Charges Dismissed In Case In Which HES Says 2 Labs Killed Horse

  • Monday, June 5, 2023

A charges were dismissed on Monday in General Sessions Court in which a Soddy Daisy man was charged with the Humane Education Society (HES) on allegations that his two silver Labrador retrievers killed a neighbor's horse.

Attorney Gary Humble, representing David Carl Bennett, 66, of Quiet Trail, said, "These charges never should have been brought."

He said, "I represent Mr. Bennett in connection with the charge of 'Dog at Large' brought against him by the Humane Educational Society. The charges concerned an incident occurring on March 17 in which the Society alleged that Mr. Bennett's two Labrador Retrievers had attacked a neighbor's horse, resulting in its death.

"Mr. Bennett appeared in the Hamilton County General Sessions Court this morning before Judge Lila Statum. The judge dismissed all charges. All court records regarding this matter are in the process of being expunged."

The former federal prosecutor also said, "There were actually two citations charging misdemeanor offenses: No. 2336 dated March 27 and a second, No. 2337, dated May 13. Mr. Bennett was due in court on May 19 on the first citation, but was orally advised in front of witnesses by the agent that the Humane Educational Society was dismissing that citation; he should tear it up and need not appear in court on May 19. On May 19, coincidentally, Mr. Bennett received the second citation with a June 16 court date.

"The second citation was never filed with the court. Although the first citation was supposed to be void, the agency did not tell the court. When Mr. Bennett did not appear in response to the first citation on May 19, a bench warrant was issued. When Mr. Bennett learned of the warrant, he immediately turned himself in at Silverdale, where he spent 12 hours in custody on a misdemeanor charge that the Society had agreed to dismiss."

HES officials did not comment.

The HES citation said the Bennetts' silver Labs, named Walter and Huey, were allowed to roam in an incident on March 17. A complaint says at around 1 p.m. the dogs went over to 613 Coleman Cemetery Road.

The report says they "began chasing a horse and getting the horse down and injuring a horse to the point of having to be euthanized."

Mr. Bennett's wife, Patty, earlier said, "We are guilty of letting the dogs get out of their pen, but I'll never believe those pups killed a horse."

She said on the day of the incident that an officer of the HES came to their door along with the horse owner, who is a nearby neighbor.

Mrs. Bennett said they went with them to the neighbor's pasture. She said the horse, which she said was standing, "was so torn up that I cried. It was pathetic."

She said the neighbor said he found the injured horse with the dogs nearby. He took a picture of the dogs and the horse.

Mrs. Bennett said the horse was around 30 years old and the Labs around 15 months at the time.

Mrs. Bennett said she believes the injuries were caused by coyotes that she said are very prevalent in the rural area where they live. She said, "They are very, very populated here at the foot of the mountain. They will come up in your front yard."

She said that day her husband was given a citation to court. She said later the initial officer and another individual came to their home and told her husband to "tear up" the citation. She said the officer at the time agreed that it was not likely the injuries had been caused by the dogs.

However, she said later her husband got a call from a deputy saying there was a warrant out for his arrest. Mr. Bennett then went to the Silverdale Jail to get booked. He spent 12 and a half hours in jail and then had to pay to bond out.

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