Puppy Burned, Beaten and Left for Dead Inspires New Legislation

Last August an eight-week old pit-bull shepherd mix was found by a passer-by in Greenfield Park in Greensboro, North Carolina. She had second and third-degree burns covering more than 60 percent of her body, along with a broken jaw and teeth. More than 300 maggots found on her body left vets to conclude she had been left for dead two weeks prior.

Despite the severity of her injuries, the puppy who has since been named Susie, fought to live and was lucky enough to get taken in by the Guilford County Animal Shelter, receive extensive vet care and find a new loving home.

While what would push someone to commit these acts of cruelty is unfathomable to most people the guilty party here, Lashawn Whitehead, then 20, gave the explanation that the dog jumped on the couch next to his newborn and he just “lost it.” Yes, this man has a newborn baby too.

Whitehead was sentenced in March and received probation for animal cruelty and six-eight months in jail for setting personal property on fire. Despite the disturbing nature of the crime, the state’s laws currently only call for probation for a first offense.

Disappointed by the outcome of the sentencing, Susie’s supporters set out to gain support for tougher penalties for animal abusers in North Carolina with Susie’s Law, S.B. 254. Community members wrote lawmakers and canvassed neighborhoods with information packets about new legislation that would make animal abuse a Class F felony, which would allow judges to hand out a jail sentence to those convicted. Animal cruelty is currently a Class I felony, which doesn’t include jail time.

Advocates of the law are also pushing for tougher laws against animal abusers with the sentiment that it’s something that can benefit children and families as well. Animal abuse is a well-known predictor of violence towards humans and other crimes.

A few state representatives stepped up to sponsor the bill that passed the Judiciary III Committee and House of Representatives unanimously with bipartisan support this week. Susie’s Law is now on its way to the state Senate where it will either be sent on to the governor for a signature, or sent back to committee. If it’s signed into law, it will take effect on December 1.

Meanwhile, Susie’s reportedly working on campaigning for the law in her honor, in addition to training to be a therapy dog who will visit burn units, among other facilities.

Visit North Carolina Voters for Animal Welfare for more information on how to help. 

creative commons


Kathy Z.
Kathy Z3 years ago

Audrey - I agree with you 100%. The laws/bills that are made need to be ENFORCED also.

Vesper B.
Vesper B3 years ago


Jana DiCarlo
Jana D3 years ago


Alicia N.
Alicia N3 years ago

poor little angel..... for one a %#@#*e, 100 lovers.

Susie is so pretty and love her eyes, good luck sweetheart.

Animals need stronger laws, we are their voices

kathleen t.
kathleen t3 years ago

All abused ill treated rescued animals HAVE EARNED a good , safe , happy life as my little boy has in pic yet who has the comforts ? The abusers and that is justice ??Think about it society and shame on all of them that do nothing to end or punish .these crimes .!

kathleen t.
kathleen t3 years ago

This is what our society has ome to brutality, sadistic cruelties inflicted all on innocent animals . The laws must be hardened ,if not where does it end?JUST WHAT CRUELTIES HAVE TO BEE INFLICTED ON ANY ANIMALS TO PUSH THE PUNISHMENT BAR BE RAISED ?The justice system, society, and the goverments ARE ALL as bad as the abusers and animal killers for allowing it to continue and after years of cruelty this is a CRIME punish the culprits , not the little victims . Assault attack killing whats the difference because one dead,tortured, and abused , victim has 2 legs and another 4 ? .

Lidija Mitrovic Corkovic

WHY ?? !! Why are people so cruel, full of hatred, such a terrible evil to do such a heinous act against these innocent creatures of God !!! Sick people's minds without soul and heart !!! Monsters! The soul of a dog, they have only us-PEOPLE !!! And we -have the whole world !!!!!Thogether with all our force of love and respect for these beautiful precious beings we mist fight against the pariahs of heartless waste !!!God bless these noble souls who were rescued this beautiful creature

Audrey B.
Audrey B3 years ago

I would go one step further. It comes down to we need stricter laws for animal abusers. Not State Wide but Nationwide. Make them strict enough to make an impression: Below is my example of doing this. We need to contact our Representatives in Congress & your Governor & now FBI Director James B. Comey

1. I think first offense should be 5 yrs. in jail and a Felony charge.
2. Probation x5 yrs & 1000 hr. Community Service
3. Fines to be paid to the local humane society for 5 yrs.
4. Loss of Drivers License for 5 yrs after jail, if younger and no license, then a 5-yr. delay in receiving license.
5. 2nd offense double of 1st offense.

We need to make a lasting impression to these abusers, I would think a National Law will help show the Law, means business. Animal Abuse is running ramped & needs to STOPPED. I am talking any animal abuse farm animals, zoo animals, circus animals, domestic animals, wild animals, homeless animals etc. Severe punishment & fines could make this impression.

Angela Padovani
Angie P3 years ago

This story is from 2010. I hope Susie is still alive, healthy, and happy.

Jonathan Harper
Jonathan H3 years ago