Gah, Damian definitely ranks among the worst trainers ever. Any guy who would abandon his pokemon like that so cruelly is horrible. I don't want to criticize too much because I once released a ralts because it was pretty useless in battle at early levels, but I've learned since that ralts can grow into pretty uber-powerful gardevoirs. Needless to say, I've never released a pokemon again. Not even my disobedient onix, which is sitting in Crystal and will probably never be called on again. I blame myself for that one, though.
Anyway, this episode makes me wonder if Damian's treatment of charmander had any influence on how he treated Ash before "Charizard Chills". It's not that I think he didn't trust Ash, but I can't help wondering. It could have been his personality, too, since Squirtle was also possibly abandoned but he never gave Ash trouble.