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The Franklin News-Post
P. O. Box 250
310 Main Street, SW
Rocky Mount, Virginia 24151
Fax: 540-483-8013

Hardy woman pleads guilty to animal cruelty
One dog euthanized, one dog is healing
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Courtesy Photo: “Mindy,” a young shepherd/collie mix, is responding well to treatment for mange at the Franklin County Humane Society.
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Friday, February 14, 2014

By KEN BRADLEY - Staff Writer

A Hardy woman was fined $150 last week for failing to provide her dog with needed veterinary care.

Jennifer Ann Butler, 42, was sentenced to six months in jail with all the time suspended after she pleaded guilty to one count of animal cruelty and one count of failing to provide needed veterinary care for a companion canine.

Two additional cruelty charges were dismissed.

Circuit Court Judge W.N. Alexander II ordered that Butler have no companion animals for two years, allow animal control to search her property and that she be of good behavior for two years.

Butler's attorney, Carolyn Furrow, told the court that Butler, a single mother of two children, works at a hospital as a custodian and she is currently in bankruptcy.

"She (Butler) was caught between a rock and a hard place and didn't have the money to take care of her dogs," Furrow told the judge.

"I realize now I can't afford animals," Butler told the judge.

Prosecutor Patrick Nix said Franklin County Animal Control was contacted Aug. 9 by a man who found a partially paralyzed dog near a creek in Hardy.

Cindy Brooks with animal control transported the lab/retriever mix, called "T-Bone," to the Franklin County Animal Hospital, Nix said, where he was examined by Dr. David Roth.

The veterinarian discovered two large masses (tumors) on the dog's left leg and right elbow, Nix said. The dog had no function in his rear legs.

The dog was also covered in maggots and fly eggs, Nix added.

The dog had to be euthanized because of his debilitated condition, Nix said.

The dog's old tag led to Butler, who was contacted by Brooks to inform her of the dog's fate, Nix said. Butler told Brooks she knew of the dog's condition and thought he had wandered off to die.

On Sept. 6, Brooks and Capt. Marvin Woods visited Butler's residence with photos to confirm the identity of the dog, Nix said. While there, the animal control officers learned that Butler had taken three more dogs to the Franklin County Humane Society, where one of the dogs was examined by Dr. Mary Beth Chaconas.

The veterinarian diagnosed "Mindy," a 2-year-old shepherd/collie mix, with mange due to an extreme loss of hair on her body, Nix said. The vet noticed the animal's skin was thickened and covered in scabs and wounds from the dog's scratching and biting.

Chaconas also noted that the dog's skin had an odor consistent with a secondary bacterial infection, Nix said. And the dog was underweight with ribs clearly visible.

Mindy responded well to treatment, Nix said. The other two dogs were taken to the animal shelter, but their conditions were not as severe as the other two.

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