Man gets 10-day sentence in drug, dog-walking case Jail term stayed as attorney appeals

August 02, 1996|By Larry Carson | Larry Carson,SUN STAFF

A last-minute appeal saved Scott Theodore Eckrote from spending this weekend plus four more in the Baltimore County jail for two drug convictions and walking his dog from a moving car.

Judge Barbara Jung sentenced Eckrote, 25, of Reisterstown to two years of supervised probation, fined him $750 and suspended all but 10 days of jail terms totaling 18 months.

The weekends in jail were specifically for failing to get medical care for Eckrote's dog, Barkley, after the animal's paws were bloodied and rubbed raw when he was dragged behind Eckrote's car last fall.

Defense attorney Leonard H. Shapiro called the judge's action "a terrible decision" and said that "her interpretation of the statutes is strained at best." He filed an appeal immediately after the sentencing in Towson District Court, which stayed the jail term.

Shapiro argued that Eckrote did not intended to harm the dog and that he had "walked" the Chesapeake Bay retriever from his car many times without incident. Eckrote should not be criminally liable for the dog's accidental injuries, he said.

Jung said in court that Eckrote's attitude was "more 'I'm-sorry-for-this-big-mess-I've-gotten- myself-into' " than regret for any injury suffered by his dog.

She allowed the dog to remain with Eckrote, however, reasoning that the two had been back together for more than eight months since the highly publicized arrest Nov. 16 at Eckrote's Pikesville apartment, where marijuana was found.

"I do apologize for what I did that night to my dog," the defendant told Jung. "I didn't want to hurt the dog at all. It was a stupid thing I did that night."

Shapiro argued that Eckrote "is probably the best pet owner in the state right now" and that his client leaves work to go home to care for Barkley, who he said loves Eckrote.

"That's the thing about pets," Jung said. "You can abuse them, spit on them, and they'll love you no matter what."

Shapiro argued that "we should be as sympathetic for Eckrote as we are for Barkley" because the young man has been forced to move, has paid heavy legal bills and has been the object of "hysteria" generated by "media hoopla-lunacy."

Prosecutor Daniel Bernard Trimble pointed out that Eckrote, a mortgage company loan officer, was given probation before judgment in 1992 for drug possession. Trimble sought jail time for Eckrote's "clearly outrageous actions" and "apparent lack of remorsefulness."

Pub Date: 8/02/96

Baltimore Sun Articles
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.