The former owners of a severely neglected and tortured Shih Tzu, living in Clinton Township, Michigan received stiff sentences in court on Wednesday after appearing before Macomb County Circuit Judge Edward Servitto. Demico Knight, 21, was sentenced to six months in jail while his mother Sonja Sturdivant, 49, was sentenced to 90 days in jail for the abuse of Elvira.
According to the press release issued by N.B.S. Animal Rescue, Knight, Sturdivant and Christopher Penn, 36, Sturdivant’s husband were also sentenced to 18 months probation and were ordered to pay restitution. The three defendants pleaded no contest to felony animal torture.
The severely neglected Shih Tzu, with clumps of matted hair covering her eyes, paws and restricting her circulation, had been brought into the Macomb County Animal Control on Halloween, by a man saying he found the dog as a stray. The seven-year-old defenseless dog was dubbed Elvira and had to be shaved from over one pound of mats and knots, had untreated broken back legs, had been missing her front foot, was partially blind and needed extensive dental surgery. A subsequent investigation revealed the man who brought Elvira into the shelter was one of her owners.
What was really peculiar about this case is the family owned another dog who lived upstairs and was treated like a pampered pet. For some reason, however, Elvira was out of favor with her family, and the sweet little dog existed in the basement in her own feces and urine, never walked and hardly fed or ever washed or brushed.
Elvira has been recovering at the N.B.S. Animal Rescue; the organization’s Facebook page followed the little dog’s journey slowly back to health. Since being entrusted with her care Elvira has undergone four major surgeries in an effort to give her a better quality of life. Her ulcerated left eye was removed; her left hind leg had pins inserted to try to stabilize the hock due to the ruptured tendons; a bone graft was completed from her pelvis, and a plate and screws were inserted into her leg to try to fix the broken bone that had not healed. Elvira has also undergone sessions of various alternative therapies for pain management including: hydrotherapy, chiropractic therapy, laser therapy, targeted electromagnetic pulse therapy, and shock wave therapy. She has also been fitted with a prosthetic limb for her front left leg, carpal support wraps for her other two legs with ruptured tendons, and a wheelchair.
And with all of this, the little dog’s foster parents say she never stops wagging her tail.
“While in our eyes the punishment doesn’t quite fit the crime, we are extremely pleased with the sentencing that was handed down by Judge Servitto,” wrote Rebecca Akins, president of the the N.B.S. Animal Rescue. “Elvira’s case will help pave the way for stricter laws and increased sentencing consequences that send a message to others in Macomb County. Animal abuse and animal torture will not be tolerated.
The organization continues to raise money for Elvira’s care. To date, more than $11,600 has been spent on the dog’s veterinary care. A YouCaring link can be found here.
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Read her previous story here.