Patterico's Pontifications

2/9/2009

Friend of Patterico Gets Favorable Write-Up in L.A. Times

Filed under: Crime,Dog Trainer,General — Patterico @ 11:12 pm

Hey look! It’s our buddy Debbie Knaan in the pages of the L.A. Times!

From a small office on the 18th floor of the downtown criminal courthouse, Deputy Dist. Atty. Deborah Knaan oversees all of the district attorney’s prosecutions for animal abuse.

A former manager in the city’s Department of Animal Services, Knaan offers advice to prosecutors about animal cases and organizes training programs for prosecutors and police officers on identifying signs of cruelty and neglect. She has also written a proposed law that Los Angeles County Dist. Atty. Steve Cooley is sponsoring to ban people convicted of animal cruelty from owning pets for up to life.

A former manager in the city’s Department of Animal Services, Knaan offers advice to prosecutors about animal cases and organizes training programs for prosecutors and police officers on identifying signs of cruelty and neglect. She has also written a proposed law that Los Angeles County Dist. Atty. Steve Cooley is sponsoring to ban people convicted of animal cruelty from owning pets for up to life.

During a recent interview, Knaan sat behind a desk adorned with a photo of herself cuddling her three dogs — Ziggy and Spice, her two Jack Russell terriers, and Elmo, a Dachshund-Chihuahua mix — and spoke about the need to protect animals.

“They cannot talk. They cannot get away. . . . They’re totally vulnerable,” she said. “It’s our huge obligation to them to take care of them.”

Last year, Knaan filed felony cockfighting charges against Israel Ramirez, marking the first time the district attorney’s office had treated cockfighting as a felony since state lawmakers changed the law in 2006 to allow prosecutors to do so for repeat offenders.

Ramirez, who had three prior convictions for cockfighting-related offenses, had been arrested at his home in South Los Angeles in the middle of what police said was a contest, or “Derby Day.” Officers seized about 50 roosters and numerous knives used to attach to the birds’ spurs for fighting.

Knaan said Ramirez charged spectators $20 each to watch the fights and sold them sandwiches and beer. “It was a real moneymaking sporting event,” she said.

Mrs. P. and I have known Debbie for years and it’s a pleasure to see her get a nice write-up. Mrs. P. was especially pleased to see Ziggy, Spice, and Elmo make the paper.

Debbie recently got a much-deserved promotion. Because she has a notorious reputation as a practical joker, I thought it would be funny to call her up and tell her that the administration had decided to reverse her promotion. I actually pulled it off for about 60 seconds, until my conscience got the better of me . . . I just never thought she’d actually buy it.

Congrats to Debbie for getting a rare favorable and fair mention from this rag of a paper.

By the way, read the article for some examples of truly evil, awful people. People who are deliberately cruel to innocent animals are like people who hurt children. They’re more awful than the average criminal.

10 Responses to “Friend of Patterico Gets Favorable Write-Up in L.A. Times”

  1. Jesus. H. Christ.

    I’m sure someone will say that animal welfare felony prosecutions are a waste of resources that could be dealing with the sort or skells that hurt people. But, folks, go read the article. These soulless bots that Ms Knaan is putting away are the sort of skells that hurt people. They’re just warming up on defenseless animals.

    A puppy for crying out loud. This guy was PO’d at his bimbo girlfriend so he beat her puppy to death’s door. Unfortunately, he will get out of jail. And the story mentions that the girl is coming back to him?!? There is something in the water in LA. Fortunately a few, like our host, have a natural immunity to it.

    Kevin R.C. O'Brien (d30966)

  2. In at least most states (and maybe in all), the maximum authorized penalties for even the most protracted, horrific, nightmarish acts of animal cruelty are fairly low, considering the depth of the evil manifested in those acts. And the maximum authorized penalties aren’t imposed anywhere near as often as they should be. What is with the people who write these laws and the people who’re supposed to be enforcing them? Why don’t they get how serious this is? Do they just not have pets? I can’t see that being the reason. But why, then?

    Alan (551a6d)

  3. Not that I’m criticizing Ms. Knaan. I’m not.

    Alan (551a6d)

  4. Alan and all —

    I’ve thought about that same discrepancy, and my conclusion (for what little a layman’s opinion is worth) is that having higher potential penalties in a world full of Rose Bird wannabee judges would result in many people getting longer sentences for abusing animals than they’d get for doing the same to humans, which strikes me and perhaps most people as inverted.

    I have no idea what the space cases that become judges think, or the cretins who become legislators, but I’ve lost any faith that the US and State Justice Systems correlate to small-j justice in any material way. There are a lot of people in the system doing their best, but the outcomes seem wretchedly random.

    Kevin R.C. O'Brien (d30966)

  5. Debbie: Thank you for the work you do. You serve the innocent animals; you help those of us who could never face the realities of your desk.

    Vermont Neighbor (ab0837)

  6. Greetings:

    Do you really think that having an avowed zealot guiding criminal prosecutions is a good idea?

    11B40 (4ccdb3)

  7. Do you really think that having an avowed zealot guiding criminal prosecutions is a good idea?

    Yes.

    Scott Jacobs (a1c284)

  8. “They’re more awful than the average criminal.”

    Absolutely. There’s something monstrous about someone who would deliberately hurt a trusting, helpless creature.

    “What is with the people who write these laws and the people who’re supposed to be enforcing them? Why don’t they get how serious this is?”

    From what I’ve seen, they see this only as an issue of value of life, and ignore the more disturbing issue: That people who do these things also do horrible things to human beings.

    rightwingprof (fbb932)

  9. 11B40: No, let’s give the job to someone who’s totally indifferent about it.

    Alan (551a6d)

  10. Debbie is not a zealot, avowed or otherwise. She cares about animals, to be sure — and as more than one commenter has pointed out, that’s a good thing. I care about the victims on my cases too. It doesn’t mean I can’t exercise sound judgment.

    Debbie was a DDA before she joined the Department of Animal Services. Then she came back to the office. She’s not simply a bureaucrat who decided to become a DDA.

    Patterico (fe55dd)


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