Thursday, February 9, 2017
Jeb, a service dog for an elderly man, was placed in animal control after a judge ruled that he would be put to death for killing a neighbor’s dog. The family could not believe that Jeb was being accused of killing, so they used a forensic technique that often helps human defendants to save their dog from death row. After sending DNA samples to be tested, the results came back and the DNA in the wound did not match Jeb’s DNA. Jeb was eventually released from custody after nine weeks, but his owners were left wondering why the tests were not done sooner. The answer is simple—dogs do not have criminal due process rights. Hopefully, this case will allow courts to reconsider making DNA analysis part of the criminal process for dogs just as it is for humans.
See Elizabeth Cohen, DNA Saves Dog from Death Penalty, CNN, February 9, 2017.