Large man charged with beating small dog at Ashmont T station

Coco the dog

UPDATE: Bail set at $1,000, judge barred Webb from having anything to do with animals while case is pending, Coco in care of Boston Animal Control, per Suffolk County DA's office.

A man already charged once with attacking his dog - and facing charges of attacking people with whom he was living in Natick - was arrested at the Ashmont Red Line station yesterday for allegedly beating the dog with a leash.

Transit Police report arresting Michael Webb, 26, around 6:45 p.m. on a charge of animal cruelty after somebody called 911:

Witnesses informed the officers while on the southbound platform Webb used his dog's leash and began to viciously whip and beat the animal about its body.

Police say the initial two officers who responded had to radio for help because Webb is 6'7" and approximately 300 lbs. and "suggested the officers needed more than two officers to take him."

Police say a Boston animal-control officer also responded and took the dog, named Coco, to the city animal shelter in Roslindale.

Last summer, the Suffolk County District Attorney's office charged Webb with animal cruelty for abusing Coco. According to the DA's office:

On Sept. 20, prosecutors in the Boston Municipal Court recommended a guilty finding and sought one year in the house of correction, with that term suspended for two years during which he would undergo an anger management program and not abuse Coco. Judge Michael Coyne continued the case without a finding for six months, ordering no abuse of Coco or any other animal.

The ruling meant that if Webb stayed out of trouble for six months, the charge would be dismissed.

But about two months later, Natick Police reported arrested Webb on assault-and-battery charges after he allegedly attacked a man and woman who'd been letting him stay in their home. Police said they had to use a taser on Webb when he tried to attack officers during booking. A judge in Natick initially ordered held without bail because of the Boston case.

Innocent, etc.

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Comments

Outrageous lack of sentencing and conditions

By on

A CWOF is outrageous! i saw this when i worked at a court house myself. its hard enough to protect animals from this kind of circumstance and abuse. To have been caught red handed and to have this charge in the past he absolute should have been given a sentence and conditions of both treatment as well as the condition that he is not allowed to have another animal!

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Voting closed 46

Totally agree! He clearly

By on

Totally agree! He clearly couldn't stay out of trouble- does that mean he can now be tried/sentenced for both charges?

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Poor pup

By on

Coco looks so sad and scared. Hopefully someone who truly appreciates and loves animals will rescue this little pup and this story will have a happy ending.

I also find it truly disgusting that this guy had a previous animal cruelty charge, and is still able to have a pet. The laws and repercussions surrounding animal cruelty are basically nonexistent.

Thank you to whomever called 911 to report this incident.

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Voting closed 78

Admirable sentiment

It would be good, but I'd be interested to hear how you think this creep could be prevented from owning another dog. Do you think there should be, for example, a licensing requirement that could be enforced somehow? And that there should be an enforceable bar on an individual from purchasing a dog? I think the majority of dogs in the state are unlicensed as it is, despite current laws and fines. Perhaps better enforcement of current laws could help prevent animal abuse?

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Voting closed 8

if there were a database...

By on

if there were a database of those arrested on animal cruelty charges available to shelters, it would be pretty easy for them to cross reference.

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Voting closed 11

only problem

By on

plenty of people dont get their animals from shelters.

they get them from friends, off Facebook, steal them, etc.. especially when you're talking about people prone to criminal behavior, while its not a bad idea to have such a database, its not realistically going to prevent the worst people from having vulnerable animals in their care.

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Voting closed 4

well considering his first

By on

well considering his first charge was for abusing the same dog, presumably the system knew about this animal and at the least could have intervened to remove it from the guy's ownership. jesus christ, poor animal.

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Voting closed 14

Yes to all

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I'd even go a step further. How about a publicly searchable registry similar to the sex offender registry? I know when I adopted my dog, the company we used had a very thorough screening process, including a home visit. If the adoption companies are taking those types of steps, I'm sure they would love to have an online database to be able to know if a potential adopter has already been known to abuse or neglect animals in the past.

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Voting closed 15

What would that accomplish?

If most of the people you see with dogs are already breaking current law regarding dog ownership (e.g., registration is required, and there are more unregistered dogs than registered dogs), then what would making a new, easily ignorable law accomplish?

