The movie based on the story of a dog whose mistreatment led to changes in North Carolina’s animal cruelty laws had its world premiere in Winston-Salem over the weekend.
“Susie’s Hope” kicked off the RiverRun International Film Festival Saturday, and if you missed that showing there are two more — Tuesday at 3 p.m. at Hanesbrands Theatre, and Saturday at 4 p.m. in the Main Theatre at UNC School of the Arts.
Susie, a pit bull mix, became a poster puppy for fighting animal abuse when she was found burned, beaten and close to death in Greensboro’s Greenfield Park in 2009.
The woman who adopted her, Donna Lawrence, was once a pit bull victim.
Lawrence began feeding a dog near her home in High Point whose owners had moved away. After several days, the dog attacked her, latching on to her left leg and going for her throat before she was able to push it away and seek help. The wound left her bone exposed, and she’d receive 45 stitches.
She didn’t blame the animal: “I blame the owners who turned their dog into what it was,” she writes on the movie’s website. “Their neglect and abuse made their dog fearful and territorial.”
The attack left Lawrence, a long-time dog lover, with a fear of dogs and nightmares, even after her physical recovery.
“Then one day I met Susie, and she changed my life forever,” Lawrence writes. “So now you can see Susie and I shared something in common: she was a pit bull mix that had been had been tortured by a human and I was viciously attacked by a pit bull just a few months before we met. Our similar experiences allowed us to go from being victims to living victorious lives. I forgave the dog for my wrongful attack, and Susie forgave the human for hers.”
She was found with second- and third-degree burns on 60 percent of her body, a broken jaw, her teeth knocked out and her ears all but burned away. Her wounds were infested with maggots and she’d been surviving by eating sticks and drinking from mud puddles.
Lawrence and Susie would go on to foster awareness of animal abuse and push for increased penalties for the crime. Susie would become a therapy dog and a Canine Good Citizen.
In 2010, the state legislature passed Susie’s Law, which increased the penalty for anyone who “maliciously” kills an animal by “intentional deprivation of necessary sustenance, and raised the offense from a misdemeanor to a felony. Susie’s abuser received a sentence of 4-6 months in jail for burning personal property and a 4-5 month suspended sentence for animal cruelty.
Susie — though a puppy portrays her in her younger years — plays herself in the movie.
Filmed locally, the movie has some actors you might recognize – Emmanuelle Vaugier, best known as Charlie’s ex-fiance Mia on the CBS comedy “Two and a Half Men,” plays Lawrence; Burgess Jenkins (“Remember the Titans”) plays Roy Lawrence; and, in our favorite bit of casting, Jon Provost (Timmy from the TV show “Lassie”) plays state Sen. Don Vaughan, who sponsored the bill that became Susie’s Law.
(Photo: Courtesy of Susieshope.com)
Posted by jwoestendiek April 15th, 2013 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: abused, animal cruelty, animal shelter, animals, attack, burned, dog, dogs, donna lawrence, Emmanuelle Vaugier, felony, film festival, fire, found, greensboro, guilford county, jon provost, lassie, law, movie, neglected, north carolina, park, pets, pit bull, pitbull, premiere, river run, riverrun, set on fire, susie, susie's law, susies hope, timmy, victim, winston-salem
Kentucky, North Dakota, Iowa, South Dakota and New Mexico are 2012’s five best states to be an animal abuser, according to the latest report released by the Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF).
The national nonprofit organization compared animal protection laws of every state in the country, analyzing more than 4,000 pages of statutes, to reveal the state’s that are strongest on animal protection and those that are weakest.
The weakest of all? Kentucky, which the ALDF says was the worst state in the nation for animal protection laws for the sixth year in a row.
The report ranks all 50 states, and top honors went to Illinois, for the fifth year in a row. ALDF has been releasing the annual analysis for seven years.
Rounding out the top five states were Maine, California, Michigan, and Oregon, all of which demonstrated strong commitments to combating animal cruelty.
States that ranked poorly either lacked or made limited use of felony penalties for the worst types of animals abuse, had weak laws covering basic standards of care for animals, and no restrictions on convicted animal abusers getting news pets and animals.
In the survey, Kansas saw its ranking drop from sixth to 13th, primarily due to its “ag gag” law. Such laws, now existing in five states, make it illegal to covertly take photos or videos at factory farms and other animal facilities as part of undercover investigations.
Idaho was the fastest rising state, moving up from 52 to 44 due to its enactment of felony provisions for animal cruelty.
Since the first rankings report in 2006, more than half of all states and territories have experienced a significant improvement in their animal protection laws, ALDF says.
