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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, her body twitching with seizures. 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.

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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.

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  • Shannon Scott says:

    It’s a start. Until these heartless poor excuses for human beings are punished it will not change. And it is disgusting to me to think of any of gods creatures to be tortured or abused in any way

  • vanessa says:

    not long enough…..sick woman

  • Dee says:

    A stronger message needs to be sent to abusers. Not enough jail time for these people. Heartbreaking.

  • Janine Gordon says:

    This is outrageous!! These people should of received much more jail time!! This sentence wasn’t nearly enough for what they put this poor baby girl through. I can’t stop crying while I’m typing this. Why do people do this???? All Angel wanted and needed was love food and shelter…how very very sad!!

  • Lori says:

    Not nearly enough but at least there is a lifetime ban on owning any other animals. RIP sweet girl!

  • Rise says:

    The fine should be $5000usd at least. With an extra charge for each additional life.

  • KOOS says:

    justis did the right thing put them in jail for another 5 years
    this is so teardropping my eyes are burning awfull

  • que certains humains peuvent être si cruel et monstrueux

  • dipto says:

    They should’ve been penalized heavily. It is almost cold blooded murder.

  • bryan says:

    That is the weakest punishment I’ve ever seen. Give them both 5 years in prison

  • Malinda Demray says:

    We have to lobby for much steeper fines, and people should have to be tethered and complete work (in or out of jail) that involves no direct contact with animals but the profit from which goes to aid abused & neglected animals. We also need a national animal abuse registry, with names and photos of convicted criminals. People need to police each other.

  • Jenny says:

    Quilty!!!! Stop cruelty animal

  • Maureen Mercer says:

    They should have been fine $500 for each puppy that was euthanized with her. The suspended sentences should have been made into those hours of community service, whether it be picking up trash or garbage.

  • Myla Yotoko says:

    was Angel euthanized? oh poor baby. i can’t watch the video and not shed a tear. those lonely eyes keep staring at you and asking for help.

  • Louise percival says:

    In tears reading this, cannot for the life of me understand, how people can mistreat, abandon, starve THEIR dog, who is expecting puppies, why did this beautiful dog have to wait, until it was nearly dead, & expecting pups before PETA got inside – didn’t anybody hear her cries, her whimpering & now she has passed away, her only friends were the vets, & they could do nothing for her, I hope in her last few minutes she felt love for the 1st time xx

  • Angelina Miranda says:

    How can these people be so heartless

  • Giselle says:

    Poor poor dog…… How cruel can people be to animals…… heathbraking.

  • bandish poddar says:

    THANKS PETA FOR THIS GREAT WORK……………. SHE DESERVE TO SPEND HER REST LIFE IN JAIL

  • John Burridge says:

    Where did this occur? I did not notice a location given for this horrible act.

  • alchmo says:

    they has to put that precious innocent dog to sleep because she was so mistreated and they get a month in jail. Who decides these ‘punishments’. How about putting them in a cell and losing the key? I’d vote for that. And who keeps watch to make sure they don’t do this to another poor animal. Vicks has a dog.

  • Fabiola Leon says:

    I can’t stop crying. This is very sad and in humane. I wish this article wasn’t real. For a women the most vulnerable time of their life is being pregnant. As a women as a human being I cannot imagine what this poor doggie must of gone through. Please report any type of animal abuse. Please speak protect love and care for animals.

  • R.Timmons says:

    Makes me not proud to be a human. How could anyone do such a thing to am animal that only wants human contact. They demand so little and yet this happens every day, I am ashamed.

  • judy thorpe says:

    It is appalling that this sorry woman only got a slap on the wrist and this is the reason why animal abuse is so epidemic people don’t get tough punishment!

  • Rhonda says:

    These sentences are so short…they just aren’t a deterrent. A tap on the hand won’t stop this abuse.

  • Herberta Kiekeben says:

    Poor baby …. :'( Souless people ….Wish all the worst in life ….>:(

  • CLAIRE MORAN says:

    Ridiculously lenient. These people are psychopaths. 5 years in jail minimum and a huge fine so they lose their home and donate it to an animal charity.

  • Suzie Klopping says:

    Most important is the ban on owning animals for the rest of their lives! I hope someone looks after that so they don’t secretly abuse other animals.

  • Virginia Greenwood-Warner says:

    Jeez this life was hell on earth for Angel, to me the sentence is ridiculously low but at least they aren’t allowed to own an animal again. Everyone watch these people, who knows what they will do! Poor poor Angel I’m soo sorry!!!

  • Judy Sutton says:

    I say give them the same time as if they had been cruel to a human.

