MEDIA RELEASE: Waynesboro Dog Starver Gets a Measure of Justice

MEDIA RELEASE: Waynesboro Dog Starver Gets a Measure of Justice

WAYNESBORO, Miss. (Dec. 19, 2022)In Defense of Animals, an international animal advocacy protecting animals in Mississippi, applauds Justice Court Judge Ralph Smith’s ruling on two chronically and critically neglected dogs. Doll Stanley, Senior Justice for Animals Campaigner for In Defense of Animals, attended court in support of the affiant and provided pertinent information on updated state statutes. 

On Nov. 16, witness Justin Dail contacted affiant Kristie Stokley, Director of Deogies Backyard Rescue, for help for dogs he witnessed declining from neglect over two months. One of the three dogs he’d witnessed declining was missing, one was thin, and one was emaciated. He had not even seen water for the dogs. He and his partner gave the dogs water through the cyclone fence they were confined in. Desperate for the water, the dogs stretched to lap it as it poured from the bottle.

Stokley twice communicated with Wayne County deputies regarding the dogs. She reported to In Defense of Animals that both deputies told her that the Sheriff’s Department didn’t deal with “stuff like that, ” and one deputy incorrectly advised it was sufficient as long as the dogs were fed once a week. Stokley informed the deputies that as law enforcers, it is their duty to respond to all crimes, including illegal animal cruelty. 

On Nov. 17, Deputy Lillian Poole accompanied Stokley on a wellness check for the dogs. Stokley was able to speak with Gerrica Busby’s mother who told Stokley six other dogs had died before calling Busby.

On the phone, Stokley presented Busby with the deplorable state of the dogs and pledged to provide veterinary care and rehabilitation if Busby surrendered the dogs to her. Reluctantly, Busby released the dogs. The veterinarian who attended to the 10-to-12-month-old dogs estimated that both were severely underweight. The female, now named Baby-G, weighed just a third of what she should be, at 14 pounds. The male, now named B-Boy, was also underweight at 27 pounds. Both should have weighed close to 40 pounds. 

Stokley filed an affidavit charging Busby with animal cruelty on Nov. 29.

Testimony and photos introduced by Stokley and Dail at the trial sealed Busby’s conviction. Busby’s court-appointed attorney informed Judge Smith she was invoking the Fifth Amendment. 

Judge Smith was direct in his condemnation of Busby’s neglect of her dogs. Busby was sentenced to three days of incarceration, a $725 fine, and 25 hours of community service. She was banned from possessing animals for five years.

Busby’s defense attorney pleaded for leniency, and asked that her conviction be remanded to the file if she complied with her sentencing. The request was denied. Reluctantly, Prosecutor Curtis Bates and Judge Smith agreed to allow Busby, with Stokley’s agreement, to work her community service and fine off performing duties at Deogies Backyard Rescue, where Busby’s two dogs ended up for rehabilitation. Busby was given a year to complete her sentence. 

Judge Smith clarified that if Busby failed to perform her duties, she would be “picked up and brought to jail.” Judge Smith was so appalled at the neglect of her dogs. He hesitated to give her this opportunity but advised her that this was an opportunity for her to learn how dogs would be cared for. In court, Prosecutor Bates addressed the need for education for deputies to learn how cruelty cases can be addressed. Stanley and Stokley offered to aid.

B-Boy and Baby-G are recovering and relishing a new life receiving the affection and needs all dogs deserve thanks to Deogies Backyard Rescue. 

“Justice Court Judge Ralph Smith’s actions have brought a measure of justice that should act as an example for all judges to follow.Too many law enforcers fail to comprehend their duty to enforce all laws. In Defense of Animals has worked with law enforcement agencies and within the judicial system for 30 years assisting with animal cruelty cases and sharing our knowledge of local, state, and federal laws,” said Stanley. “We share resources for law enforcement agencies that do not have budgets or facilities for animal care and offer training in law and investigation.”

In Defense of Animals is an international animal protection organization with over 250,000 supporters, and a 39-year history of defending animals, people, and the environment through education and campaigns, as well as hands-on rescue facilities in India, South Korea, and rural Mississippi.

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

In Defense of Animals is an international animal protection organization based in California with over 250,000 supporters and a 38-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.