“We look forward to further progress in the upcoming year,” said Stephen Wells, executive director for ALDF. “Regardless of ranking, each state and territory has ample room for improvement. We hope lawmakers will recognize the need for immediate improvement in animal protection laws across the nation. Although animals do not vote, those who love and protect them certainly do.”
Posted by jwoestendiek December 19th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: aldf, analysis, animal, animal legal defense fund, best, best and worst, bottom five, california, cruelty to animals, felony, illinois, iowa, kentucky, laws, maine, michigan, new mexico, north dakota, oregon, protection, report, south dakota, states, statutes, top five, worst
North Dakota voters turned down a measure that would have made cruelty to dogs, cats and horses a felony, leaving it one of just two states without felony penalties for mistreating animals.
The other is its neighbor, South Dakota.
A citizen initiative on Tuesday that would have made animal cruelty punishable by up to five years in prison and a $5,000 fine was defeated by nearly a 2-1 margin.
That means animal abuse remains a misdemeanor, and the most severe punishment for cruelty in the state will continue to be a year in jail and a $2,000 fine.
North Dakota’s two major farm groups opposed the measure, saying it was vague and poorly worded, according to the Associated Press.
The measure would have made it it a class C felony “to maliciously and intentionally harm a living dog, cat or horse.”
North Dakotans to Stop Animal Cruelty says it plans to to continue its efforts to change the law.
(Photo: From the Facebook page of North Dakotans to Stop Animal Cruelty)
Posted by jwoestendiek November 8th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: 2012, abuse, animal cruelty, animal welfare, animals, cats, cruelty, cruelty to animals, dogs, election, farmers, felony, horses, increase, measure, misdemeanor, north dakota, north dakotans to stop animal cruelty, opposition, penalties, pets, referendum, vote, voter
An Atlanta area man is facing upgraded charges in connection with a fight he had with his wife two months ago in which he beat her with her dog, then killed the Pomeranian by snapping its neck, police said.
Emmanuel Alfredo Tadeo, 27, of Sandy Springs, was in the Fulton County jail Wednesday facing felony animal cruelty and other charges, Channel 2 Action News reported.
Police said the charges stemmed from a May 19 disturbance at the home of Tadeo and his wife, Andrea Jill Armintrout, in their condominium on Roswell Road.
“The argument started over him blaming his wife for his misfortunes in life,” said Capt. Steve Rose, spokesman for the Sandy Springs Police Department. The man had been drinking heavily, he said.
“It is probably one of the worst cases of animal cruelty that we’ve ever seen,” Rose added.
Rose said the man had kicked and stomped on the dog and at one point he swung the animal at his wife, striking her.
Tadeo initially was charged with battery and misdemeanor cruelty to animals, according to Fulton County jail records. He was released June 14 after posting $5,000 bond.
This week, prosecutors upgraded the charges to aggravated assault, aggravated battery, battery and two counts of cruelty to animals.
Armintrout was also arrested Friday and charged with one count of obstruction, a misdemeanor. She was being held on $500 bond Wednesday.
Posted by jwoestendiek July 20th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animal cruelty, animals, argument, arrest, beating, charges, cruelty to animals, dispute, dog, dogs, domestic, Emmanuel Alfredo Tadeo, felony, fight, fulton county, husband, killed, pets, police, pomeranian, upgraded, used, violence, wife
On Wednesday, an arrest was made in the case. Sean D. Branch, 24, was charged with one count of felony animal cruelty.
Branch, who was arrested in Clinton, Md., faces up to five years in jail and a $25,000 fine, the Washington Humane Society said in a press release.
He is scheduled for a preliminary hearing July 31.
Officer Michael Triebwasser of the Washington Humane Society said that the 6-month-old dog, King Tut, a brindle-and-white male, fell asleep about 9 a.m. in the shade behind the Circle Seven Express store on Mount Olivet Road.
The assailant, described by witnesses as a man in his late 20s, picked up a large concrete slab, held it chest-high and then let it fall on the dog’s head, the Washington Post reported.
According to court documents, the dog’s owner is Willie Starkey, who has no address.
Posted by jwoestendiek July 13th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animal cruelty, animals, arrest, concrete, cruelty to animals, dc, dogs, felony, killed, king tut, pets, puppy, slab, sleeping, washington, washington humane society
A year after Chamberlin was found tied to a tree and abandoned in a backyard in North Carolina, his reputed former owners are scheduled to be sentenced tomorrow on animal cruelty charges.
Chamberlin, whose continuing recovery has been documented by the Guilford County Animal Shelter, had apparently spent two months shackled to a tree behind the home, which the owners had moved out of when they split up.
