Please urge law to apply charges against man who dragged dog to death
BACKGROUND | SOURCE ROME NEWS TRIBUNE
A Bartow County law enforcement agency has closed its investigation into how a dog was dragged by a truck nearly two miles to its death, but animal welfare groups are “digging deeper” in an investigation of their own.
Bartow County Sheriff officials maintained Monday that the dog’s death was accidental, dismissing allegations of neglect or abuse and confirming no charges would be filed against the driver.
The animal had been tied to the rear bumper of a truck that was subsequently driven nearly two miles — from an Old Rome Residence to the Dollar General, located at 32 Cochran St. in Kingston — Saturday night.
Witnesses and Rome-based Animal Rescue Foundation volunteers contended the driver was careless and neglectful, but Sgt. Jonathan Rogers of the sheriff’s office disagreed.
“Negligence would be if the dog wasn’t fed or getting enough water,” he said, adding that hadn’t been the case with the deceased canine.
Rogers also stated that it’s lawful for a dog’s owner to humanely euthanize the animal, but said it wasn’t clear if the Kingston dog had been shot after it was taken back to the residence from where it was dragged.
But Stephanie Bell, a representative from People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, said even after reviewing the sheriff’s report, the organization is not done with their own investigation into the incident.
“We are not done here,” Bell said on Monday evening. “We certainly feel that someone should be held accountable. We’re horrified at what this dog surely suffered. … Surely this animal’s skin was ripped off, bones were broken. We imagine the animal was screaming in pain. It was an egregious crime.”
According to the report
According to the Bartow County Sheriff’s incident report, A man who lives at the address told deputies he had been cooking dinner and saw his dog had gotten loose in the yard. He retrieved it and tied it to the trailer hitch of his vehicle until he was done cooking.
The man said he asked another man at the residence to go pick up some bread and allowed him to drive his truck to the store, forgetting he’d attached his dog to the trailer hitch.
Both men were interviewed, but their names were redacted from the report made public Monday.
The driver told deputies that when he arrived at the store and went inside to get the bread, a woman came in yelling at him to go back out.
He said he went out and saw the dog in the parking lot, bleeding severely. At that point, he said, the large crowd began to converge around him, yelling, so he picked up the dog, put in him the back of the truck and drove back to the residence.
Witnesses said the driver went back into the store after he saw the dog, but that information was not in the report.
The reporting officer did say the dog, which was dead, had been severely injured with road rash and lacerations — but he noticed two other dogs on the property that appeared to be in good health.
PETA: Georgia laws should still apply
Bell said animal cruelty laws in Georgia are on the books to make people aware they have a responsibility in these kinds of situations.
“This is precisely why laws exist to protect animals,” she said. “The Georgia anti-cruelty statute, in our opinion, should apply here.”
Based on witness accounts PETA has heard, she said, the report left out some important details and “we’re still in the process of digging deeper.”
She said the idea that the owner forgot about tying the dog to the bumper and the driver of the truck didn’t see it “just doesn’t hold water. It’s hard to imagine that no one noticed the dog while the dog was being dragged.”
Bell said misdemeanor animal cruelty charges could be brought even if there was no malicious intent.
ARF volunteer Traci Ball said while she believes the incident could have been an accident, she still thinks the driver was neglectful based on eyewitness accounts.
“I can see that happening,” she said. “It was an awful, terrible, tragic accident. But what happened next is, in my opinion, neglectful.”
Ball said she was referring to accounts that the driver came outside and witnessed the injured dog, but then went back inside the store to retrieve his groceries.
Having been in touch with a Dollar General employee, Ball said store surveillance footage indicates the driver was notified about the dog at 7:12 p.m., went back in the store at 7:14 p.m. to allow a cashier to ring up his merchandise and drove away by 7:25 p.m., after loading the dog into the truck.
“I can’t say it wasn’t an accident,” Ball said. “We have to be fair and it was an old truck, it was probably loud. But… why was there no attempt for medical treatment for the dog? To me, that’s a classic case of animal neglect.”
Ball said she had talked to a family member of the dog owner, and ARF is in the process of organizing a memorial walk for the dog sometime this week — following the trail of dried blood on the road.
“We want people to know this wouldn’t be a protest or anything confrontational,” she said. “This would be a moment to remember the dog, who I believe was called ‘Bear.’”
WHOM TO CONTACT
Sheriff Clark Millsap, email@example.com
Dear Sheriff Millsap,
I am gravely concerned that charges are not being filed against a man who dragged his dog behind his truck, causing fatal injuries; this decision was based on the lack of evidence indicating intent in this barbaric crime. I am writing to respectfully remind people that a crime has been committed and that the man should be charged accordingly. Furthermore, it is impossible for anyone to determine what the dog felt, and we are obligated to conclude that it was certain pain and fear; indeed, misdemeanor animal cruelty charges could be brought even if there was no malicious intent.
Please allow me to validate my concerns: when I try to imagine what possible motive animal abusers entertain for subjecting their animal victims to such malicious, heinous acts of brutality, I fail, but I am thankful for a lack of cognitive understanding and rationalization. To engage in such malevolent behaviour absolutely suggests sociopathic and sadistic tendencies and demonstrates an incontrovertible lack of morality regarding other living beings and a gross disrespect for the law. In fact, a person who shows such a remarkable lack of compassion towards animals has, disturbingly enough, the ability to show such indifference towards humans. This link between animal and human abuse has been established, and if we excuse or ignore this dog’s violent killing, we would be serving an injustice to both animals and society: those responsible for such heinous acts against animals will many times escalate towards human animals.
Please respect the victim by penalizing the guilty and demonstrate your commitment to justice, responsibility, and integrity, attributes unquestionably necessary in an law enforcement setting: rejecting cruelty by maintaining an unyielding position towards it would be a model for all community members and would serve to characterize this type of behaviour as both impermissible and punishable.
Thank you for your attention to this urgent appeal.
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i am an innocent dog.
this was no way to die.
in the worst of agonies,
all ignored my cries.
and to further the misery
that i felt.
a harsh blow of injustice was
there is one thing
also very clear,
being dragged to death
is animal cruelty,
there should be
Karen Lyons Kalmenson