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Life Arts    H4'ed 7/26/14

Justice for Andra Grace

Message Suzana Megles
You may have heard about Andra Grace -- a young pit bull who was dragged behind a truck in October 2013. Amazingly, she survived this ordeal. She was tied by her front legs to Roger Dennis Owen's truck -forcing her to attempt to keep up with his speeding truck by running on her hind legs. He dragged her this way for about two miles until two women driving in the opposite direction saw the plight of this poor dog. They immediately called the police and turned around to follow the truck and save the dog. God bless these caring women. They saved Andra Grace's life.
However, Andra Grace's injuries were so severe her rescuers didn't think at the time that she would survive. Per Susan Bird, the writer of this post on Care2 -"She lost most of her rear toenails, the tendons in her knees were exposed, and her paws were "degloved." Her belly and mammary glands were also torn up." After hearing about her horrible experience on Care2, donations from kind people around the world paid for her medical care.
At a court appearance, Roger Dennis Owens admitted that someone paid him off with drugs and alcohol to " take away" Andra Grace. Thoughtless neighbors had complained that Andra Grace kept coming around begging for food. She had recently given birth to a litter of puppies who were obviously gotten rid of. And her indifferent and callous owners who probably didn't give her adequate care in the first place decided she should be gotten rid of as well. So they asked Owens to do them a favor
and take Andra Grace away -- whatever that meant.
Owens agreed and instead of turning her into a shelter, he thought the problem would be solved by tying her to his pickup truck and driving away. Did it not even occur to him that this poor dog would suffer?
And what a cruel joke -that according to his attorney, he does like animals but on that day he'd been drinking and wasn't "thinking straight." How lame. Not only was he not thinking straight, he was not thinking at all about the ramifications of his solution to taking Andra Grace "away." God help us, we have all too many cruel people like him trying to rationalize their cruel actions.
Judge Verdin didn't buy any of it, and before handing down her sentence she told Owens "This is one of the cruelest things that I've seen since I've been on the bench. She sentenced him to five years for felony "ill treatment of an animal- the maximum under South Carolina Law. Next- she tacked on five years for being a habitual traffic offender and six months for driving under the influence with a suspended license. So this poor excuse for a man would now have to spend 10 and a half years in prison. According to a reporter, he showed no remorse.
Thank God for Judges like Letitia Verdin for getting justice for Andra Grace. Sadly, we don't have a lot of judges like her though I am speaking from years back when all too many judges just gave the animal abuser a slap on the wrist. Too many states considered animal abuse a misdemeanor then. I hope that has changed. If so, I am pretty sure it is through the efforts of Legal Animal Defense and other animal rights groups.
Andra Grace is now living in Florida with her new adoptive parent, Lynne Dixon and her family. She has healed nicely though some of her fur will never grow back. Of course, she will always have both physical and emotional scars from her horrific ordeal, but thanks to the petition on Care 2 and reader response in her behalf, she is today safe with a family who loves her. Her abuser will forever carry the stigma of a felony conviction for animal abuse. (If interested, you will probably find pictures of beautiful Andra Grace on the internet.)
In my homespun book --"Blame it on Peaches." I devote a chapter to the terrible animal abuse of a Wisconsin man and the lack of justice for his
animals from an unjust and uncaring judge -- the antithesis of Judge Letitia Verdin. I am so grateful to Brenda McGuire who helped me write my book. Re my writing -It was a small enterprise, but I am forever grateful to her for publishing it because I often refer to it --
remembering some of my now departed beautiful companion animals of which Peaches was the first. I also refer to it for other related animal concerns.
In 1998 Nikko, an 8-month old Shepherd mix suffered horribly from the hands of a 37 year- old man -- father of two who lived in Janesville, WI. He confessed to duct-taping Nikko's mouth shut and sealing him in a plastic container. His 10 year-old daughter listened to Nikko crying and whining for a week until he mercifully died in the plastic container in the family's living room.
Despite his confession and the police finding Nikko's body in this " home" from hell, the Rocky County District Attorney said he did not have enough evidence to convict because the decomposed remains of Nikko were not saved. Unbelievably, the judge agreed, and the case was dismissed.
There was a big uproar locally, and even reached the ears of outraged animal rights people in other states. In July of 1998, BH of Janesville, WI did go to trial - this time with a new judge. Now it was also found out that this animal torturer was guilty of other horrendous cruel acts to the cats he had snapped up "free to a good home." (Never, ever advertise this way. Always charge something and above all lesson the need to get "rid" of animals by neutering and spaying your companion animals.)
Four of these "free to a good home" cats suffered unimaginably. BH broke Nellie's two back legs, broke her neck, and sodomized her. Nellie's body was found in his house. Nellie's rectum was stretched to 10 times its normal size. A used condom was found near her lifeless body.
Butterball, Monkey, and Morris were also all found dead in BH's house. Their skulls were crushed. Their jaws were broken. They were strangled with ropes.
Nikko and these innocent abused cats would find justice at last when this horrible man was found guilty on five counts of animal cruelty and one count of weapons possession. Each count carried a 2-year penalty. Applause broke out after the sentence was handed down. A big thanks was due to Judge Richard T. Werner for taking a stand against this unspeakable torture of innocent animals,
Still, I personally believe that 12 years for this cruel man was not enough. What about you?

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I have been concerned about animal suffering ever since
I received my first puppy Peaches in 1975. She made me take a good look at the animal kingdom and I was shocked to see how badly we treat so many animals. At 77, I've been a vegan for the (more...)
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