About two weeks after the dog was found by someone mowing the overgrown yard, Nellie Brock and Wilbert Morrison Jr. were arrested and charged with animal cruelty — a misdemeanor in North Carolina, though it has since been upgraded to a felony.
Chamberlin was too emaciated and weak to stand when he was found without food, water or shelter. A second dog found on the property was barely alive and had to be euthanized.
Chamberlin was taken in by the Guilford County Animal Shelter, where he’s undergone surgery for fused bones in his forelegs, gained weight and has made steady improvements.
Chamberlin’s neglect and heroic struggle to overcome it prompted a state senator to call for amending the state’s animal neglect laws.
Sen. Don Vaughan, a Greensboro Democrat, introduced what he dubbed Chamberlin’s law on the opening day of the General Assembly session.
The bill would allow criminal charges to be brought against pet owners who “recklessly” neglect their pets, as opposed to the current law, which allows just those accused of doing so “maliciously” or “intentionally” to be prosecuted.
Chamberlin, meanwhile, continues to become healthier and more mobile, and learned to get around with wheels.
The sentencing hearing is tomorrow, Wednesday, at 2:30 p.m., at the High Point Courthouse, 505 E. Green Drive, in High Point, N.C.
How much justice will be dispensed is uncertain, but there’s some justice in this:
Chamberlin will be there.
Posted by jwoestendiek September 13th, 2011 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: abandoned, animal cruelty, animals, bones, chamberlin, chamberlin's law, dog, dogs, don vaughan, felony, fused, guilford county, guilford county animal shelter, misdemeanor, neglect, nellie brock, north carolina, pets, recovery, senator, starving, susie's law, tethered, tied, wilbert morrison
(Warning: This video contains disturbing images and profanity.)
A North Carolina grand jury has returned indictments for 14 felony counts of cruelty to animals against four workers at a private research laboratory in North Carolina.
PETA, which first brought to light abuses at Professional Laboratory Research Services (PLRS), said the indictments mark the first time in U.S. history that laboratory workers have faced felony cruelty charges for their abuse of animals in a laboratory.
PLRS was the subject of a PETA undercover investigation last fall.
Those indicted were Mary Ramsey, who had been employed as a PLRS supervisor, and Jessica Detty, who were each charged with five counts, and Christine Clement and Tracy Small, who were each indicted on two counts.
The accused, PETA says, are among those caught on the video above, kicking, throwing, and dragging dogs; hoisting rabbits by their ears and puppies by their throats; slamming cats into cages; and screaming obscenities at animals.
One of those named is the worker seen trying to rip out a cat’s claws by pulling the animal from the fence onto which he or she clung, PETA said.
The state charges follow extensive citations by federal officials for violations of animal welfare laws. The lab was closed last year, and more than 200 dogs and 50 cats were surrendered.
For nine months, a PETA investigator worked undercover inside the facility, located in Gates County, in rural northeastern North Carolina.
PLRS tested insecticides and other chemicals used in companion-animal products for Bayer, Eli Lilly, Novartis, Schering-Plough (now Merck), Sergeant’s, Wellmark, and Merial.
The PETA investigation found that toxicity tests were just part of what the animals endured. Laboratory workers cursed at animals, used pressure hoses to spray water (as well as bleach and other harsh chemicals) on them; and dragged dogs through the facility.
Dogs at PLRS spent years in cages, either to be used repeatedly in tests or to be kept infested with worms for some future study, PETA says.
To cut costs, PETA says, PLRS killed nearly 100 cats, rabbits, and dogs. The company had decided that some of these animals’ six daily cups of food were too expensive.
PETA says the case is only the second criminal prosecution in the U.S. of laboratory workers for animal cruelty. The first also stemmed from a PETA investigation — that of the infamous Silver Spring Monkeys in 1981.
Posted by jwoestendiek July 7th, 2011 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: abuses, animal cruelty, animal research, animals, cats, charges, chemicals, christine clement, dogs, drug companies, drugs, experiments, felony, gates county, grand jury, indictments, jessica detty, lab, lab workers, laboratory, mary ramsey, north carolina, peta, pets, plrs, product, professional laboratory research services, rabbits, research, testing, toxicity, tracy small, undercover, veterinary, video, workers
Two New Mexico men will face felony cruelty to animals charges for cutting a dog’s head off with a chainsaw, sheriff’s deputies say.
The act came to light after children, in the residence at the time, told authorities about nightmares they were having in connection with it.
The men allegedly were trying to put the 2-year-old pit bull down because it previously bit a 9-year-old girl who was visiting the residence, according to the Daily Times in Farmington.
