Franklin Couple Who Starved, Neglected Pregnant Dog Convicted and Sentenced

Perpetrators Banned From Having Animals After PETA Fieldworker Finds and Rescues Emaciated Pit Bull Caged and Dying Outdoors

For Immediate Release:
March 19, 2014

David Perle 202-483-7382

Franklin, Va. – Franklin residents Demarko Thomas and Patricia Davis have been sentenced to jail time, fined $500 each, and banned from owning animals for locking up their pregnant pit bull mix, Angel, and leaving her to starve, cold and alone. Thomas was sentenced to a 30-day jail term (suspended), while Davis was sentenced to 12 months (11 suspended). Her 30-day jail term began immediately.

In February 2013, PETA provided the couple with a free doghouse and straw bedding but on a cold day last November found Angel collapsed in an outdoor pen and unable to stand or right herself. She was heavily pregnant, but so badly neglected that she looked like a skeleton wrapped in skin, her spine, hips, ribs, and shoulder blades protruding sharply. A PETA fieldworker had to crawl under the pen to get to Angel, as her owners could not produce a key for its padlock.

Angel was rushed to a veterinarian, who found that she was half of her healthy bodyweight and was suffering from anemia and shock and that her body temperature was the lowest he had ever seen. Because of Angel’s severely debilitated condition—which was found to be the result of parasites, neglect, and long-term starvation—the veterinarian determined that it was too late to save her and recommended that she be euthanized to alleviate her suffering. In court, the veterinarian informed Judge W. Parker Councill that Angel “would have been dead by the next morning.”

“Davis and Thomas can never undo the suffering that they caused, but at least some measure of justice has been served,” says PETA Senior Vice President of Cruelty Investigations Daphna Nachminovitch. “PETA asks kind people to report abuse or neglect when they see it—a life may depend on it.”

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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