Convicted dog killer free, awaiting Air Force review of case
RAF LAKENHEATH, England — The 48th Fighter Wing airman convicted earlier this year by a British court of slashing his dog’s throat has returned to work after serving between eight and 10 weeks of his 18-week sentence.
Senior Airman Dustin Yandell, 22, of Clinton, Md., has been assigned to administrative duties with the 48th Security Forces Squadron pending an Air Force review of his status, according to an RAF Lakenheath spokesman.
Yandell served the first part of his sentence at the Norwich jail, then was transferred to a different English correctional facility. Officials at the Norwich jail declined to say where he served the second part of his sentence or exactly how long he served, citing the British Data Protection Act.
Mark Thompson, the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals’ chief investigator for East Anglia, said it’s common procedure for suspects convicted of a crime against an animal to serve a fraction of their full sentence.
Yandell became the focus of media attention across England for killing his pet dog, Goldie, in March and dumping its body in the trash. The crime occurred after Yandell had a fight over the telephone with his estranged wife, according to court testimony.
The dog was discovered by a garbage man emptying the recycling bin in front of Yandell’s Newmarket home. Officials from the RSPCA were called to the scene and began an investigation that led to Yandell’s July 1 arrest.
During his trial, an RSPCA investigator testified that Yandell had lied to investigators and tried to cover up the crime before he ultimately admitted his guilt to officials from the 48th Security Forces Squadron.
After his arrest, Yandell moved out of the Newmarket home where he killed the dog in a bathtub. He moved into a dormitory on RAF Lakenheath, which was his last known address.
Yandell, who served as a combat medic in Iraq as well as a volunteer firefighter in his home state of Maryland, dressed in all-black outfits and wore a cowboy hat to all of his appearances in English court.
English attorney Jeremy Kendall asked the three magistrates for a lenient sentence during a Sept. 18 hearing, arguing that a harsh sentence would diminish Yandell’s chances of living a full life upon his return to the United States, where he hoped to become a firefighter.
“His career in the Air Force will come to an end as a result of this offence,” Kendall said at the sentencing hearing.