Stan Maddux | NWI Times
MICHIGAN CITY — Charges were filed Monday in connection with a puppy found with its mouth taped shut and two broken hips in Michigan City.
Police were asking for help from the public in locating Richard Cope so he could be arrested and face the allegations.
Cope was charged after LaPorte Superior Court 1 Judge Michael Bergerson found evidence against Cope was sufficient enough to order him to stand trial on torturing or mutilating a vertebrate animal, a Level 6 felony, two Class A misdemeanor counts of animal neglect/abandonment and a single count of Class A misdemeanor cruelty to animals.
The investigation began when Michigan City police began monitoring Facebook messages about a dog on Christmas Day that wandered into a backyard with severe injuries taken for medical treatment.
Camille Germain and her friends were in the backyard after having dinner when they heard the dog ”wheezing” then turned saw him stumbling up to them with its mouth taped shut.
They took the dog to the North Central Emergency Veterinary Center near Westville and Sherri Christopher, founder of the Portage-based dog rescue group, Guardians of the Green Mile, assumed financial responsibility for the animal.
“He smelled like rotting flesh, and we could see all his bones,” said Germain of the dog whose lips and gums were swollen enough to indicate its mouth was taped shut for two days.
Eight days later, Dr. Aaron Jackson, a veterinarian with MedVet Chicago, repaired the puppy’s shattered femoral heads in both hips during a nearly two-hour surgery.
According to police, the case was officially assigned Dec. 28 to Detective Jillian Ashley whom immediately began talking with witnesses and gathering evidence.
It’s believed the injuries to the pit bull puppy resulted from abuse, possibly from being used as bait for dog fighting.
The puppy named Chance Christmas is now healing and being trained by GOTGM volunteer and foster “mom” Laura Bruccoleri in her home.
She’s using her own pit bull, a certified therapy dog that visits the schools and teaches youngsters about proper pet care, to practice being calm to help in developing proper manners and other social skills and to erase any emotional harm caused by the physical abuse, Bruccoleri previously stated.
“They are going back to basics and giving him calm and peacefulness to teach him how life is supposed to be, because we don’t want him to fall victim to his past — we don’t want it to define him,” Christopher stated previously.
She also said Chance will be “prone to soreness” his entire life and in need of a special home.
An adoptive home is already waiting for him with someone who has previously adopted from GOTGM.
After the dog’s plight was posted on Facebook, more than $6,500 in donations quickly came in from around the world, said Christopher, who estimates the dog’s treatment and rehabilitation could approach $10,000.
Anyone with information on the whereabouts of Cope may contact Michigan City police at (219) 874-3221.
story h/t to: saboteur365