Nearly a week after the discovery of the smoldering remains of a burned Pit Bull puppy, Prichard, AL Animal Control Shelter Director Andrew Stubbs says the smell and sight of this gruesome scene lingers in his psyche and nostrils. Alleged perpetrator, Marketa Sharpe, was arrested on felony animal cruelty charges, jailed and bonded out earlier this week.
Today, Mobile County District Court officials advised that an arraignment date is scheduled for June 27, which will be heard in Mobile District Court - not in Prichard Municipal Court. A trial date will be set after Sharpe’s arraignment. Given the crime is considered a felony, the case could be bound over to the Grand Jury. Depending upon supporting evidence, the Grand Jury determines if an indictment will be handed down, and subsequently, the case would be heard in Alabama Circuit Court.
Many questions surround this horrific crime, for which Stubbs and local law enforcement are attempting to find answers. In an interview with Stubbs, he said that there is a strong possibility that this puppy was burned – tortured – because he either lost a fight, or would not fight.
“Every day, we see dogs who exhibit apparent dog bite wounds, many with critical injuries that appear to have been inflicted by humans. Some are routinely dumped in certain areas of the city, so badly injured they are unable to stand, some dead or dying. Others are dropped off during the night on the shelter’s steps, or tied to a tree in the yard, usually emaciated and bleeding.”
Stubbs says that dog fighting in certain areas of Prichard is a particular troubling problem. “In spite of having a good state law against dog fighting, our hands are tied, in that our citizens who are aware of neighbors training and fighting dogs, refuse to report this practice. They say that they fear for their lives and families if they come forth with valuable information. Most often, we aren’t called until too late; too late to help the dogs -just like this poor puppy.”
Since late 2011, Stubbs says that he sees a better future for the dogs and cats in Prichard.
“We are fortunate to have some great Mobile County rescue organizations reach out to help our shelter. Thanks to their assistance in providing vet care for injured and sick animals, photographing and exposing our intakes to potential adopters on Facebook and Petfinder and taking many animals into their rescues, we are making headway."
SAVE A STRAY President Stephanie Williams said, “We banded together with Angel Arms Rescue and River Dog Rescue and are enlisting other rescues' participation. In addition to providing medical care that is not funded to the shelter, we plan to sponsor more spay-neuter clinics and concentrate on educational programs with the youth in Prichard."
"The success of our programs depend upon donations and volunteers," said Williams. "Our goal is to transform the Prichard euthanasia room into a vaccination room."
SAVE A STRAY has been home to a lucky survivor from a Prichard dog fighting ring; “Missy”, the five month old pit bull mix puppy found dumped on the streets in Prichard a few months ago. Stubbs and Williams consider “Missy”, now fully recovered, the poster child/dog for the innocent, helpless victims forced to fight and suffer abuse at the hands of cruel owners.
“Missy” and many dogs from Prichard Animal Shelter will be at an adoption event Saturday, June16th at Tractor Supply, Theodore, Alabama. Williams invites Mobile County residents to come out and see the beautiful dogs who are looking for their forever homes.
“You can meet “Missy”, shake her little paw and fill out an application. Your home may be just the one she deserves.”