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Gucci, the dog that changed Alabama’s law

gucciGucci, the dog who helped make animal abuse a felony in Alabama, died Wednesday.

Doug James — Gucci’s rescuer and owner — said he made the difficult decision to euthanize the dog, who recently turned 16.

“I had dreaded it, and put if off for two or three days,”  James, who lives in Mobile told the Times Daily. “His kidneys were failing him.”

James caught some youths torturing the chow-husky mix one night in 1994. The youths hanged the dog by his neck and set him on fire.

The incident triggered a campaign for animal rights that resulted in the Pet Protection Act, better known as the “Gucci Law,” in Alabama.

The act , making animal cruelty a felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison, was signed by then-Gov. Don Siegelman on May 19, 2000 – the sixth anniversary of the attack – as Gucci looked on.

Gucci’s celebrity continued after that, with appearances at schools, on “The Maury Povich Show” and “Inside Edition.” He also played played “Sandy” in Mobile theatrical productions of “Little Orphan Annie.”

The dog was only 12 weeks old when he was beaten, hung in a tree by his neck, doused with lighter fluid and set on fire.  Two of the three abusers received sentences of community service, while a third — the lone adult — was sentenced to six months in jail.

“If ever there was a dog that should hate people it should be Gucci, but he loved everyone,” said Brenda Cashdollar, vice president of Friends of the Mobile Animal Shelter.

Cashdollar told Al.com that Gucci was unable to walk by the time of his 15th birthday, but still wagged his tail in response to those who greeted him. A party planned to mark his 16th birthday Saturday at B&B Pet Stop in Mobile will now serve as a memorial event, organizers said.

Gucci will be cremated, James said, and his ashes will be placed in a memorial garden planned at the Mobile Animal Shelter.


Comment from Julia
Time May 17, 2010 at 8:45 am

Gucci must have been just an awsome dog! I am sorry for Gucci’s passing, but he lived a full right life! God works in mysterious wa

Comment from Daniel Whalen
Time September 26, 2011 at 1:56 pm

It is upsetting to read that people can act so cruel to animals… As a Law Student and seeing this article, I think has persuaded me into pursuing a life of animal rights law. I feel as though acts committed against animals should face the same penalty as an act against a human being or even more so. An animal is unable to speak and provides people with unconditional love. I recently lost my Husky-Chow and the thought of someone doing this to him would make me crazy.. We should make the penalty so great to deter all criminals from acting in this manner. No animal should ever be treated like this. May Gucci’s legacy live forever and the penalty for animal crime receive a harsher punishment. thanks for reading this Dan.

Comment from Conny
Time June 13, 2014 at 10:39 pm

my heart aches for you. I am glad those people got punished but it hurts my heart knowing Gucci had to suffer so terrible 🙁 I am glad he had you and lived a good life and learned not all people are evil. RIP Gucci

Comment from Faye
Time September 1, 2015 at 8:49 pm

I am so glad that they have passed a law to protect the animals, no matter what kind they are. As of today (09/01/215) the man that beat his girlfriend’s dog Coco Lily was sentenced to 10 tens yrs. in jail with 18 mos. off for time served in jail plus some other things as well. Too many people are getting away with not taking care of the pets that they said they would. I’m glad someone stepped in for Gucci as well as the people that stand up for any animal that is being mistreated. Thank Lord.