*Warning: This article contains graphic images that may not be suitable for all readers.
Hazel Grace is a tiny little Terrier mix that was found terribly abused in the Missouri Bootheel, late in the fall of 2014. She was rescued after a citizen witnessed her being punched and kicked by a group of children. (See update note at the end of the article.)
Once rescued it was discovered that not only had Hazel Grace been beaten but she had been terribly burned throughout her lower end genital area to the point that her prognosis was grim.
Hazel Grace’s injuries were so severe that her flesh was literally rotting and falling away and she had many open and weeping sores throughout the burned areas of her body. It is unbelievable the pain that this poor pup had endured.
Transferred to Trio Animal Foundation, Hazel Grace began what turned into months of intensive medical care including treatment for severe infection and multiple skin grafts to repair the damaged tissue where she had been so severely burned. Life was touch and go for Hazel Grace more times than not.
But through it all, Hazel Grace has persevered. She has fought pain and emotional distress that none of us may ever realize. As she continues to heal she remained loving pup that wants nothing more than the love and attention of those around her.
During her treatment and recovery, Trio Animal Foundation and others have fought to get justice for Hazel Grace who suffered such extreme abuse at the hands of her original owners. In the state of Missouri a rare few animals abuse cases are ever prosecuted and even when they are, the punishment never seems to be enough to fit the crime.
In the case of Hazel Grace, owner Sharon Johns of Malden, Mo. was charged with two counts of animal abuse which is a misdemeanor offense in the state of Missouri. A hearing was set for Jan. 29, 2015.
578.012. Animal abuse–penalties
1. A person is guilty of animal abuse when a person:
(1) Intentionally or purposely kills an animal in any manner not allowed by or expressly exempted from the provisions of sections 578.005 to 578.023 and 273.030, RSMo;
(2) Purposely or intentionally causes injury or suffering to an animal; or
(3) Having ownership or custody of an animal knowingly fails to provide adequate care or adequate control.
Appearing at the Jan. 29 hearing was Johns accompanied by her attorney. The case was set for a bench trial now scheduled for May 5, 2015, and will be heard by Judge John C. Spielman.
Johns, if found guilty, faces a fine of up to $1000.00 and/or imprisonment for a period of up to one year.
It is the hope of animal rescuers, and citizens all over the state of Missouri, that the prosecutor and judge in this case will punish the abuser of Hazel Grace to the fullest extent of the law, sending a message, loud and clear, that abuse of defenseless animals will no longer be tolerated.
To voice your opinion or concern in the case of Hazel Grace, and animals like her, you are encouraged to contact Dunklin County Prosecuting Attorney, Jeff McCormick at P.O. Box 864, Kennett, MO 63857. Telephone (573) 888-6676- Facsimile (573)888-6677
When submitting your letter please refer to case 14DU-CR01452 – ST V SHARON JOHNS.
Please remember to keep your correspondence civilized and respectful.
To Read more about the case of Hazel Grace, please check out Trio Animal Foundation on Facebook. Hazel Grace’s story starts with TAF here.
The Trio Animal Foundation is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization that assists shelters, rescues and individuals by paying the medical bills of homeless pets. TAF also promotes adoption and responsible pet ownership, including spay and neutering.
You can also find an online petition to support the prosecution of Sharon Johns by clicking here.
UPDATE: It is important to note that the abuse that was inflicted on Hazel Grace was perpetrated by children. It remains unclear whether they were the children of the accused or simply kids from the neighborhood. Either way, Johns did not stop the attack, report the abuse, nor did she attempt to get Hazel Grace the medical attention she needed.