Most people have no idea what could make someone abuse or neglect a defenseless animal.
However, one rescue team has been left completely baffled after discovering a family that treated one of their dogs like a princess, yet left the other to starve and die in the basement.
“It’s really an odd story. It’s almost a Cinderella story,” Macomb County Prosecutor Eric Smith said after rescuers discovered a Michigan family with two dogs, which were treated drastically different. Christopher Penn, his wife, Sonja Sturdivant, and her son, Demico Knight Jr., doted on their bulldog, yet kept their 7-year-old Shih Tzu named Elvira locked in the basement where she almost died.
“This poor dog was treated horrifically with no care,” Smith said. “This dog was tortured, abused, neglected.” When Macomb County Animal Control first got ahold of Elvira, her feces and dirt covered fur was so matted that it covered her face. It wasn’t until the team started shaving away the matted fur that they realized the extent of her suffering.
Elvira had a broken paw, which had been matted so badly that it fell off after being shaved. The team also discovered several other broken bones in her legs, which were bent from the matting, that were left untreated, deep skin ulcerations, pebbles in her stomach, and total blindness in one of her eyes.
“That dog was abused in every way possible, except its heart,” said Smith about the sweet dog who is now doing much better and is recovering with her foster family. Now, Smith is charging each of Elvira’s three original owners with torturing an animal, a four-year felony.
“One look at this poor creature will break your heart, and fill you with anger at the individuals who allowed this to take place,” Smith said. “From within, we should feel a sacred duty to nurture the animals in our care and shield them from harm. Cruelty and neglect on this scale shocks us to the core, and rest assured we will hold them accountable.”
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