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UPDATE: Judge Upholds Conviction of Woman Who Starved Pregnant Dog

Written by Alisa Mullins | September 9, 2014

Update: One of Angel’s owners appealed her case, but today, a judge upheld the conviction and sentenced the woman to 180 days in jail (with 170 days suspended). The judge also fined her $100, in addition to court costs, and upheld her lifetime ban on owning animals.

Originally posted on March 19, 2014

PETA’s straw-delivery volunteers see the worst that society has to offer—dogs starved for attention (and often food), sentenced to life on a chain, and surrounded by mud and garbage. Dogs with nothing more than old refrigerators, truck camper shells, or overturned barrels for “shelter”—if they have any shelter at all, even on snow-covered ground. Dogs suffering from heartworm disease, flystrike so severe that pieces of their ears have been eaten away, frostbite, broken bones, mange, and horrific injuries—all left untreated. But our staffers and volunteers still encounter situations that shock them, and that’s what happened while two of them were delivering straw in Franklin, Virginia, last year on the day after Thanksgiving. As the volunteers approached the pen in the backyard, a pit bull named Angel tumbled out of her doghouse. She wagged her tail, but that was all that she had the energy to do. No matter how hard she tried, she couldn’t muster the strength to stand or right herself, let alone walk even the few feet to her visitors. Angel the dog cruelty (1) Angel was heavily pregnant and suffering from tremors. Her spine, hips, ribs, and shoulder blades protruded sharply from her emaciated body. One of PETA’s volunteers had to crawl under the pen’s padlocked fence to get to her, since her owners didn’t know where the key was. We rushed Angel to a veterinarian who diagnosed her with advanced starvation, anemia, and severe parasite infestation. She had the lowest body temperature the vet had ever seen, from the combination of shock, the cold outdoor temperature, and her total lack of body fat. Because the vet determined that Angel was suffering and unlikely to survive even the most aggressive treatment, he recommended that she be euthanized on the spot, and she slipped peacefully away.

Angel the dog cruelty (3)

Angel the dog cruelty (4)

PETA filed charges against her owners, and on Monday, after the veterinarian testified that Angel’s debilitated condition was caused by long-term starvation and neglect and that she “would have been dead by the next morning,” the judge fined each of Angel’s owners $500 and sentenced one of them to a year in jail with 11 months suspended and the 30-day jail term to begin immediately. The other owner’s 30-day jail term was suspended. But most importantly, the judge banned both of them from owning animals, so they will never again be able to subject another dog to what Angel endured.

What You Can Do

If you ever have any reason to suspect that an animal is being abused or neglected, please check, and always report it to authorities. Don’t wait until it’s too late.

Commenting is closed.
  • CLEO CAMI says:

    situacion lamentable y triste, en necesario aplicar la ley de proteccion a los animales con mas rigor.


    Las personas maltratan a los animales porque no hay leyes fijas de tenencia responsible y justas de amparo al animal.

  • Julia says:

    At least she was able to feel love at the end of her miserable life and did not pass away on her own. I am glad she had someone with her at the end to “hold her paw”. She had such a beautiful face and would have been a wonderful friend. My thanks to those who were with her and comforted her at the end.

  • Vincent says:

    This vile man and woman should have received a far greater prison sentence. Instead, they received a token sentence for incarcerating and committing despicable cruelty to this poor dog and her pups.
    The law is kind to perpetrators and cruel to victims.

  • This terrible story has made me cry. And to think this poor little girl still wagged her tail when help came,although too late for her. The owners are sub-human and should be locked away and the key lost too. Savages,our furry babies dont need such people in this world.

  • ted furman says:

    give these dirtbags life imprisonment.

  • linda Willaby says:

    subhuman scum that owned that poor sweet dog. RIP Angel.

  • Edna says:

    This is so sad. The judge giVes them a well deserved sentence but then suspends most of it??? Pointless. This maKes me angry. No point if it’s not enforced. Not to mention. .. How are they going to enforce these people never own another dog??? Utterly ridiculous. This dog could have made some family out there happy. So sad. 🙁



  • Marilyn Rodefer says:

    This story makes me cry to think of the torture this poor dog had to endure at the hands of these horrible people. I am appalled that these monsters didn’t receive more jail time. Good thing I wasn’t the judge in this case!!!!

  • Nina says:

    On the comments below Jill King’s says it the way it is. This judge in particular should hang his robe and retire. Who needs a judge who could not even protect an aimal, just imagine what kind of protection a human being would get from him. GO HOME JUDGE
    people like you give our justice system (which is already pretty rotten) a bad name!
    10 days and $100 what a joke!!

  • andrea fry says:

    this is gross behaviour towards dog and its babies , dogs are abused every day , it has to stop , think twice before you hurt a innocent dog or animal they feel pain , bless em all

  • Paula says:

    Pitiful punishment for what was done to that poor dog & her babies who never had a chance! We need stricter laws & judges who will give the maximum punishment instead of a slap on the wrist!

