Lucy Cleveland’s statement that it must have been gang members who caused her puppy’s fatal injuries was lacking in credibility, the judge said in finding her guilty of animal cruelty Tuesday.
Richmond County Civil and Magistrate Presiding Judge H. Scott Allen sentenced Cleveland, 29, to 60 days in jail, the maximum possible for the city ordinance violation.
Cleveland’s young dog experienced a lot of suffering before he was found dead by a city animal control worker on April 20, said veterinarian Scarlett Timmons. She was so concerned that the puppy had been abused that she drove the dog to the University of Georgia in Athens to ensure the animal autopsy would stand up in court.
Timmons, of All God’s Creatures Veterinary Hospital, testified Tuesday that the puppy died a horrible death from sepsis, literally dying from the inside out. “It’s a very bad way to die,” she said.
The dog also suffered a dislocated hip, broken leg, fractured ribs and punched wounds to his forehead.
Two days before Charles Case Jr. found the puppy dead in Cleveland’s bathtub, he went to her home to investigate complaints the dog was being abused. The puppy was limping and he advised Cleveland she needed to take him for medical treatment.
A neighbor called Animal Control about the puppy. She had seen Cleveland beat the dog with her hands and once with a broomstick. On Easter Sunday, April 16, when she was getting ready for church, she heard Cleveland beating the dog again. This time the puppy was screaming like a human.
But Cleveland testified the neighbor never saw her abuse the dog because she never did. Gang members who were trying to force her to join their gang had kicked her dog. And the day the dog started limping she found him outside eating a pork chop with some jelly like substance on it, Cleveland said.
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