Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Susie's Law: Justice Served

 Meet Susie. In August of 2009, Susie, a pitbull/shepherd mix puppy, was beaten so badly her jaw was shattered, then she was doused with lighter fluid and set on fire. Somehow Susie managed to run away from LaShawn Whitehead, the person who had horrifically abused her. Two weeks later, a man walking his dogs in a local park discovered Susie. She was deeply burned over half her body, her ears had been torched off, and she was covered in maggots. She was barely alive.

Susie was rescued from the park and received top notch medical treatment while in the care of the Guilford County Animal Shelter. Amazingly, she survived her ordeal and was nursed back to health. Susie was eventually adopted by a Donna Lawrence, a wonderful woman. But what happened to Susie's abuser?

Nothing. Lashawn Whitehead eventually was found guilty of burning personal property--Susie--and because of the laws on the books at the time, he was given a suspended sentence and probation. That was the extent of punishment an animal abuser could receive.

A tidal wave of outrage spread across North Carolina, where Susie had been tortured, and spread across the region. Backed by concerned citizens, Donna Lawrence and Susie became the focal point of a campaign to change animal cruelty laws in North Carolina. Their efforts were rewarded when a  law was passed that addressed both animal abuse and neglect. The malicious abuse, torture, or killing of an animal became a Class H felony and a stiffer penalty for intentional starvation of an animal was enacted.

In June 2010  Donna Lawrence and Susie were  present when the new law, dubbed "Susie's Law" was signed by the governor. The penalties attached to Susie's Law went into effect in December 2010.

Susie was one of the lucky ones; she survived and is thriving under the loving care of  her owner. Across North Carolina countless animals have silently suffered and died due to cruelty, neglect, torture, starvation, and dehydration. Now and finally, their torment has a face and their plight has been witnessed.

And now, justice will be served: 


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