Pair pleads not guilty to abuse of dog

By Jessica Cejnar, The Triplicate August 24, 2012 06:43 pm

A Crescent City pair pleaded not guilty Tuesday to two counts each of felony animal cruelty stemming from an incident that ultimately left their pit bull puppy without his front legs.

Authorities say Zachary Hinton and Sarah Anderson, both 20, took turns slamming their dog into the floor and failed to get him medical attention until months later.

The incident occurred in March after the couple’s 3-month-old puppy chewed up their couch while they were away, said Del Norte County District Attorney Jon Alexander. Hinton and Anderson turned the dog over to the Humane Society of Del Norte County on July 28.

On Tuesday, Hinton and Anderson appeared before Judge Leonard LaCasse, who on Friday had set their bail at $35,000 each. Hinton said he was able to post bail through his parents. Anderson was still in custody. Both were assigned a public defender to represent them.

If convicted, Hinton and Anderson each face up to three years in prison and $20,000 in fines, Alexander said. A trial readiness hearing is scheduled Sept. 10 and a preliminary hearing Sept. 11.

The dog, whom animal rescuers have named London, had been using his back legs to propel himself forward, dragging his face and upper body on the ground. Humane Society volunteers contacted Panda Paws Rescue, an in-home canine rescue organization in Vancouver, Wash., which rushed him into surgery.

Veterinarians were forced to amputate London’s two front legs due to the extent of his injuries.

According to Amanda Giese, founder of Panda Paws Rescue, London is doing well. He will be outfitted with a special wheelchair that will be painted and weatherproofed, and is currently receiving physical and swim therapy.