I know that some places that fancy themselves as adoption companies or responsible breeders (as opposed to puppy mills or the guy down the street whose mutt dropped a litter) might have very specific rules, same as some cat breeders and shelters, but those places really aren't the only place dogs come from. Believe it or not, many dogs can just... make more dogs. Just like pedigreed cat fanciers have little effect on feral cat populations, highly-screening adoption companies aren't going to have much effect on thugs with mutts.

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Voting closed 4

you're absolutely right.

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you're absolutely right. there's absolutely zero reason to do even small steps that reduce the opportunity for an abuser to get a dog from a breeder, shelter, or rescue organization. if a solution doesn't eliminate 100% of problems in one fell swoop, it's super pointless to take any action at all. fuck it.

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Voting closed 17

Moral posturing

The cheapest high around, amirite?

Feelings are easy. Legislation is difficult.

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Voting closed 10

You're being deliberately obtuse

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As has already been explained to you, while some people selling dogs or puppies don't give a rat's ass who gets them, some do. Being able to check that someone is not on a registry of animal abusers would be helpful in screening.

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Voting closed 8

Realism sounds obtuse to wishful thinkers

I find it wishful thinking that fancy breeders of the sort who require background checks to buy their dogs will find a registry of "dog offenders" to be a deciding factor more than once in a blue moon. Is that where thugs get their dogs? Any sale of a dog in Boston that's not from a shelter is already illegal anyway; imagining that an illegal dog seller would jump through such a hoop seems preposterous.

We already have laws. They are not much enforced. If we want our laws to be better, it makes more sense to start with the laws we have, both to enforce them better and to improve them.

Boston currently requires licensing of dogs. Per Municipal Code 16-1.9C, all dogs six months of age and older in the City of Boston must be registered and licensed annually with the Animal Care and Control Unit. (My understanding is that there are more unlicensed dogs than licensed dogs in the city, and that law is practically never enforced).

That law could be built on, such that a person who has been convicted of animal cruelty would not be able to get a dog license, thus making his ownership of a dog in Boston illegal. Furthermore, the law could be changed such that a dog license could be required before a person even get a dog. It's already illegal to sell a dog in Boston unless it's from an animal shelter, so there would be a limited number of organizations that have to verify dog licenses at purchase.

That could help with restriction of dog sales taking place entirely within Boston. But what proportion of dog purchases by people resident in Boston take place entirely within Boston? I think people like to drive to buy dogs in other states, where it's cheaper to run a puppy factory.

The people who don't comply with current dog buying and licensing laws can fairly be considered out of reach unless enforcement is taken to an entirely new level for everybody.

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Voting closed 4

Um, what?

By on

I find it wishful thinking that fancy breeders of the sort who require background checks to buy their dogs

Who said anything about "fancy breeders"?

Any sale of a dog in Boston that's not from a shelter is already illegal anyway

Assuming that's true, who said anything about "in Boston"?

That could help with restriction of dog sales taking place entirely within Boston. But what proportion of dog purchases by people resident in Boston take place entirely within Boston?

Who said anything about this registry stopping at the Boston city limits?

Damn, I can't believe you went to the trouble to write so much irrelevant text.

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Voting closed 4

Put up or shut up

I've proposed that existing Boston city ordinances could be modified, and enforcement in the City of Boston could be increased.

What's your proposed avenue of legal change, and enforcement?

Or are you just fantasizing?

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Voting closed 4

You're a useless dunce

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You posted a bunch of stupid strawman arguments.

I called bullshit.

Your response? "Put up or shut up".

Sorry, sonny Jim, at this point that's YOUR job.

You are manufacturing a drama and a problem. Or are you just fantasizing?

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Voting closed 3

rescues, which are not "fancy

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rescues, which are not "fancy breeders" who charge hundreds of dollars and can fund background checks, none the less care deeply about where their dogs are doing. many of them have an unofficial word of mouth set of warnings, but a list that's easily referencable would make their jobs easier.

but again, welp, DOESN'T FIX EVERYTHING, so SCREW IT.

