Former “NYPD Blue” screenwriter Ted Shuttleworth, 51, is now part of a case that could easily end up on an episode of show. He seems to have answered Det. Danny Sorenson’s question “Where’s a good homicide when you need one?” Shuttleworth has been arrested after punching his poodle in the face on May 29th so hard that it died of a brain injury.
Notably, it was Shuttleworth who took the dog to the veterinarian, who was suspicious and called the police on the traumatic brain injury. The ASPCA took Lola’s remains for a necropsy before the charges were brought. Shuttleworth could be looking at as much as a year in jail.
Self-defense does not appear an option. See People v. Wicker, 357 N.Y.S.2d 5897 (Town Ct. 1974). Lola, the poodle weighed only four pounds. Shuttleworth is 230 pounds.
Cases of these kind often raise the question of when physical punishment of a pet is excessive. Owners are allowed to hit their pets, but obviously not kill them or seriously injure them. Statutes often refer to “cruelly beaten or unjustifiably injured” to qualify the level of prohibited force.
There is a felony provision under NY Code – Section 353-A that does not appear to have been charged here:
A person is guilty of aggravated cruelty to animals when, with no justifiable purpose, he or she intentionally kills or intentionally causes serious physical injury to a companion animal with aggravated cruelty. For purposes of this section, “aggravated cruelty” shall mean conduct which: (i) is intended to cause extreme physical pain; or (ii) is done or carried out in an especially depraved or sadistic manner.
The fact that Shuttleworth brought Lola to the veterinarian probably played a big role in mitigating the charges.
Source: Washington Post