“Sexton said this was the second time the dog has bitten someone and he felt it needed to be put down,” Faverino said.
He and Bowen, who live on the same property, attempted to use the knife to cut the dog’s throat, but they were having difficulty and grabbed the chainsaw, Faverino said.
A Children, Youth and Families Department investigator told deputies about the incident after being notified by several young children suffering from nightmares stemming from the incident.
Sexton told deputies the children were in the house when he killed the dog.
(Image: Google maps)
Posted by jwoestendiek September 24th, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, chainsaw, corey bowen, cruelty, cruelty to animals, cut, dog, dogs, farmington, felony, four corners, head, new mexico, news, off, pets, san juan county, teddy sexton
An Alabama state board denied parole this week to a man convicted of spraying a dog with lighter fluid, setting him on fire and beating him with a shovel.
The star witness at the hearing? The victim himself — Louis Vuitton, an 8-year-old pit bull who, now in the care of a local couple that adopted him, still bears burn scars over much of his body. The dog was led into the hearing room, consenting to being petted along the way.
The board voted 3-0 to deny early release to 23-year-old Juan Daniels of Montgomery, who was sentenced in 2009 to nine years and six months in prison, according to the Associated Press. The sentence was a record in Alabama in an animal cruelty case.
It’s believed to have been the first appearance by a dog at an Alabama Board of Pardons and Paroles hearing. “I don’t recall every having one here before,” said Cynthia Dillard, the board’s executive director.
Daniels’ family and supporters aruged that he had been sentenced far more harshly than criminals who harm human beings.
After the September 2007 attack on the dog, the Montgomery Humane Society got as many as 50 calls a day about the case, some from other countries.
The dog was named “Louis Vuitton,” in honor of another abused dog, named “Gucci,” whose torture case in Mobile in 1994 led to passage of “Gucci’s law,” which made animal cruelty a felony in Alabama.
More than 60 law enforcement officers, animal rights advocates and other supporters of Louis crowded into the hearing, where Montgomery County District Attrney Ellen Brooks asked parole board members to make Daniels serve his entire sentence.
She said he tortured the dog, which belonged to his mother, because he was angry at her for not letting him use the car.
Daniels will be eligible for another parole hearing in July 2012.
Posted by jwoestendiek August 26th, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: abused, adopt, alabama, animal cruelty, animals, appearance, beaten, board, courts, crime, cruelty, cruelty to animals, denied, denies, deny, dogs, felony, fire, gucci, juan daniels, lighter fluid, lit, louis, louis vuitton, montgomery, parole, pets, pit bull, pit bulls, pitbull, pitbulls, record, rescue, sentence, shelter, shovel, tortured, witness
Susie, an 8-week-old puppy when she was tortured, burned and left to die in Greensboro last summer, yesterday became the first dog to sign a piece of legislation in North Carolina — one aimed at protecting her kind.
Gov. Bev Perdue signed the animal cruelty prevention bill known as Susie’s Law. Susie, a pit bull mix wearing pearls and pink nail polish for the occasion, then put her paw print on the bill.
“Today, we make our homes better and our streets safer for the people who inhabit this state,” said Perdue. “No matter if they have two legs or four legs.”
It was about a year ago when Susie was tortured, set on fire and left for dead in Greensboro. Her ears were singed off and she was covered in maggots by the time she was found, about two weeks after the beating, which left her with missing teeth and a broken jaw, according to the Greensboro News & Record.
Lashawn Whitehead, 21, of Greensboro, was convicted and sentenced to probation.
Susie’s new owner, Donna Lawrence, was one of the forces behind the legislation, wanting to make sure that anyone who tortured a dog in the future would have to pay with jail time.
Under the new law, any malicious abuse, torture, or killing of animals becomes a Class H felony, punishable by up to 10 months in jail.
“This law will also protect, I believe, North Carolina’s people,” said Perdue. “The data is pretty clear. For those of you who don’t know the data, people who are actually cruel and do this kind of stuff to animals, are five times more likely to do this kind of thing to a human being.”
Perdue’s dog’s Dosie and Zipper also looked on as the bill became law.
(Photo: Lynn Hey / Greensboro News & Record)
Posted by jwoestendiek June 24th, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: abuse, animal cruelty, animal welfare, animals, bev perdue, burned, class h, dog, dosie, felony, governor, greensboro, jail, killing, law, lawshawn whitehead, legislation, mix, north carolina, pawprint, pets, pit bull, probation, punishment, sentence, signs, susie, susie's law, torture, tortured, zipper