This Sunday, a vigil will be held at 1:00 p.m. at the Sunken Gardens to honor a 5-month-old puppy that was abused to death last May and to advocate for stiffer penalties for those who hurt animals. A silent march down State Street will follow.
The vigil will be led by Diana Basehart, president and cofounder of the Diana Basehart Foundation, which works to provide financial relief to struggling Santa Barbara residents with veterinary care needs. “We are marching to call attention to the horror of violence,” she said. “True and lasting change can only be achieved in a law-abiding manner.” Chris DeRose, an animal activist and winner of the Courage of Conscience International Peace Award, will also speak.
The puppy, named Davey, was burned, beaten, and tortured by Duanying Chen last year. Despite attempts to save him, Davey eventually succumbed to his injuries. Chen pleaded guilty to felony animal cruelty charges and was sentenced to one year in county jail with five years’ probation.
Citizens of Santa Barbara and animal-control officers, who said treating Davey was the hardest case of their careers, pleaded with Judge Brian Hill for the maximum sentence possible of seven years and six months in jail.
A Davey’s Law website has been created in order to raise awareness about animal abuse and to petition legislators to create more effective laws regarding animal cruelty. The website allows users to report incidents of mistreatment and is in the process of creating a database of known animal abusers.