  • Barry Harris says:

    Not nearly enough, the courts need to send a strong message that cruelty of this kind is not acceptable and will not be tolerated

  • Michael says:

    30 days for one is not enough. They both should have done a year

  • Autumn says:

    These kinds of horrible people ( if u can call them people) should get just as harsh of punishment for these crimes as they would if it were done to a human. Animals suffering at the hands of the people they are suppose to be able to trust to love them and take care of them is no different than a parent abusing their child. It’s has got to stop!

  • MarthaAshton says:

    Gee, she was pregnant and the gate was locked, but somehow obviously a male dog got in there a few months ago? Hmm… And they didn’t even have the decency to throw her food over the fence!!! Were they hoping she would lose the puppies?!

  • PLEASE, if you see or know of abuse, PLEASE call the authorities and just keep calling until something is done. PLEASE we are their voices!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Glad jail time was done 4 this gross act 2 a pregnant dog ,BUT SORRY NO WHERE NEAR LONG ENOUGH THEY NEED A STIFF JAIL TERM OTHER WISE THEY WILL CARRY ON DOING PAINFUL THINKS 2 R LOVELY PETS

  • Karen Arruda says:

    Agreed! Sentence was lifted, not fair to Angel who was not given food, love, shelter, not allowed to give birth to health babies..to lick their faces, and feed them nourishment.

    They should have had to do their jail time. Suspended sentences too easy!

  • Wanda says:

    IM SO SICK OF PEOPLE DOING THIS TO PETS!!!!! IM SORRY SHE HAD TO LIVE A HORRIFIC LIFE ONLY TO BE FOUND AND KILLED!!! WHO IS GOING TO MAKE SURE THAT THESE people never gets another oNE???? IM SURE THEY ALREADY HAVE EYES ON ONE!!! THEY SHOULD HAVE SPENT ONE YEAR IN JAIL!!!! THIS IS JUST A PAT On The back!!!! NOT FAIR!!!

  • Noelle Bluearm says:

    Thank you PETA for all you do. This is the kind of story that keeps me up at night wondering about the nature of human beings. Despite the bad, it’s reassuring to know that goodness and love still exist. Thank you for finding her and bringing her story to us.

  • Asha says:

    Why should the sentence be suspended??? What right do they have to treat an animal in this manner. the punishment is not strong enough to deter such inhuman crimes, they should get their full sentence. Teh poor dog has died, thanks to the heartless animals

  • Nancy says:

    I am disgusted that a human being can do this.. There aren’t tough enough laws to protect innocent animals from enduring this kind of torture…

  • Janet Allan says:

    Another slap on the wrist. A joke. And who is going to make sure they don’t own anymore animals.

  • Sometimes I am at a loss of words at the amount of animal abuse.. I cannot and will not understand how people can stand by and watch any animal or person suffer … What is wrong with our society to accept all this abuse!!! And why are politicians and Judges scared to impose harsher laws…!!! It’s really sickening…!

  • Jodir says:

    Sad.

    Per state, where do you go to find out who has been banned from owning an animal? Do the shelters and rescue organizations access it?

  • queer says:

    How can people fathom the idea of starving a pregnant animal such as this one??? I don’t get it…. I hope they get a lot of jail time and never allowed to own an animal in their life. Poor baby.. I hope she is better and her puppies too.

  • MANUELA says:

    PRENDETEVI CURA DEGLI ANIMALI, NON GLI SI FA DEL MALE!!!!!!!!

  • Fran Fender says:

    $500 fine…that’s it???? One month jail time….that’s it???? They killed a peaceful animal with babies. Certainly not enough of a fine and certainly not enough jail time. Should have a jail somewhere that only houses these abusers. They should also be put on a registry somewhere, so if they try adopting again ever, they would be flagged. Should be a registry where any person could access this information.

  • courtney lester says:

    These people should have gotten the whole jail time the innocent dog didnt have a chance to leave its pin or ask for help thank god for the people that saved angel . I cerently hope the previous owners arent allowed to have another dog or pet they’ve lost the chance to be respectable or caring hope these people get checked on they cant be trusted to own other pets.

  • Mari says:

    Who and where are they, I’d like to start a petition requesting they be required to do the entire sentence of jail time.

  • Fabiola says:

    This is so sad and cruel poor angel she suffered so much and those bad owners dirint get enought time, they obviosly going to do it again to another dog. The laws need to be more strict!!

  • Kay Baker says:

    The owners in the above article still got off too easily. Why suspend the sentences? They deserve to serve the whole jail sentence. Animal abuse is still not prosecuted often enough or hard enough. Who is going to police these idiots to make sure they don’t go out and get more animals to abuse?

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