Chained Dog’s Death Means Cruelty Charges for Rich Square Couple

Arrests Were Made This Week Following PETA Fieldworker's Discovery of Dead Dog Still Tied Up, Left to Rot in Yard During Heat Wave

For Immediate Release:
October 23, 2018

Audrey Shircliff 202-483-7382

Rich Square, N.C. – Residents Kenneth and Chekila Stephenson were arrested this week on cruelty-to-animals charges following a PETA fieldworker’s discovery in late August of their dead 2-year-old black lab, Molly, still tied up in the backyard. Her body was in a shallow dirt hole that she’d apparently dug in an attempt to escape the heat.

The Stephensons’ arraignment is scheduled for November 20 at the Northampton County courthouse.

“Like other dogs whose entire lives are spent trapped on a tether, Molly was chronically neglected and deprived of all that she needed and craved, even the chance to avoid an agonizing death from extreme heat,” says PETA Senior Vice President Daphna Nachminovitch. “PETA urges anyone who sees animals being neglected or abused to help them by alerting authorities immediately.”

PETA’s fieldworkers had been visiting dogs in the Stephensons’ custody for the last year. And the group’s Community Animal Project staffers had provided the dogs, including Molly, with doghouses and straw bedding, anti–fly strike and deworming medication, and more. During virtually every visit, the animals were found without basic necessities such as water and food, and they were often so entangled in their tethers that they could barely move. On one visit, a staffer noticed that Molly was suffering from a dangerous uterine prolapse, which PETA’s veterinary clinic treated free of charge. The Stephensons refused to bring her indoors to heal after this free emergency surgery, despite the group’s appeal to them to do so.

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to abuse in any way”—urges anyone who witnesses neglect to report it to local authorities. If possible, witnesses should take pictures and note how long an animal is left without adequate food, water, or shelter.

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 Ingrid E. Newkirk

“Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights?” READ MORE

— Ingrid E. Newkirk, PETA President and co-author of Animalkind