Lakenheath airman admits to killing dog
August 26, 2006
BURY ST. EDMUNDS, England — A 48th Security Forces airman pleaded guilty Friday to killing his dog and dumping its bloodied carcass in his recycling bin following an argument with his wife.
Senior Airman Dustin Yandell, 21, entered the plea Friday morning at the Bury St. Edmunds Magistrate’s Court. He will be sentenced Sept. 18 and faces a maximum penalty of six months’ incarceration or a $9,100 fine.
Yandell who was reassigned to administrative duties at RAF Lakenheath following his July 1 indictment, listened quietly in the courtroom as a prosecutor from the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA) laid out the facts of the case. He offered no reason why he killed the dog.
Michael Taylor told the three magistrates how Yandell took the labrador, named Goldie, to the bathroom of his Newmarket home and slit its throat while it was in the bathtub. Taylor also told the court how Yandell misled RSPCA investigators about his involvement in the dog’s slaying.
“He lied to investigators,” Taylor charged. “And he tried to conceal evidence.”
RSPCA investigator Jason Finch, who spoke to reporters before the trial, said he could not have charged Yandell had it not been for the confession the airman made to Air Force Office of Special Investigations detectives.
RAF Lakenheath officials and OSI agents have cooperated with the RSPCA throughout the probe, Finch said. Yandell, meanwhile, has been less than a willing participant in the investigation.
“He lied to me,” Finch said. “He basically said it wasn’t his dog. Then he said the dog was stray and had gotten away.”
Yandell, who was clad in an all-black outfit similar to what he wore at his initial court appearance, sat quietly throughout the reading of the evidence, including when Taylor read from a report compiled by a University of Edinburgh veterinary professor that said the dog “suffered severe pain and distress.”
Finch said Yandell’s case is the most egregious case of animal abuse he’s investigated in his seven years with the RSPCA.
“We don’t experience many cases of actual cruelty, it’s more neglect or ignorance,” he said.