In Defense of Animals, the international animal protection organization operating Hope Animal Sanctuary and Justice for Animals Campaign in Mississippi announced that Crystal Springs Municipal Judge Jeff Varas bound over Daniel Berthelette to a grand jury to face felony animal cruelty charges for dragging his neighbor’s dog to death.
Press release from “In Defense of Animals”:
On Sept. 14, the Crystal Springs Police Department (CSPD) arrested Daniel Berthelette for wrapping a wire around his neighbor’s dog’s neck, George, attaching it to his truck, and dragging George to death.
Witnesses to the merciless crime reported the description of the truck and driver to the CSPD.
Witness Chris Wright testified that he saw Berthelette driving in front of him, pulling a trailer. He stated he could see something from the back of the trailer, and there appeared to be ears. Wright drove up further. Berthelette had stopped and was trying to unravel the bailing wire around the dog, who looked up at Wright and moaned. Berthelette couldn’t get the wire loose, and when Wright asked what he was doing, he got no answer. Wright got something from his truck to cut this dog loose, but Berthelette got back in his truck and exclaimed, “I hate that fucking dog” and drove off.
Berthelette then attempted to dispose of George’s body in a city dumpster. City employees stopped him and later identified him to law enforcement and presented in court.
In Defense of Animals contacted George’s guardians, the Bush family, to assist them in gaining justice for the horrendous killing of their companion and best buddy to the son.
Doll Stanley, In Defense of Animals’ Justice for Animals Senior Campaigner, attended court in support of justice and the Bush family mourning the loss of George.
Crystal Springs Mayor Sally Garland, who personally launched an investigation with Public Works Director Russell Brewer to successfully identify the perpetrator, was delighted to see Stanley present in court.
“We are a small city, we want word to get out and make the perpetrator famous. We are thankful In Defense of Animals is involved because we just don’t have that kind of network or resources. I have heard of Doll Stanley and I knew that In Defense of Animals does very good work. We need justice, so when I saw her there, I felt relieved because I knew something’s going to be done. “We are mortified and our hearts are broken over the very idea that someone could tie a wire around a dog’s neck and drag him. No one should think that they can ever drag a dog and get away with it.”
Stanley communicated with Mayor Garland and City Prosecutor John Brock Campbell that it was likely that Berthelette was mistakenly charged under the Mississippi Dog and Cat Pet Protection Law of 2011. However, the law was amended in 2020, but has not yet been updated in Miss. code books. Aggravated cruelty to a dog or a cat is a felony under § 97-41-16. Maliciously injuring dogs or cats.
“The details of George’s grisly death are heartbreaking — he must have suffered terribly,” said Stanley. “We are grateful to Crystal Springs Mayor Garland, City Prosecutor Campbell, Public Works Director Brewer, and Crystal Springs Police Department for tracking down the perpetrator and recognizing the serious nature of this incident. People who harm animals are dangerous to the entire community. I intend to see justice for George, his family, and all animals of Mississippi.”
“If you have animals, please watch over them carefully because abusers are out there. Please do everything in your power to protect them from harm, as you do with the rest of your family,” added Stanley.
In Defense of Animals will follow this case with the Bush family as they recover from their cruel loss. It is paramount that individuals who harm any sentient creature be recognized for their crime against society and prevented from harming other animals and vulnerable humans in the future.
In Defense of Animals is an international animal protection organization based in Marin Co., California, with over 250,000 supporters and a 39-year history of fighting for animals, people, and the environment through education and campaigns, as well as hands-on rescue facilities in India, South Korea, and rural Mississippi. www.idausa.org/justice4animals