[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated:  Friday, 14 March, 2003, 10:17 GMT
Man in doghouse for stepson abuse
Curtis Lee Robin in doghouse with pet dog in foreground
Robin is outside during mosquito season
A Texas man accused of mistreating his 12-year-old stepson has been ordered to spend 30 nights in a doghouse as punishment for the offence.

Curtis Lee Robin whipped Zachary Wiegers with a car antenna, forced him to chop wood and made him sleep in a kennel outside the home he shared with Wiegers and his mother in the town of Vidor, prosecutors said.

Although the boy later recanted the doghouse allegation in two letters and Robin himself denied the claim, he did not dispute the other offences and therefore was offered a plea bargain by the judge with the choice of either 30 days in jail or 30 days in the doghouse.

Robin chose the doghouse, as he wished to maintain his job as foreman for a construction company.

He will also be held on probation for eight years and pay a $1,000 fine.

Police checks

Police investigators first interviewed the stepson in 2001, and removed him - filthy and covered in mosquito bites - from his home that August, after a neighbour reported seeing him working during a heavy rainstorm, US media reported.

Robin has begun his 30-day sentence in a two-by-three-foot doghouse in his front yard, with local police assigned to check at random times that he is in the construction.

Rain is forecast for the first few days of Robin's sentence, and local media reports said that a wet winter meant the mosquito season was due to begin early.

His lawyers argued that a grown man could not fit in a doghouse.

However Zachary's maternal grandfather, Pat Anzaldi, dismissed Robin's lawyer's attempts to improve the conditions of the doghouse.

"I know Mr Robin is very concerned with mosquito netting and weather, but my grandson was not presented with the same treatment," he told Associated Press.

He also angrily disputed his grandson's letters recanting testimony regarding the doghouse, saying he had been coerced into withdrawing his statements by his mother.

Zachary Wiegers, who now lives with his father in Florida, is said to be much happier in his new home.

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East | South Asia
UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature | Technology | Health
Have Your Say | In Pictures | Week at a Glance | Country Profiles | In Depth | Programmes
Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific