idiot. He's not fit to hold a law license.

By Cjt on 2012 11 23, 10:09 pm CST

According to public records, the divorce trial was held in May and was final in July. Had Judge Julie Palmer not taken 2 months to make her ruling, the dog would have been safely in the wife's custody in June, when he was murdered. Records also show that the wife repeatedly asked the court for custody of the dog for fear over his safety and wellbeing.

By AlabamaLegalEagle on 2012 11 24, 12:58 am CST

It is legally impossible to "murder" a dog. Murder is a form of homicide, and can arise only where a human is killed. This dog was simply exterminated.

By B. McLeod on 2012 11 24, 8:00 am CST

Tyrone: Robinson has several children from the first marriage. Apparently none were present.
B. McLeod: many things are legally impossible but they do happen.

By Abt on 2012 11 24, 2:02 pm CST

Left divorce/family law more than 25 years ago. Don't miss it; the corporate world is much more civilized. The trama of divorce makes even some of the most seemingly rational/well-balanced people completely nuts.

By Yankee on 2012 11 24, 6:28 pm CST

No. 12, "murder" of a dog never happens, as dogs are mere chattels, having in most states no greater legal protections than common beasts of the field.

Robinson's problem here is not that he executed the dog (which would have been his right as owner), but that he failed to use a method recognized by his jurisdiction as "humane." If he had taken the dog down to the vet to have it euthanized by gas or injection, he would not be charged with anything. Further, if he can get a bunch of experts to testify that the dog would have had no greater or longer discomfort bleeding out from its throat than it would have had from one of the state-approved methods, he might still walk on this charge.

By B. McLeod on 2012 11 24, 8:19 pm CST

Isn't it fun to play devil's advocate for a living?

By Abt on 2012 11 24, 9:06 pm CST

Actually I believe his act easily qualifies at least as second-degree cruelty, a class A misdemeanor, under § 13A-11-241(b), unless of course it can be proven that it was done for humane purposes (applicability, § 13A-11-246).

By Abt on 2012 11 24, 9:12 pm CST

He was potentially saving the dog several years of additional suffering from a continued life with either of the happy couple (clearly putting the beast out of its misery).

By B. McLeod on 2012 11 24, 11:58 pm CST

I'd love to see him on the news making that argument, especially if he represents himself!

By Abt on 2012 11 25, 12:21 am CST


Just to help you out. From what I see you should be aware that B. McLeod comments as a comedian.

By Joshua Neuman on 2012 11 25, 12:29 am CST

Thanks. I was hesitant to call it, because I thought maybe he was an attorney making tong-in-cheek jokes. I am not a lawyer.

By Abt on 2012 11 25, 1:57 am CST

I do have several tong in cheek trailers I filmed for my famous pantomime of "The Ant King's Barbeque."

By B. McLeod on 2012 11 26, 12:19 am CST

Interesting. I take that they are silent?

By Abt on 2012 11 26, 12:22 am CST

As is characteristic of the art form (meaning pantomime, not barbeque).

By B. McLeod on 2012 11 26, 2:20 am CST

I mean the trailers.

By Abt on 2012 11 26, 3:14 am CST

Of course.

By B. McLeod on 2012 11 26, 6:34 am CST

The dog was NOT "simply exterminated." That "lovable, loyal and innocent pet" was visciously killed.

By Walt on 2012 11 26, 2:55 pm CST

Some folks think that every situation lends itself to comedy and that their comments, neither particularly humorous nor inventive, are worthy of publication.

By Paul the Magyar on 2012 11 26, 11:49 pm CST

While other folks have no sense of humor and so are incapable of informed judgment on such issues.

By B. McLeod on 2012 11 26, 11:54 pm CST

Comment removed by moderator.

By B. McLeod on 2012 11 27, 12:06 am CST

And still others so mightily wish that they could be me that they seek to impersonate me (as No. 29 has). Sadly, their delusional minds bar them from the realization that there can B. only one.

By B. McLeod on 2012 11 27, 12:11 am CST

I've been a public defender many decades. in my experience, there are lots of pds who would balk at representing a man who abused an animal, but virtually none who would balk at representing a man who abused another man.

personally, I would balk at neither.

By defensive lawyer on 2012 11 27, 4:28 pm CST

@31 That's because, in general, people care more and more about animals the more human like they are and then the empathy completely drops off when you reach human. Several studies have evidenced this, it's odd... until you remember a lot of people are gigantic ***holes. People for some reason are okay with jerk animals because they don't have sapience.

By Mole Mountain on 2012 11 27, 5:03 pm CST

A lot of people are gigantic ***holes to be sure, especially those who are cruel cruel to animals.

By Abt on 2012 11 27, 5:15 pm CST

Slitting an animal's throat is not a cruel manner of killing. I think that might be the manner prescribed for kosher slaughter. What's potentially cruel is the impact the death might have had on the ex-wife. But wouldn't the wife have been equally distressed if the dog had been killed by a professional euthanizer? I don't know. Harassment of his wife, or vandalizing her property (the dog), sure, but animal cruelty? Guess it depends on how cleanly the throat slitting occurred. I think it's pretty clear that just killing the animal itself, with nothing more, isn't a crime.

I do know that America has not always felt this way about dogs--they used to be more just animals, as opposed to quasi-children. ONE NATION UNDER DOG is a book that chronicles out nation's recent historical progression elevating the dog out of animalness and into something else.

By defensive lawyer on 2012 11 27, 7:46 pm CST

I believe a strong case for cruelty can be made under the applicable state law, see above.

By Abt on 2012 11 27, 8:13 pm CST

felony or misd?

please articulate your case...

A person commits the crime of cruelty to a dog or cat in the first degree if he or she intentionally tortures any dog or cat or skins a domestic dog or cat or offers for sale or exchange or offers to buy or exchange the fur, hide, or pelt of a domestic dog or cat. Cruelty to a dog or cat in the first degree is a Class C felony. A conviction for a felony pursuant to this section shall not be considered a felony for purposes of the Habitual Felony Offender Act, Section 13A-5-9 to 13A-5-10.1, inclusive.

(b) A person commits the crime of cruelty to a dog or cat in the second degree if he or she, in a cruel manner, overloads, overdrives, deprives of necessary sustenance or shelter, unnecessarily or cruelly beats, injuries, mutilates, or causes the same to be done. Cruelty to a dog or cat in the second degree is a Class A misdemeanor

By defensive lawyer on 2012 11 27, 11:37 pm CST

Post no. 16

By Abt on 2012 11 27, 11:58 pm CST

I don't see anyhting in the statute about "huamne purposes'. It's only a misdemeanor if it was done cruelly or unnecessarily. We've already clarified that it wasn't cruel if it's an accepted manner of animal alughter.

And it arguably was necessary in order to harass his wife. It certainly had a purpose. The sttaute doesn't specify that the act had to be legally necessary.

Your analysis doesn't articulate how you think the facts meet the elements of the crime...

By defensive lawyer on 2012 11 28, 12:46 am CST

My argument was that the act qualifies at least as a class A misdemeanor, if you did manage to read it this time around. I would be surprised if they don't charge him with that.

By Abt on 2012 11 28, 12:58 am CST

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