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Rally on March 16 to ‘Save Alice’
March 10, 2011, Lyons, Ga. – Animal advocates will hold a rally next week to ask that a 6-year-old pit bull nicknamed “Alice” be given her day in court.
The rally will be held from 4-5:30 p.m. on Wednesday, March 16 at the Toombs County Courthouse, 100 Courthouse Square, Lyons, Ga.
Ralliers plan to present Chief Magistrate John "Chip" Matheson with a petition signed by more than 25,000 people asking him to hold an animal cruelty hearing against Delois Hayward.
Hayward owns the dog whom animal advocates found in January living in a wooden box with a feces-encrusted floor with only algae-covered water to drink and white bread thrown on the ground to eat.
A Toombs County Sheriff’s Office deputy accompanied Scott Bennett, director of Southern Comfort Animal Rescue, to the scene on Feb. 1 to document the conditions, but Magistrate Matheson told Bennett he would throw out any charges filed.
Under Georgia state statutes:
A person commits the offense of cruelty to animals when he/she causes death or unjustifiable physical pain or suffering to any animal by an act, an omission, or willful neglect. (O.C.G.A. §16-12-4)
“We believe that Alice’s living conditions did not constitute sanitary shelter, adequate food and water, or adequate heat, and therefore constitutes animal cruelty under Georgia law,” Bennett said.
People across the country and world have agreed, and gotten involved to ask that Alice be released to an animal rescue. More than 25,000 people have signed an online petition asking for charges to be filed: http://www.change.org/petitions/save-alice-aka-the-dog-in-the-box
Advocates ask that Matheson guarantee a hearing will take place if charges are filed; that temporary custody of Alice be given to a reputable animal rescue; and that a third-party veterinarian be allowed to examine Alice to determine if she is healthy.
Since media reports focused on Alice’s living conditions, her owners have moved her to a chain-link kennel. While this is an improvement, Bennett said, he is still worried about Alice’s well-being.
According to veterinary reports, Alice was diagnosed on Feb. 3 with heartworm, a disease that can be fatal without treatment. Vet records obtained by the rescue show her owners received an estimate for treatment but does not show that any treatment was purchased.
“We just want Magistrate Matheson’s word that if we file a complaint, a hearing will be held,” Bennett said. “We want a chance to discuss the facts of the case, instead of fighting just to be heard.”