Case Snapshot
Case ID: 11781
Classification: Burning - Caustic Substance
Animal: dog (non pit-bull)
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Thursday, May 17, 2007

County: Loudoun

Charges: Misdemeanor
Disposition: Convicted

Defendant/Suspect: Hashin L. McGee

Case Updates: 2 update(s) available

Hashin L. McGee, 29, of Ashburn, was arrested June 16 on animal cruelty and arson charges for allegedly setting a dog on fire in the Ashburn area.

On May 17, the Sheriff's Office dispatch requested assistance from Loudoun Animal Control for a dog that had been severely burned, Laura Danis, spokeswoman for the county's Department of Animal Care and Control, said.

The dog was still alive when Animal Control arrived, so it was transported for treatment to TLC Animal Emergency Hospital, where it was later euthanized because of the extent of its injuries, Danis said.

An arrest warrant was issued for McGee May 18, charging him with the Class 6 Felony of animal cruelty and the Class 4 Felony of burning personal property worth more than $200. McGee was apprehended and arrested June 16, Danis said.

The investigation is still ongoing, said Danis and Loudoun County Fire Marshal Keith Brower.

McGee and the dog's owner lived at the same address, Danis said, but she did not have any further details on their relationship.

McGee will appear in court July 18 for a preliminary hearing.

Dale Bartlett, deputy manager for animal cruelty issues for the Humane Society, has sent a letter to Loudoun County Commonwealth's Attorney Jim Plowman concerning the case.

In the letter, Bartlett states that the dog was a small female named Lala. The owner arrived home to find the dog had been set on fire; third-degree burns covered her body.

"We are particularly concerned about this case because of the extreme nature of the alleged abuse," Bartlett wrote. "Deliberately setting a dog on fire is an action that speaks of a dangerous and malicious mindset that most certainly presents a danger to the community.

"The connection between cruelty to animals and violence against people is well documented, and without serious intervention, people who abuse animals are far more likely to be violent against people. Evidence of this can be seen in the profiles of convicted violent criminals, most of whom share a background of animal abuse."

Bartlett goes on to ask Plowman to "pursue a full prosecution" against McGee and seek "significant jail time," a "mandatory ban on keeping or owning companion animals" and "mandatory psychological counseling" in his sentence.

"We feel these measure are crucial in order to protect the community from further violence and to send a message that animal cruelty is a violent crime that will not be tolerated in Loudoun County," Bartlett said.

Case Updates

Although this defendant has been sentenced, officials may still benefit from receiving community feedback regarding the outcome of the case.

Alejandra Hammack
Commonwealth Attorney Office
20 East Market Street
Leesburg, VA 20176
Phone: 703-777-0242
Fax: 703-777-0160

J. Frank Buttery, Jr.
General District Court
18 East Market Street
Leesburg, VA 20176
Phone: 703-777-0312
Fax: 703-771-5284

Tips for Effective Letter Writing:
Source: Loudon County District Court
Update posted on Aug 22, 2007 - 10:41PM 
Hashim L. McGee has been released on probation after pleading guilty in Loudoun County General District Court last week to animal cruelty charges for setting a 3-year-old pit bull on fire.

The dog, Lala, was euthanized because of injuries sustained in the May 17 incident.

Judge Frank Buttery sentenced McGee to 12 months in jail, but suspended 11 months of the sentence. Because McGee had already spent one month in jail, he was released with a warning that if he were to violate any terms of his 11-month probation, he would be taken back into custody to serve the remainder of his sentence.

Additionally, McGee is prohibited from owning or living with companion animals for the rest of his life, and he must undergo mandatory mental health counseling.

According to The Humane Society of the United States' Deputy Manager of Animal Cruelty Issues Dale Bartlett, McGee faced charges of burning personal property and felony animal cruelty, but he entered a plea agreement July 19. He pleaded guilty to misdemeanor animal cruelty charges, which carry a lesser sentence than the felony charges. The burning of personal property charge was not prosecuted.

"One month in jail is an awfully light sentence for the violent crime of burning someone's pet, and we are disappointed that felony charges were not applied. We are pleased, however, that the court banned Mr. McGee from owning or living with animals and ordered him to undergo mental health counseling," Bartlett said Tuesday. "In all, this sentence is light on justice but much stronger on protecting the community against further violence."

According to Loudoun County Animal Care and Control spokeswoman Laura Danis, the incident occurred late in the afternoon on May 17. Animal control officers received a call from the Fire Marshal's Office, asking them for assistance at the scene where a dog had been severely injured. When deputies and animal control officers arrived, McGee was nowhere to be found. Lala was discovered with third-degree burns all over her body and was transported to the Animal Emergency Center for treatment, but shortly thereafter was euthanized.

Several days after the incident, McGee turned himself in to the Fire Marshal's Office, Danis said previously.

The dog belonged to a woman, who lived with McGee in Ashburn, but the relationship between McGee and the woman is unknown, Danis said Tuesday. It is also unclear why McGee set the dog on fire, as it was never discussed during the July 19 hearing. But, Danis said the department and the Fire Marshal's Office is continuing to investigate the incident.

"I can't get into too many details about it," she said. "We're still investigating the case to ensure that anyone else who was involved will be charged as well."
Source: Leesburg Today - Jul 24, 2007
Update posted on Aug 19, 2007 - 12:01AM 


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