ILNews

Dog attack justifies battery charge

Jennifer Nelson
January 1, 2007
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Commanding an animal to attack a person can justify an aggravated battery charge under Indiana statute, ruled the Court of Appeals today.

In Shaquita Gilbert v. State of Indiana, 49A02-0606-CR-448, the Court of Appeals affirmed Gilbert's conviction for aggravated battery, a Class B felony under Indiana Code 35-42-2-1.5. Gilbert appealed, saying there is insufficient evidence showing she caused the injuries that brought on the aggravated battery conviction. Gilbert commanded a pit bull in the home where she lived to attack Veronica McAtee.

The facts of the case show Gilbert had a hostile relationship with McAtee. When McAtee showed up at the house where Gilbert was staying to drop off medication, Gilbert attacked her. Gilbert repeatedly punched McAtee and told the pit bull, "Get'er. Get'er. Sic. Sic. Get'er. Get'er." The dog latched onto McAtee's arm while Gilbert sprayed McAtee with mace and beat her with the empty can. Gilbert also yelled for the dog to kill McAtee; another person living in the house had to get the dog off of McAtee.

As a result of the attack, McAtee had swollen eyes, a black eye, bite marks on both arms and feet, and her right hand and arm suffered nerve damage to the extent that she now has no feeling in three fingers.

Gilbert was found guilty of criminal recklessness and aggravated battery and given a 10-year sentence with two years suspended to probation. She appealed the ruling, arguing the dog caused the most serious injuries and her own actions only caused McAtee's bruising and swollen eyes.

Not only did Gilbert command the dog to attack McAtee, she made no attempt to remove the dog from McAtee and encouraged the dog to continue to bite McAtee. The Court of Appeals cited several cases that determined dogs could be deadly weapons when used as such by a human. If a defendant uses a gun to injure someone, the courts would not find insufficient evidence to convict someone because the gun, rather than the defendant, killed or injured the victim, Chief Judge John Baker wrote for the majority. If a defendant incites and encourages a dog in an attack, it is logical and justified to hold the defendant responsible for the injuries.
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  1. Family court judges never fail to surprise me with their irrational thinking. First of all any man who abuses his wife is not fit to be a parent. A man who can't control his anger should not be allowed around his child unsupervised period. Just because he's never been convicted of abusing his child doesn't mean he won't and maybe he hasn't but a man that has such poor judgement and control is not fit to parent without oversight - only a moron would think otherwise. Secondly, why should the mother have to pay? He's the one who made the poor decisions to abuse and he should be the one to pay the price - monetarily and otherwise. Yes it's sad that the little girl may be deprived of her father, but really what kind of father is he - the one that abuses her mother the one that can't even step up and do what's necessary on his own instead the abused mother is to pay for him???? What is this Judge thinking? Another example of how this world rewards bad behavior and punishes those who do right. Way to go Judge - NOT.

  2. Right on. Legalize it. We can take billions away from the drug cartels and help reduce violence in central America and more unwanted illegal immigration all in one fell swoop. cut taxes on the savings from needless incarcerations. On and stop eroding our fourth amendment freedom or whatever's left of it.

  3. "...a switch from crop production to hog production "does not constitute a significant change."??? REALLY?!?! Any judge that cannot see a significant difference between a plant and an animal needs to find another line of work.

  4. Why do so many lawyers get away with lying in court, Jamie Yoak?

  5. Future generations will be amazed that we prosecuted people for possessing a harmless plant. The New York Times came out in favor of legalization in Saturday's edition of the newspaper.

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