MEDIA RELEASE: Neighbor Who Dragged Family’s Dog to Death Faces Preliminary Hearing Ahead of Grand Jury
CRYSTAL SPRINGS, Miss. (Oct. 31, 2022) — In Defense of Animals, the international animal protection organization operating Hope Animal Sanctuary in Carroll County and Justice for Animals Campaign based in Montgomery County, commends Crystal Springs Municipal Judge Jeff Varas for continuing the case so that Daniel Berthelette’s misdemeanor charge could be amended to a felony. Berthelette’s preliminary hearing will assuredly determine that he is bound over to the grand jury for an indictment of felony aggravated animal cruelty. Berthelette is charged with dragging his neighbor’s dog to death on Sept. 6, 2022.
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 their dog, George.
Crystal Springs Mayor Sally Garland was delighted to see Doll Stanley of In Defense of Animals present in court. “We are a small city, we wanted 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.”
Mayor Garland personally launched an investigation with Public Works Director Russell Brewer to successfully identify the perpetrator.
“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,” said Mayor Garland. “No one should think that they can ever drag a dog and get away with it.”
On Sept. 14, the Crystal Springs Police Department arrested Daniel Berthelette for wrapping a wire around the neck of his neighbor’s dog, 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. At one point, Berthelette was seen stopping to exit his vehicle, presumably to ensure he had killed George.
It’s unknown if George was dead at that time. Berthelette drove on and attempted to dispose of George’s body in a city dumpster. City employees denied Berthelette's disposal of George and later identified Berthelette 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. Stanley learned that Berthelette was inappropriately charged with a misdemeanor which should have been a felony.
Stanley communicated with Mayor Garland and City Prosecutor John Brock Campbell that it was likely that Berthelette was mistakenly charged under the 2011 Dog and Cat Protection Law, not the 2020 passage of amendments to the statute, which 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 unwarranted killing of a neighbor’s companion animal is troubling enough; it’s unthinkable that anyone would wantonly choose such a vile manner to kill any animal,” 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. Animal advocates 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.”
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.
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Images (free for use with credit to the Bush Family): https://bit.ly/Justice4GeorgePix
Contact: Doll Stanley, email@example.com, (662) 809-4483
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
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