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Voting closed 4

Escalating punishment

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I'd think an escalating punishment scheme where ever time he's found owning a dog his punishment (fine, community service, jail(?)) continues to get worse. Similar to how most punishment is handled. Of course that would rely on the judges actually punishing the guy, which, unfortunately, appears to be a tall ask.

The fact that this guy has a history and the judge ruled COWF makes my blood boil!

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Voting closed 7

It would also rely on

Some sort of authorities finding out the guy owns a dog. What's the mechanism there? Inspections? Of his house, or of all people in public with dogs? Show me your papers?

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How many Judges ride the T

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Time after time we read about kidnappers, perverts, muggers and dog beaters on the MBTA who were placed under arrest by the Transit or Boston Police only to see the cases continued without a finding or dismissed by judges who have never been a victim on the rolling asylum known as the MBTA.

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"Rolling asylum"

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*eye roll* that's a stretch. Go to Philly

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LOL @ "rolling asylum"

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Which suburb do you live in, and when was the last time you rode the T?

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Voting closed 26

We need a national animal

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We need a national animal registry that connects all states. Animals are still considered property which is part of the problem.

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that is a lovely dog

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a dog like that is of unparalleled emotional intelligence. they belong in world of love and trust. this man is not yet ready and/or may never be ready for a relationship like that. that is painful and sad.

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Voting closed 16

Let's have a three strikes law

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Convicted of three violent offenses (animal cruelty counts), get put away until you're too old to do anyone any harm.

Hmm...the 'convicted' part seems to be a sticking point. Judges around these parts don't like to do that. CWOF for hard-luck defendants, just plain letting people go if they're illegals and face deportation....

Let's have mandatory minimums and citizen-initiated recalls for judges who are operating on the mistaken blank-slate notion that everyone is capable of living as a model citizen.

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Original post updated

By on

Turns out this was the second time he was charged with animal cruelty in a case involving Coco.

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Now I'm REALLY angry

He was allowed to have Coco back AFTER abusing the dog? Whomever made THAT decision should rot in prison as well.

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Voting closed 32

So sad

I volunteer at a local animal shelter and sometimes we get a dog that is simply scared. When you approach the dog, it cowers, puts its tail between its legs, and turns its head away while still looking at you with sad eyes. It's so sad. Whenever I see this, I always wonder about what kind of life the dog has had with its previous owners.
This is why.
Poor pooch, I certainly hope they don't let this guy keep his dog, or any dog - ever.

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Voting closed 37

it is heartbreaking...

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what people are capable of doing to animals.

One of my dogs was kept in a garage by his previous owners. He was burned, and his leg was broken and never set by a vet, so his front left paw is rotated in and his elbow is the size of a softball. when we took him in, he was understandably a nervous wreck. he's come so far though, its miraculous.

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Voting closed 13

Info about dog?

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Adam, if you get any more information about the dog and what help it needs, please post. I'm hooked into a good animal rescue network (including people who have experience fostering traumatized animals), and I'm sure many people here would contribute to any shelter or organization that's helping Coco.

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Voting closed 20

Thanks for mentioning fostering

For those unfamiliar with animal fostering...
Our animal shelter has a number of pets that are with people (fosters) that temporarily care for the dog until it is adopted. This is particularly helpful for dogs that don't do well in a shelter environment. By their nature, rescue shelters are somewhat chaotic compared to a home, as much as shelters try to make it otherwise. Dogs such as Coco that are already fearful are a perfect example of a dog that would benefit with a foster home. I hope this is a possibility for Coco.

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Voting closed 8

Yes, absolutely

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I should have mentioned this, but this is why most of my friends foster. Getting a dog out of a shelter and into an environment is not just nice for the dog and a help to the shelter; it also lets the dog get some additional socialization, lets the foster family learn what the dog's needs are and what kind of environment it does well in, and gives the dog a much much better chance of finding a permanent home. I've seen some amazing changes in the dogs that they've taken in.

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Voting closed 7

Unfortunately...

As I understand things, unfortunately Coco will be held at the shelter while the case is pending. Poor guy. Some dogs are detained for months on end before they can be released for adoption.

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Definitely important matter,

By on

Definitely important matter, but it seems as if people are more worried or appalled by this situation than they are about our youth out here getting killed.

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