  • Emma says:

    The punishment never fits the crime and what they got wasnt no where near enough. Run free Angel and play with your babies x

  • TaranTula says:

    The judge made the right decision by never letting them own a pet ever again. They deserve more jail time imo. But overall im pleased with the verdict. So sad the doggie had to die with her babies still in her tummy. I hope they held her and showed her some love before she died..

  • Donna says:

    10 days jail & $100 fine for a lifetime of torture for poor Angel & not allowed to own another animal. That will really teach them, I cannot believe these ridiculous sentences 🙁 RIP baby girl <3

  • sylvia kelly says:

    very very sad. made tears come to my eyes

  • Kim says:

    This is jsut beyond horrible. I will never understand how someone does this to an animal.. never understand.

  • Trisha says:

    I do not think the judge should have suspended the 11 months of the original sentence. The owners deliberately neglected that dog causing severe suffering to her. It was not as if the dog got out and was roaming the streets or anything….they knew where she was and what she looked like. Common decency would be to take her to a shelter if they could not or did not want to care for her…..

  • So sad for the dog passe away in the most horrible conditions & pregnant,, but so glad that savage excuse for a human getting jail time for trying to kill her pregnant dog, amen to justice is serve



  • Riene Wyatt says:

    I don’t think the 170 days should have been suspended! So this idiot owner only starved a pregnant dog 10 days worth of jail? 10 days is NOTHING!! I’m glad the judge upheld the sentence but really, only 10 days! Ridiculous!!!

  • So once again ann animal abuser gets a slap on the wrist???!!!! Just speechless…..

  • Brenda Trueblood says:

    So very sad. Cant imagine the pain that poor baby endured. Everyday its the same dogs starved abused an nothing happens to their owners. Something has to change. Laws must be changed an enforced. Until they are nothing will change the heartless cruel owners will continue doing what they do with no regard for life!!!!

  • erica says:

    One of the saddest articles I’ve read, I still don’t feel like animals get as much justice as they should. Rest in peace babygirl♡

  • The above reports shock me to the core, I don’t consider people human who treat animals in
    such a cruel manner , these people are to my interpretation demonic to the core, and punishment should be even, 1. a longer jail sentence and a heavier fine,2. to be put to work in kennels cleaning them under a watchful eye. Society does not need people like this , put them under house arrest.!

  • Shauni says:

    People like this are an absolute disgrace to this world. No animal should ever have to go through the pain and suffering that this poor poor baby went through. They practically get away with it! There needs to be a bigger punishment for these low life pieces of scum. I hate people.

  • candice says:


  • kimberly says:


  • Cheryl says:

    Do people not know that there are loving people that will help? Are they starving them because they do not have the money? This has to end please report abuse and neglect. If you cannot take care of your dog there are people that will!

  • Cheryl says:

    Poor babe, may angels be with this dog. Please everyone do your part and report abuse or neglect

  • This makes me sick…..this woman should have gotten more time in jail for what she did to this animal!! She was starved and pregnant I don’t understand how people sleep at nite or live with themselves. I have no use for people like this!! They need to be locked up and the key thrown away!!!!!!

  • Jill King says:

    Are you kidding me??? The owners basically got NOTHING!!!! Unfortunately this is true in most animal abuse cases. I will report anything I see, but until I see a judge with the #~**? to actually do anything about it, it is still a loss for the poor suffering animals. Wake up judicial system – make some laws and ENFORCE THEM !!! And to think some people say animals are not as smart as humans? REALLY ????

  • This is so heartbreaking! Why have a pet if you are not going to take care of it!!! This owner needs to be charged with a felony and serve a long term sentence and big fine. Imagine what that poor puppy had to endure!!! KARMA on the evil monster who mad her go through a horrific life sentence!!!!

  • Lori McNutt says:

    How could an owner’s heart not go out to such a beautiful innocent suffering animal. My heart breaks for what so many people do to the very ones that rely on them for everything. We definitely need tougher laws for our pets and every other animal that is neglected and brutalized. I am glad she isn’t suffering, but very sad she had to be put to sleep. Thank you to the caring people who gave a damn and god bless.

  • Tonya Howard says:

    Not enough….what a beautiful soul how could they leave her to suffer…I will never understand such monsters

  • Doreen Sevilla says:

    The decision made me very happy

  • Manuela Gattasse says:

    Not enough!!

  • Sandra says:

    Heartless, evil, ignorant people! They should never have animals or children!

  • Nancy A. Taylor says:

    She needed to spend more than 10 days in jail. I sure hope she will be ok poor little dog.

  • She was sentenced to 180 days with 170 suspended? Well, hell, that will show her the court means business. Now, who’s going to make sure she never, ever, owns another animal? She’s a real piece of work.