Tag: guilford county
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
Rolled into a North Carolina courtroom in a green wagon, a pit bull mix named Chamberlin watched as one of two people accused of neglecting him so severely he’ll likely never fully recover was sentenced to 30 days in jail.
Chamberlin, who Guilford County Animal Shelter officials said spent more than two months chained in a yard with little or no food — along with another dog who didn’t survive — was neglected to the point that his muscle tissue deteriorated, his bones fused and his claws circled back into his footpads.
Chamberlin, whose case led to a proposed law to make prosecution of neglect cases easier, called “Chamberlin’s Law,” entered the shelter over a year ago, and remains there, normally getting around on a cart that supports his front legs.
While he does have occasional outings, Wednesday’s might have been the most unusual of all.
Chamberlin was accompanied by shelter staff to today’s sentencing of Wilburt Morrison, Jr., 56. Morrison and his former live-in companion, Nellie Brock, were arrested last September and charged with two counts of animal cruelty each.
Chamberlin arrived at the Guilford County Courthouse in High Point atop a pink cushion in a heavy duty wagon, flanked by shelter staff and about 20 animal advocates.
When Morrison’s hearing began, the dog was rolled into the courtroom to the front row of seats.
(Brock rejected a plea agreement and will stand trial on the charges.)
Morrison’s attorney told the judge that Brock, not Morrison, was the owner of the dogs, and that Morrison had been ”under the impression that she would bring food to the dogs.”
He said the case was not as “black and white” as it appeared, and pointed out that, contrary to some earlier news reports, it was Morrison who called animal control to come get the dog.
Prosectors allowed a representative of Susie’s Miracle Fund — named after a burned dog whose case led to laws imposing harsher penalties for animal abuse in North Carolina — to read a statement. Upon its completion, the prosecutor said, “Finally, I would present Chamberlin.”
The black pit bull mix was wheeled into the middle of the courtroom, poking his head over the rails. After about 20 seconds of silence, he was pulled back to the front row.
Superior Court Judge John O. Craig, III, while he had some strong words for Morrison, accepted the plea agreement prosecutors offered.
Morrison in exchange for pleading to one count of animal cruelty (a second was dropped) was given a suspended 7 to 9-month prison sentence. He will spend 30 days in jail, and three years on probation. He was also ordered to make $1,000 in restitution to help cover Chamberlin’s medical bills.
The plea agreement also prohibits Morrison from having pets during his three-year probationary period.
“I don’t want him even to have a guppy,” the judge said. “Not even a pet rock.”
The maximum penalty Morrison could have received was 15 months in prison, because “Susie’s Law” had yet to go into effect at the time of his arrest.
Calling the dogs’ treatment “deplorable,” Craig said who owned the dogs was not the issue: “Even though the dogs may not technically have been owned by you, they were on your property and in your care.”
“They’re like children or elderly adults who can’t fend for themselves,” the judge added. “They are totally dependent on humans,” he added — and even moreso when they are chained, and unable to reach or seek their own food.
Judge Craig thanked Chamberlin’s backers for coming, but lamented that the same kind of support isn’t shown in cases involving the abuse and neglect of children and the elderly.
After the hearing, Nellie Brock spoke to reporters outside the courthouse, saying that, while the dogs belonged to her, Morrison was responsible for them.
“He put me out in May. He was responsible. Where I was at I could not take those dogs,” she said. She said she turned down a plea bargain because, ”I’m not guilty … I didn’t abuse my dogs.” A trial date has yet to be set.
In the most awkward moment of the afternoon, Brock approached the dog outside the courthouse, knelt down and spent several minutes petting and hugging him before an animal shelter official interrupted.
“He’s a strong dog and he has a good will and he knows in his heart that I didn’t do anything,” Brock said. “I pray every night for him.”
(Photos by John Woestendiek / ohmidog!)
Posted by jwoestendiek September 14th, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: 30 days, abuse, animal cruelty, appearance, chained, chamberlin, chamberlin's law, courtroom, deal, englect, guilford county, guilford county animal shelter, hearing, high point, jail, neglected, nellie brock, north carolina, pit bull, plea agreement, probation, restitution, rolled, sentencing, starved, susies miracle fund, wagon, wheeled, wilburt morrison
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
A 3-month-old puppy burned and left for dead in a park in North Carolina has — amazingly — recovered and is soon to be adopted.
Meanwhile, her former owner, Lashawn Whitehead, made a court appearance yesterday — the first since he was jailed in Greensboro on felony charges of animal cruelty and “burning personal property.”
Whitehead’s mother told the Greensboro News & Record yesterday that her son was afraid the puppy might harm his newborn child.
The dog, since named Susie, was found in Greenfield Park with burns covering more than 60 percent of her body. A pit bull-shepherd mix, had a broken jaw, broken teeth and second and third degree burns on her head, back, stomach, tail and legs.
Veterinarians estimated she had been laying in the park for weeks, based on her body being infested with maggots.
The dog has had extensive treatment for her injuries and is expected to be adopted soon.
“We are really impressed and amazed at how she’s recovering,” said Marsha Williams, director of the Guilford County Animal Shelter.“We didn’t think it would happen this quickly.”
Sixty people have signed up to adopt the puppy, the Greensboro News & Record reported in October.
Posted by jwoestendiek November 18th, 2009 under Muttsblog.
Tags: abused, adopt, animal cruelty, animal shelter, beaten, burned, charges, dog, greensboro, guilford county, lashawn whitehead, mix, north carolina, pit bull, puppy, rescue, shelter, shepherd, susie