MEDIA RELEASE: Texas Man Sentenced For Animal Cruelty Over Hanging Death of Dog

MEDIA RELEASE: Texas Man Sentenced For Animal Cruelty Over Hanging Death of Dog

Fort Bend County, Texas (February 1, 2021)In Defense of Animals is appalled with the outcome of the trial of a family that was charged with animal cruelty for the death of their dog, who died entangled and suspended in the air by a tether and was left for days without access to food or water.

Last summer, a Comcast worker servicing a neighboring home spotted the dog in peril and rushed to save him. The dog was hanging in their yard by his leg, entangled with the cable he was tethered on. He was barely alive as the serviceman struggled to free him, but the frightened dog became aggressive. The serviceman alerted authorities, but by the time they arrived, the dog had died. 

On July 10, 2020, Juan Javier Lopez, his wife, Maria DeJesus Lopez, and their son, Alejandro Lopez were arrested by the Fort Bend County Precinct 3 Constable’s Office Anti-Animal Cruelty Task Force. The Lopez family admitted to not checking on their dog for three days, and each family member was charged with a count of Cruelty to a Non-Livestock Animals: Failure to Provide, a misdemeanor.

Court documents allege that the three family members, “did intentionally, knowingly, and recklessly confine an animal, namely a dog in cruel manner by tying the dog with wire cable and not checking on the dog for more than 72 hours, causing the dog to become suspended by the cable, and resulting in the dog’s death.” 

The charges against Maria and Alejandro were dismissed but on January 27, 2022, Juan Javier Lopez pled guilty and received the mere sentence of $805 in fine and court fees, a year probation, and was ordered to attend a court appointed class. 

More than 13,000 people signed a letter from In Defense of Animals calling for maximum sentencing in this case. 

“This poor dog’s story is a tragic example of why chaining dogs is cruel and dangerous. It’s horrifying to think about him being left in this condition for days, struggling with no hope of help, and no one caring that he had no food or water,” said Doll Stanley, In Defense of Animals' Justice for Animals Campaign Director. “We’re grateful to law enforcement and the judicial system for initially taking cases of animal cruelty like this seriously. While we hope this incident will raise more awareness about one of the many dangers of chaining dogs we are shocked that Mr. Lopez did not receive even three days of jail time, the time that his dog hung in agony. Keeping a dog chained is a hazard to your community and to your wallet since you can face fines for animal suffering or lawsuits for bite wounds. Dog chaining is just not worth it; please remove dogs from chains for your safety and theirs.”  


Contact: Doll Stanley,, (662) 809-4483 



In Defense of Animals is an international animal protection organization based in Marin, California, with over 250,000 supporters and a 39-year history of protecting animals’ rights, welfare, and habitats through education, campaigns, and its hands-on rescue facilities in India, South Korea, and rural Mississippi.

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