Office of the State's Attorney for Baltimore City

For Immediate Release: 9/15/17

South Baltimore — Donald Yearwood  pled guilty to felony animal cruelty charges this week, and is facing six years in prison for his actions.

Assistant State’s Attorney (SAS) Wesley Corning prosecuted the case with the assistance of ASA Megan Gallo.

On November 9, 2016 at approximately 5:30 p.m., a 911 call came from a resident in the 3700 block of 10th Street stating that his daughter was visiting a neighbor in the same block when she witnessed Yearwood stomp on four three-week-old puppies heads in front of five children under the age of nine-years-old.

According to witnesses, Yearwood was sleeping in the basement of a home in the 3700 block of 10th street when he was awakened by the yelping and crying of the four puppies in the house. At the time, five children were playing with the puppies upstairs inside the home.

Upset that he could not get to sleep, Yearwood came up from the basement, grabbed the box containing the puppies, and dumped them onto the floor. He then stomped the puppies in front of the children, and then threw the dogs down the basement stairs.

The children fled the house screaming and ran to their neighbor’s house—at which time the resident called 911.

When Baltimore Police Officer Emily Neisser arrived at the crime scene, witnesses stated that Yearwood left through the back of the house with the dead puppies in a box.

Approximately two hours later, Officer Neisser responded to a call at in the 1300 block of Cambria Street— which is approximately three blocks from the crime scene. The 911 caller told the officer that her two children and another child found a box of four puppies in a dumpster located at Benjamin Franklin High School.

Animal Control responded and transported the puppies to the Emergency Veterinary Clinic, where three of the puppies were found to be deceased. The one surviving puppy was vocalizing, but showed signs of head trauma. This puppy was humanely euthanized due to concern for poor prognosis and suffering.

Yearwood turned himself into authorities. During an interview with Baltimore Detective Angelia Presberry and Sergeant Kerry Snead of the Baltimore Police Department (BPD) Animal Abuse Unit, Yearwood admitted to “throwing the puppies” down the steps, but did not admit stomping the puppies. He also admitted to dumping the puppies in the dumpster where they were found.

Luminol testing conducted at the residence where the crime occurred showed the presence of blood at the top of the stairs where the witnesses placed Yearwood as he stomped on the puppies. 

Dr. Perry Habecker, the Chief of the Large Animal Pathology Service at New Bolton Center in Pennsylvania who conducted the necropsy, opined that the injuries sustained by the puppies were not consistent with being thrown down the steps, but rather with being directly and deliberately struck in the head.

“The facts of this case are disturbing—first and foremost for its pure depravity—but secondly, for performing such a deranged act in front of children,” State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby said. “I pray that the children who witnessed this terrible crime are able to recover emotionally from such a traumatic event.”

Yearwood is scheduled to be sentenced on October 19, 2017. Additionally, he faces significant collateral consequences in Anne Arundel County due to the fact that he was on active probation at the time of this crime.

“This case serves to demonstrate once again there is a strong connection between animal abuse and other criminal activity and anti-social behavior,” said Sharon Miller, Director of Animal Control, Baltimore City Health Department. “Strict enforcement of animal protection laws protects not only the animal but the entire community.”