The efforts of compassionate Care2 readers have helped changed the course of an animal cruelty prosecution. The man accused of dragging a young pit bull for more than a mile behind his pickup truck in late November now faces a felony rather than a misdemeanor criminal charge.
Deputy Omar Yahya of the Greenville County Sheriff’s Office said Roger Dennis Owens was charged with felony “ill treatment of animals” on December 17, according to Fox Carolina News. Owens had originally been arrested on December 6 and charged with misdemeanor animal cruelty, an offense that carries a maximum penalty of only 90 days in jail and an $800 fine.
“The felony charge comes with a much stiffer penalty if the suspect is convicted,” Yahya said.
In addition, Owens is now charged with two counts of driving under suspension and two counts of being a habitual traffic offender. The felony cruelty charge could bring Owens from six months to five years in prison. If convicted of multiple offenses, he may face significantly more time.
Why the shift from misdemeanor to felony charge? There seems to be only one answer. People like you — many, many people like you — used social media, e-mails, letters and phone calls to call for sterner charges for this harrowing crime. Greenville County heard the outcry, took a closer look and seems to have decided stronger charges were warranted.
Andra Grace: Wagging Her Tail and Recovering
Meanwhile, Andra Grace is recovering nicely. Though she was badly injured, her condition is so much improved that has moved to her new foster home in time for Christmas, according to the Justice for Andra Grace Facebook page.
Want to see how happy and well Andra Grace is now? The Justice for Andra Grace Facebook page has posted this video, as well as many others, so well wishers can keep up with her remarkable recovery. Rescuers were able to recover four of Andra Grace’s puppies as well. They are doing well and will accompany her to their new foster location.
A Heartwarming Reunion with Two Special Women
Andra Grace had two special visitors on December 19. Kaye Skinner and Jennefer Bullock, the two women who reported seeing Andra Grace being dragged behind the truck, were reunited with her.
According to the Justice for Andra Grace Facebook page, when Kaye and Jennefer saw the pickup truck go by them in the opposite direction, dragging a helpless dog behind it, they turned around to follow it. After the truck sped away without the dog, they searched the roadway until they found her.
Kaye and Jennefer called police and stayed by Andra Grace for the two hours it took for help to arrive. They covered her battered, bloody form with a jacket while trying to soothe her. It might break your heart a little to know that Kaye and Jennefer say poor Andra Grace was wagging her tail as they did what they could to help her.
Andra Grace is now happily settled in her new foster home, where her two foster parents are both veterinarians. She’s getting a lot of loving care and is well on her way to a contented and satisfying life. Likewise, her now-weaned puppies are in foster homes and can look forward to long, happy lives.
Care2 readers, your signatures on our petition helped turn the tide with respect to the crime committed against this gentle and loving dog. Your outrage, coupled with a deluge of phone calls and e-mails to Greenville County officials, appears to have convinced authorities to take a closer look at this case. Now Roger Owens is charged with a felony. The possible punishment he faces for this heinous act of cruelty is considerably increased.
May justice prevail for Andra Grace and for all abused animals.
Photo credit: All photos courtesy Justice for Andra Grace Facebook Page