Man banned from having pets, gets 6 months in prison for killing dog

A Port Orange man was sentenced to six months in county jail and banned from owning pets for life for beating a dog to death.

Brian Lee Batson, 59, did not contest animal cruelty for fatally beating Buddy, a 16-year-old rat terrier and Jack Russell terrier mix. The dog belonged to Batson’s girlfriend at the time.

Batson was arrested on July 30, 2020. Police found blood on his clothing, the dead dog’s body in the backyard, and what appeared to be a tooth from the dog on a car hood.

Circuit Judge Raul Zambrano sentenced Batson on Monday to 180 days in jail followed by 3.5 years probation. Batson received 63 days credit for time served.

The judge found Batson guilty, which means he will be a convicted felon.

Zambrano also banned Batson from owning pets for life.

Cruelty to animals is punishable by up to five years in prison. But the state’s sentencing guidelines did not call for a jail term against Batson. That’s because Batson didn’t score enough points on the guidelines, which take into account various factors, such as criminal history.

Other than that case, Volusia County court records contained no other arrests for Batson.

Batson pleaded openly, meaning there was no agreement on the length of the sentence with prosecutors.

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The attorney general’s office requested a sentence of one year and one day in jail, according to spokesman Bryan Shorstein. Since Batson did not score jail time on the guidelines, the judge should have made special findings to send him to jail.

Shorstein said prosecutors were happy with the judge’s sentence.

“He’s being punished for what he did to that animal,” Shorstein said. “The court recognizes that these are serious cases.”

Deputy Public Defender Stephanie Park said she requested probation and no further jail time.

“I should have had a lot more”

Debbie Darino, an animal rights activist, said she would have liked to see Batson receive at least a year in prison due to the dog’s injuries.

“I think he should have gotten a lot more than that considering he put that dog down,” Darino said.

She praised the work of the state’s attorney’s office on the case.

Darino said Batson should have received a sentence as long as that of Travis Archer, who was sentenced to a year in prison for beating the dog Ponce to death.

Darino has led the push for Ponce’s Law to increase the likelihood that those convicted of animal abuse will be sent to prison.

The law also allowed judges to ban offenders for life from owning pets, as the judge did in Batson’s case.

Said Darino of Buddy: “This dog was beaten as badly as Ponce. It really was.

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