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Charges upgraded to include felony animal cruelty for man who dragged dog

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UPDATED DECEMBER 17, 2013 6:25p.m. Justice for Andra Grace tells how Roger Owens was driving under suspension at the time of his arrest stating

"Roger Owens was placed under arrest on December 17, 2013 and at the time of his arrest was caught driving under suspension. Owens is currently being held in the Greenville County Detention Center awaiting bond."

Charges have been upgraded for the Marietta, SC man accused of dragging a dog, Fox Carolina reported December 17.

It was announced today by Deputy Omar Yahya with the Greenville County Sheriff's Office that Roger Dennis Owens of Marietta, who was charged with dragging a dog named Andra Grace, has now been charged with felony ill treatment of animals.

Animal lovers worldwide were shocked that Owens received a uniform ordinance summons for animal cruelty, which carries a $125 fine. After completing their investigation, Owens was charged not only with felony animal cruelty, he was also charged with two counts of driving under suspension and two counts of being a habitual offender.

Owens received a $30,000 surety bond and a $10,000 bond for the ill treatment of animals charge, Greenville County Magistrate's Office reported. He also had a $5,000 bond for each of the remaining four charges.

According to South Carolina animal cruelty laws

"Whoever tortures, torments, needlessly mutilates, cruelly kills, or inflicts excessive or repeated unnecessary pain or suffering upon any animal or by omission or commission causes the acts to be done.” This is a felony punishable by imprisonment of not less than 180 days and not to exceed 5 years AND a fine of $5000."

Since Owens has a 2005 conviction for malicious animal cruelty, hopefully he can be prosecuted as a repeat offender and be sentenced to the maximum stated in South Carolina law.

Andra Grace's Facebook page listed the punishment for the crimes Roger Owens now has to face.

*Felony III Treatment of animal- faces 180 days to 5 years in prison
*DUS 2nd DUI related- 60 days to 6 months in prison
*Habitual Offender- Felony up to 5 years per charge

This Examiner article gives a quick run-down of Owen's criminal record.

Greenville County Solicitor Walk Wilkins announced on December 3 that an investigation would be conducted and Owens would be charged if the investigation turned up additional crimes.

Social media played a major role in Owens being charged with a crime that resulted in more than a mere fine. Petitions were started and the solicitor's office was flooded with calls and email as animal lovers demanded justice for Andra Grace.

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