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MEDIA RELEASE: Winona Man Convicted of Animal Cruelty for Tethering that Nearly Cost His Dog's Foot

MEDIA RELEASE: Winona Man Convicted of Animal Cruelty for Tethering that Nearly Cost His Dog's Foot

Winona, MS (February 26, 2020) – In Defense of Animals, the international animal protection organization that operates Hope Animal Sanctuary in Grenada, Mississippi, was represented yesterday in the Montgomery County Justice Court by In Defense of Animals’ Justice for Animals Campaign Director, Doll Stanley. Stanley was the affiant in the state’s case, Mississippi State v. Antonio Easterwood of Winona in Montgomery County.

Presiding Justice Court Judge Larry Bamberg found Antonio Easterwood guilty of causing his dog, Cisco, unjustifiable suffering, which nearly cost Cisco his foot. Easterwood was prosecuted under § 97-41-16, the state's dog and cat pet protection law. Simple animal cruelty carries a maximum penalty of $1,000 and or six months incarceration in the county jail.

Easterwood was sentenced to 90 days imprisonment. Because of a medical condition, the sentence was suspended with supervision, as long as he is not charged with animal cruelty again within a year. He will also pay a $1,286.75 fine.

“In Defense of Animals and the law enforcers who rescued Cisco hail Judge Bamberg for his zero tolerance for animal cruelty within his jurisdiction,” said Doll Stanley, In Defense of Animals’ Justice for Animals Campaign Director. “Cisco was in terrible pain and would have lost his leg if we hadn’t stepped in. Tethering animals is dangerous and cruel. We hope that city officials will act for Cisco and animals like him by banning animal tethering in Winona.”

On January 30, 2020, Judge Bamberg issued a seizure order under § 97-41-2, which authorizes the seizure of mistreated and neglected animals, for the criminal neglect of Cisco, who was reported to be chronically neglected, often without shelter, and entangled in a long cord. Cisco was injured and unable to reach a shelter he was given after previous complaints.

Before Cisco’s rescue, Winona Animal Care and Protection Officer (ACPO) Arlin Pearson received another complaint that he was entangled in his tether. Sheriff Jeff Tomkins promptly sent Montgomery County Deputy Marcus Rodriguez to serve the seizure order, and ACPO Pearson was approved to assist with removing and sheltering Cisco, as Montgomery County has no animal care facility.

Cisco’s body and left rear foot had become entangled in the thin cord with which he was tethered. In Defense of Animals’ Doll Stanley documented Cisco’s tethered hell, his poor physical condition, and the delicate tether removal operation.

Circulation to Cisco’s foot had been cut off. If Cisco had not been seized that morning, it is probable that his foot might have had to be amputated. Despite the pain he must have endured, this gentle dog sat motionless while his rescuers freed him. Cisco was taken to Winona Animal Clinic and his medical bills were covered by In Defense of Animals. Cisco is now at the Winona Animal Shelter being treated for heartworm. New guardians are eagerly waiting to give Cisco the life he deserves once his treatment is finished.

In Defense of Animals’ Justice for Animals Campaign Director, Doll Stanley regularly aids law enforcement with animal cruelty cases and was called on to file the criminal affidavit for the arrest of Cisco’s negligent guardian, Antonio Easterwood.

Tethering is often a danger to animals and people. In Defense of Animals is working with ACPO Pearson to include tethering restrictions in Winona’s animal ordinance.

In Defense of Animals works with officials and citizens in Mississippi and surrounding states by providing information on how to resolve recurring animal protection issues, including the revision and establishment of just and viable laws to protect animals and their environment.

February 2020 marks In Defense of Animals’ service in the state of Mississippi for 27 years.

Contact: Doll Stanley, doll@idausa.org, (662) 809-4483 

Images: http://bit.ly/WinonaDogTether

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In Defense of Animals is an international animal protection organization with over 250,000 supporters and a 37-year history of protecting animals’ rights, welfare, and habitats through education, campaigns, and hands-on rescue facilities in India, South Korea, and rural Mississippi. www.idausa.org

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