Lakenheath airman accused of killing, dumping dog
June 30, 2006
RAF LAKENHEATH, England — A 48th Fighter Wing airman was charged Thursday by English animal welfare authorities with killing a Labrador and dumping its carcass in the trash.
Dustin Yandell, 21, faces one count of causing unnecessary suffering to a dog by improper killing, according to the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.
Yandell became the focus of a joint investigation between the RSPCA and officials at RAF Lakenheath after a garbage man discovered the dead dog March 28 inside a recycling bin in front of Yandell’s home in Newmarket. The Labrador had its throat slit, according to the RSPCA.
Yandell is scheduled to appear in Mildenhall Magistrates Court at 10 a.m. on Aug. 7, said RSPCA spokeswoman Sophie Wilkinson.
Wilkinson said the dog’s killing had upset people in a town known mainly as the horseracing capital of the United Kingdom.
“We don’t see a lot of out and out deliberate cruelty to, as much as we see neglect toward, animals,” she said soon after the probe was launched. “This one is particularly cruel.”
If convicted, Yandell faces a maximum penalty of up to six months in jail and a 5,000-pound (more than $9,000) fine.
A 48th Public Affairs Office spokesman said Thursday that the base had not been alerted of the charge against Yandell and therefore could not release any additional information, including Yandell’s rank, unit, or whether he would face any military disciplinary action.
Yandell’s indictment comes on the heels of an order by United Kingdom base commanders that all airmen must sign a pet responsibility form.
The move was prompted by a trend in which airmen abandon their pets during a change of station or temporary-duty assignment, according to community relation advisers at RAF Lakenheath and RAF Mildenhall.