MEDIA RELEASE: Justice Not Served for TX Pup Cooked Alive by Sun

MEDIA RELEASE: Justice Not Served for TX Pup Cooked Alive by Sun

BEAUMONT, Texas (June 28, 2023)In Defense of Animals is appalled at the sentencing of a Texas woman who pled guilty to crating her daughter’s puppy on her driveway in the sweltering heat, causing her to die of heatstroke. 

Video (distressing):

On June 26, Michelle Marie Bradford was sentenced to 10 years of incarceration for the puppy’s agonizing death; however, she will only serve 10 years of probation. She may not purchase, own, possess, or care for any animal during the term of her probation and must undergo mental health and substance abuse evaluations. 

In Defense of Animals sent a letter to District Attorney Bob Wortham supporting the prosecution of Bradford signed by 15,669 concerned citizens, asking that she receive no plea deal. It’s a grave disappointment that Bradford essentially got a deal, and nothing but a slap on the proverbial wrist.

On July 13, 2022, Groves Police Department, Sgt. John Hudson received a report of a puppy dying in the sun. His officers and Groves Animal Control Officer S. Esquivel responded to the report that a puppy lay dead in an uncovered crate with an empty bowl. According to police, it was 94 degrees that day with a heat advisory in effect; the heat index was between 108 and 112 degrees when the call for help came in.

A video capturing the puppy's last moments was taken by neighbor Heather Gay’s 10-year-old stepson. In the video, the puppy was screaming and rolling on her back. The boy was afraid to approach the driveway because his stepmother had experienced a previous confrontation with Bradford. In less than a half-an-hour, it was too late to save the puppy. She lay dead in her metal tomb.

At the time of the investigation, Bradford claimed that she did not know that her daughter had dropped her grandson and the pup off earlier. She later came clean and said she simply forgot the puppy was outside. Post necropsy, Officer Esquivel told KFDM news that the puppy's internal body temperature was still 106 degrees hours after her death. He described an agonizing death as the puppy cooked in the sun.

Detective Mark Blum and Lieutenant Detective Robert Phillips completed the investigation, and Jefferson County District Attorney Bob Wortham accepted the third-degree felony cruelty to a non-livestock animal charge, which carries a two to ten-year sentence. On September 1, 2022, Honorable Judge Benjamin Collins issued an arrest warrant for Bradford. She was transported to the Jefferson County Correctional Facility. Though she bonded out, she was ordered to wear an ankle bracelet.

“Though unintentional, this puppy suffered horribly and died as a result. Bradford’s excuse that she forgot the puppy only reflects her lack of forethought and concern for the puppy's welfare. Individuals who place animals in intrinsically harmful circumstances aren’t just negligent; they are culpable for their cruel actions, and we fight for justice for their victims. There is no excuse for disregarding the welfare of an animal. Animal laws must be applied evenly so guardians take their responsibilities seriously,” stated Doll Stanley, In Defense of Animals’ Justice for Animals Senior Campaigner.


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

VIDEO (distressing) provided to Animal Victory by Heather Gay/recorded by her 10-year-old stepson:




RE: There’s No Excuse for Leaving a Puppy in the Sweltering Sun to Die

I am writing in regard to the case involving Michelle Bradford, who was arrested in September 2022 and charged with felony cruelty for leaving a puppy in a crate in the sun to die a slow painful death from heatstroke in July 2022.

I’m extremely grateful that your office has accepted the felony charge, and I urge you to seek the maximum penalties during sentencing, and also that you please ensure that Bradford cannot be responsible for animals in the future or live with them.

Besides jail and fines, which I feel are warranted in this extreme case of animal cruelty, I am hoping that a mental evaluation and counseling can also be recommended during sentencing.

Thank you for your kind consideration of this important matter.

15,669 In Defense of Animals supporters

In Defense of Animals is an international animal protection organization with over 250,000 supporters and a 40-year history of defending animals, people and the environment through education and campaigns, as well as hands-on rescue facilities in India, South Korea, California and rural Mississippi.


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