(FL - US) Man steals dog out of yard, drags her from his car along
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Mon Jun 9 08:42:47 EDT 2003
Pup hurt after haul behind Chevy
By JAMIE JONES, Times Staff Writer
© St. Petersburg Times
published June 7, 2003
A.J. Cowell, 17, and another teen jumped in front of Sanders' car. James Sanders, 49, faces felony charges of animal cruelty.
[Times photo: Janel Schroder-Norton]
Ruby, a 7-month old red vizsla, lost 85 percent of the padding on her paws, but veterinarians think it'll grow back.
HUDSON - Ruby is gentle, friendly, unabashed in soliciting pats and affection, quietly whimpering if no one will take her outside to play.
Ruby likely was pleased on Thursday afternoon when a man walked over to her family's yard on Cornell Court. Ruby was outside alone, chained to a rock, as her family ate pork chops inside.
The puppy's owners did not hear their neighbor pick up Ruby's chain and lead her across the street. They did not hear Ruby bark. They believe she probably followed along eagerly, wagging her tail.
Sheriff's deputies said James Curtis Sanders, 49, of 12614 Cornell Court, hooked Ruby's chain to his 1982 Chevrolet Chevette and then dragged Ruby through the neighborhood until two teenagers jumped in front of his car and ordered Sanders to stop.
The teens took Ruby home, her paws bloody, and contacted the puppy's owner after looking at her tag.
"I don't know how you could do it," Ruby's owner, Christopher Nelson, said on Friday. "There's no excuse."
According to neighbors and sheriff's deputies, here's what happened:
Sonya Berry, who also lives on Cornell Court, was outside watching her five baby kittens wobble through the yard when she saw Sanders crouch down in his driveway with Ruby, a 7-month-old red vizsla.
Berry thought nothing of it until she saw Sanders attach Ruby's chain to his car.
Sanders backed out of his driveway, almost ran over Ruby, then punched his gas, Berry said.
"His car started zooming real fast, like he put his foot all the way down on the pedal," she said. "The dog was running at top speed."
Around the corner, Berry's niece caught sight of Ruby and the Chevette.
"She said the dog was flying in the air, landing down and trying to run with the car," Berry said.
Sanders continued driving, heading west on Country Club Road toward U.S. 19 at 5:20 p.m., an arrest report states.
Ruby had stopped running by the time 17-year-old A.J. Colwell caught sight of her on Country Club Road. Colwell noticed that the dog's chain was attached to the car, appearing to be shut in the driver's door.
As the Chevette neared, traveling about 30 mph, Colwell jumped in front of it. He asked Sanders why he was dragging the dog.
"It's not my f------ dog," Sanders replied, according to the arrest report.
Colwell and his friends ordered Sanders to let the dog go, and he did, the report states.
Ruby lay in the road for a moment and then rose on shaky paws, Colwell said. She followed the teens home, leaving bloody footprints along the road.
When her owner got the telephone call, he raced over in his pickup truck.
"She was happy to see me," Nelson said.
He lifted Ruby into his truck, took her home and called the Sheriff's Office.
Sanders returned shortly after, walking inside his house with a six pack of beer, Nelson said.
Deputies arrived and arrested Sanders on a felony charge of animal cruelty. He remained in the Land O'Lakes jail Friday, held on $2,500 bond.
On Friday, Ruby sat on a couch in her family's living room, resting, wagging her tail. She stayed home all day with Tommie and Elvis, the family cats.
Ruby got a puppy painkiller from the veterinarian, Nelson said. She lost about 85 percent of the padding on her paws, but doctors think it will grow back, Nelson said.
He said he hardly knows his neighbor and does not understand why he wanted to hurt Ruby.
"She's like a kid," he said. "She's sweet-tempered. She doesn't hurt anyone. It's like chaining a kid to a car and dragging them down the road."
Colwell, and other teens in the neighborhood, were glad to hear that Ruby was doing fine.
"That's one tough little pup," Colwell said.
- Jamie Jones covers crime in Pasco County. She can be reached in west Pasco at 869-6245 or toll-free at 1-800-333-7505, ext. 6245. Her e-mail address is jjones at sptimes.com
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