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Letter draws attention to neglect case

Caswell County Courthouse

Rural Caswell County is prosecuting its first suspect under North Carolina’s tougher animal cruelty statute, known as Susie’s Law, but the case — in which three dogs starved to death while chained — is drawing little media attention.

Jimmy Lee Spears was charged with three felony animal cruelty counts, accusing him of willfully killing the dogs by “intentional deprivation of necessary sustenance” — namely, food and water.

All three dogs were found dead, chained and huddled together in the same doghouse.

But neither state nor local news media have reported on the case, according to a Feb. 22 letter to the editor of the Caswell Messenger, written by Karen Schneider, a board member of the animal shelter in Yanceyville.

“My husband and I found out about this case only because of our board member involvement with the animal shelter (APS) in Yanceyville. The three dead emaciated dogs were brought to the shelter by animal control on January 24th,” she wrote.

While praising the new law, which makes willful cruely to animals a felony, Schneider points out in her letter that tougher penalties won’t have much deterrent effect if such cases are not publicized.

“…There is something crucial missing in the handling of the Spears case and that is, no one seems to know about it … There have been no reports in the newspapers covering the details … This is a first test case of Susie’s Law for our county. Little benefit will result if it tiptoes quietly through the court system,” she added.

An Internet search reveals no news reports on the case, only Schneider’s letter and Facebook postings.

While no article on the case has appeared to date in the weekly Messenger, more than 50 residents have posted comments on Schneider’s letter.


Comment from manuel
Time March 1, 2011 at 2:04 am

At least the story is getting coverage now. Thanks for posting.

Comment from Wendy
Time March 2, 2011 at 8:19 am

Disgraceful! Those poor dogs. Where is the Justice?

Comment from gover
Time March 12, 2011 at 11:29 am

I pray that this person does not have Children!!

Comment from Sybil
Time March 12, 2011 at 7:45 pm

Thanks for helping bring this to light! This is the kind of help Susie’s Law needs, shining a bright light on the darkness ….

Comment from Angie
Time March 14, 2011 at 10:35 pm

This is an outrage!!! He doesn’t deserve a trail to waste tax payers money. He deserves the same as the poor dogs he killed. We know of course that, that is not possible. I can only hope that one day, the punishment for animal abuse will be the same as if it were a person abused. How anyone can hurt an animal is beyond me. And to think that every bite he took, inside his home, his dogs we outside dying. How can he live with himself. Why not give them away. How can anyone watch a pet suffer and die like that. He deserves many, many years in prison and may be his food will be taken away by the other inmates.

Comment from Beverly Sondej
Time March 16, 2011 at 11:30 am

You are right, this needs more publicity. If we can’t treat our animal friends with love and respect, how do we expect to give each other the same…as a society we should see this court case as a testiment to how we treat our most vulnerable to cruelty population. Animals are not just property, they are beings in their own right who love and have the right to be loved and cared for. If these basic needs cannot be guaranteed, then I feel sorry for our speicies as we have no future either.