Justice for Wanda

February 16th, 2012 by Doll Stanley


Precious Wanda and her sister were barricaded in the kitchen of their home and abandoned. A neighbor responded to the putrid smell emitted from the house and a sighting of Wanda trying to get out of the kitchen window. He broke into the house and discovered Wanda, starved, dehydrated, and forced to consume her dead sibling to survive. 

The Grenada, Mississippi animal control officer (ACO) took Wanda to be euthanized. The vet called In Defense of Animals’ Hope Animal Sanctuary (IDA-HAS) to see if we could help. IDA-HAS Director Doll Stanley took guardianship of Wanda and accompanied ACO Trey Waters to the scene of the investigation. After documenting evidence of cruelty, IDA pushed for prosecution. This Tuesday, just days after Wanda’s full recovery and adoption, her abuser was convicted of animal cruelty. Nakiyeh L. Townsend was found guilty by her own testimony.

Municipal Court Judge Jimmy Vance convicted Townsend of depriving Wanda of food and water and the death of her sister. Judge Vance chastised Townsend for the woeful neglect of her animals, asked her how she’d feel if he had her jailed and the jailer forgot to feed her, and told her he would have given her a 30 day jail sentence if she had counsel. He fined her $1,109 and advised her not to keep any more animals. This was a huge verdict for this jurisdiction in which the ACO had little confidence of a conviction and hadn’t been trained to investigate, document, or file a cruelty case. 

In other news, IDA’s Hope Animal Sanctuary completed another successful journey to Every Creature Counts in Ft. Lupton, Colorado. This transport was the opportunity for a lifetime in a loving home for 72 dogs and 3 cats. Sixty animals were adopted this weekend.

Among the cats was St. James, rescued in the seizure of 13 animals from a Carroll County hoarder. Puppy, Iceman and his 7 siblings were abandoned at IDA-HAS while staff was in town for supplies. Greta, Hamilton, and their 7 siblings were rescued from beneath a discarded slab of cement at the edge of the Carrollton, Miss. grammar school parking lot. Gillespie was accidentally run over by a truck. His surgery and recovery were in the hands of a MSU veterinary team. Dr. Bushby sought and delivered a fund to cover the cost of Gillespie’s recovery. 

Tuesday was also a wonderful day for the 27 dogs and cats we took in since our return from Colorado Friday. The MSU student surgery team provided spays and neuters, freeing them from the heartaches of breeding – the many puppies and kittens they may have lost to starvation, parasite infestation, and the many other horrid deaths that await homeless animals.