Saturday, October 22, 2016

Georgia: Disgraced ex-school resource officer and accused animal serial killer Dan Peabody, pleads not guilty to felony charges

GEORGIA -- The former Cherokee County School Police officer arrested and later indicted on three felony charges for leaving a police K-9 in his hot patrol car for nearly three hours pleaded not guilty Thursday, Assistant District Attorney Rachelle Carnesale confirmed.

Daniel Peabody, a former lieutenant with 16 years of experience working for the school police department, faces two counts of aggravated cruelty to animals and one count of making false statements to law enforcement.

Peabody’s attorney David Willingham has filed a motion to quash the indictment against his client, court records show. That motion has yet to be heard.


The DA’s office submitted a motion of its own last week asking the court to clarify the conditions of Peabody’s bond after surveillance footage captured Peabody transporting a dog to the Home Depot in Canton Oct. 9.

Peabody was prohibited from making contact with animals of any kind as a condition of his release from jail, but Superior Court Chief Judge Jackson Harris modified those bond conditions in August after the former K-9 handler’s defense attorney claimed that being unable to make contact with animals caused “severe hardship” for the defendant and his family.

Harris granted the motion, but said Peabody was still prohibited from transporting dogs or being involved in any “end of life decision-making or activity regarding any domestic animal.”

According to court documents, the “video of the incident does not have sufficient resolution” to determine whether Peabody or his wife drove the vehicle to the home improvement store.

“To ensure no misunderstandings as to the bond conditions, the state seeks clarification on whether the defendant is allowed to transport dogs when he is a passenger in the vehicle,” the motion reads.

Peabody was arrested June 22 following a Cherokee County Marshal’s Office investigation into the death of K-9 Inka, a 4-year-old Beligian Malinois he lived and worked with. A necropsy determined the dog died of heatstroke and Chief Marshal Ron Hunton said temperatures outside that day reached upwards of 90 degrees.

But that investigation also raised questions about the fate of another school police K-9, a yellow lab named Dale who went to live with Peabody at his former Paulding County home after being retired from service in May 2012.

When questioned about Dale’s whereabouts, Peabody told investigators that Dale died after choking on a tennis ball in his crate, Chief Marshal Ron Hunton said.

“At first he claimed that Dale died after choking on a toy at his Paulding County home back in 2012,” Hunton said following Peabody’s arrest. “But that was not the case. What happened was that sometime in 2012, shortly after the dog had been retired from the school police, he shot and killed Dale.”

Marshal’s office investigators then exhumed the body of a dog from the Paulding County home, Maj. Jamie Gianfala said.

But the remains recovered from Peabody’s former home turned out not to be those of Dale, investigators said in July.

Instead, a forensic veterinarian determined the remains belonged to a third dog, a Belgian Malinois that was at least 10 years old and likely killed by a gunshot wound to the head.

Hunton said the exhumed dog was believed to be that of Inka’s grandmother.

(Cherokee Tribune Ledger News - Oct 19, 2016)


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