Adoptive Family Celebrates Dog Abuser’s Conviction

“Just because Bella was saved doesn’t mean we give a free pass to the person who took her to the brink of death, chained her to the fence and watched her wilt away.”

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When two-year-old pit bull Bella was found chained up outside in the Florida heat last summer, she weighed a frightening 23 pounds.  Her owner was arrested, and she recovered and was adopted.  On Tuesday her loving family rejoiced when her negligent caretaker was convicted on felony animal cruelty.

Last June, Palm Beach County Animal Care and Control received a tip about badly malnourished, chained-up dog behind a house in Delray Beach.  Officers were told by resident Anthony Herring that “the dog belonged to a friend of a friend named Jay in drug Rehab.”

The man said he’d been watching the dog for over a month, and that she was sick and wasn’t eating, despite his efforts to feed her.  However, upon her surrender, she was examined and it was determined that while indeed, she did have intestinal parasites, she was indubitably able to eat.

“She was near dead. Another two days she would have been dead,” said new mom Crystal Barany.

Poor Bella was so weak she couldn’t even stand.

“I did not allow her to starve,” Herring testified.  “She lost weight.”

He claimed that in the six months he had her, her weight plunged despite his attempts to feed her soft food like grits.  Veterinarians found that Bella had hookworms, but there was absolutely no food in her stomach.

Veterinarian Stephanie Poole said that “there were no issues of her ability to eat,” and noted that Bella doubled her weight in less than two months after being rescued.”

Herring was charged with felony animal cruelty for starving Bella, and misdemeanor unlawful confinement for keeping her tethered.

“Our laws against animal cruelty are on the books to protect those who can’t protect themselves,” State Attorney Dave Aronberg told the jury. “Even though Bella survived, the crimes were committed and the defendant needs to be held accountable for his actions.”

Aronberg typically delegates trial duty to assistant prosecutors, but as he has a rescued Bassett hound, he feels a personal connection with animal abuse cases.

“The defendant took a normal, playful dog and chained her to a fence, deprived her of proper food and water and turned her into a skeleton covered over with bug-infested skin,” he said. “Bella suffered for way too long and miraculously she survived.”


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“Sadly, many cases of animal cruelty end in a painful death.  Weak, bug-infested and tied down, Bella was about to become another statistic, until someone cared enough to call Animal Care and Control, who then saved Bella and changed this from a tragic tale to one with a happy ending.”

Bella’s new family didn’t even realize that there was so much hubbub surrounding the case.

“I was shocked, I didn’t know there was that much attention,” Barany said.  “I just thought I was … doing a good deed taking this dog into my home.”

Aronberg’s presence in the case has understandably drawn some attention, which is exactly what he wants.

“We’re going to do everything we can to protect the most vulnerable amongst us, whether it’s children … or animals,” he said.

“It’s important that we set the standard to show this community is going to have zero tolerance for animal abuse.  We’re not going to turn a blind eye to this, we’re not going to look away. We’re going to prosecute this and we’re going to make a statement.”

The trial lasted for three days, and the jury took less than 40 minutes to convict Herring of the charges.

“I was shaking and then when I heard guilty – I got teary-eyed,” said Barany.  “It’s really sad but it’s justice for her and an example set for any other animals abused or neglected, and maybe people will see that we’re taking it seriously,”

She celebrated by buying Bella three new stuffed animals.

“She likes stuffed animals, she likes tennis balls – pretty much anything,” her mom said.

Herring will receive his sentence in August.  Because Bella survived, the maximum sentence he can receive is one year.

“Today Bella is a happy, healthy dog adopted by a loving family,” Aronberg said. “But just because Bella was saved doesn’t mean we give a free pass to the person who took her to the brink of death, chained her to the fence and watched her wilt away.”


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207 thoughts on “Adoptive Family Celebrates Dog Abuser’s Conviction

  1. Bella had to die for this DB to get more time?? There is something wrong with that. Her living through hell and surviving does not make it any less punishable?? WTH??

  2. He may only get one year in jail, but he’ll fry in hell forever. Thank you to her new, loving family for taking great care of beautiful Bella.

  3. Its awesome to see some actual felony charges. Most abuse goes undiscovered and or the perps get away. Most that get caught get a slap on the wrist. Charges or not, know that God is watching.

  4. Great news, but 1 year is not enough! That scum should rot in jail for so much longer. Other felons tend not to like child molesters and animal abusers, so this guy needs more time in for proper punishment.

  5. Why are these bastards get a dog if they will just abuse them???? I hope he’ll get his share in jail by Bubba in the shower!!!!!!!!!!! Poor baby, I’m happy she is healthy and living a good life now!

  6. Well done to the good guys. I hope they throw her former owner in the slammer perferably chained to their cell and throw away the key.

  7. This is Pebbles i rescued her today afternoon at a river ,she jumped in my car and i could not let her go , i dont know what to do i have more dogs i’m looking for a foster o forever home but for now keep taking care of her and put her in good condition

  8. THANKYOU so much from the UK for rescuing her I am overjoyed to hear that the previous owner has been punished but I hope he/ she rots for eternity

  9. Make me so angry sad, every day i read about abuse to animals, vhat kind o person do such things!!! No empati what so ever! Animals who only vant be loved!!! Its so terrible and make me sick!! Poor little baby glad they found you and your safe now. <3

  10. It’s nice to finally hear of someone being convicted in an animal abuse/neglect case. Nothing happened to that woman that shot a cat with an arrow! I really think he should get more than the max of a year in prison, but I guess it’s a start. This country really needs to take animal abuse more seriously.

  11. She is such a beauty! I wonder why they wait a month to sentence him. I hope he gets the maximum, even though I that’s not enough!

  12. Beautiful girl! So happy she has found a new home with people who love her..She will never be hungry or neglected again! Thank you for saving her..

  13. It too a whole year to prosecute the slimeball? Wish they could throw him in jail and toss away the key. Tie him up in the Florida sun with no food or water. Have him get some perspective. So glad to see that he is the beautiful dog that he should be. Bless his caretakers.

  14. Would be great if animal abusers had mandatory mental health treatment of some sort. If not they may repeat this heartbreaking behavior…

  15. I lived in Florida for a few years and loved that they were so aggressive for the least infraction regarding a pet or animal. I wish every state had the same laws and ENFORCED them. Florida is about pets like Texas is about the Death Penalty, we got the laws, and we use ’em.

  16. Such a great, dramatic change for this precious girl! She is absolutely beautiful now! I am so happy for her that she now has a loving family!

  17. SO glad the asshole responsible for starving this dog was convicted!! And Bella is now safe, healthy & living with her loving fur-ever home!!

  18. Thank God for saving the beautiful animal and a great big thank you for convicting the piece of shit that did this to the dog.

  19. She looks fantastic, thankyou to the people who saved her, that sweet face when she was chained up. Original owner how could you?

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