Husband: Fayetteville woman charged with animal cruelty tried to care for dog
Posted March 2, 2015
Fayetteville, N.C. — A Fayetteville woman accused of allowing her dog to starve tried to care for the ill animal, her husband said Monday.
Stephanie Bates, 49, of 7649 Galena Drive, was charged Friday with felony animal cruelty.
Cumberland County authorities said she took Bruno, a 3-year-old boxer bulldog, to a veterinary clinic in October 2013 and January 2014 for treatment of gastro-intestinal problems. The vets diagnosed irritable bowel syndrome, and Bates was told the dog would need additional medications and a special diet, authorities said.
After a year passed, Bates asked the veterinary clinic in January to euthanize the dog, but they refused to do that without first examining the dog again, authorities said. She later surrendered Bruno, which by then was emaciated and could barely stand, to Cumberland County Animal Control.
"It had had medical problems for the better part of a year, and the owner ... sought medical treatment and then she didn't get the medical treatment," Cumberland County Animal Control Director John Lauby said Monday.
Bruno has since been euthanized.
Bates' husband disputes Lauby's summary of the case, saying his wife spent $100 a month on special food for Bruno but just couldn't keep the dog healthy.
Her husband, who declined to give his name, is an Army command sergeant major at Fort Bragg and said he was deployed in Afghanistan for much of the time Bruno was sick. He said he begged her to keep working with the dog with the hope he could nurse it back to health upon his return.
As a condition of her $10,000 bond, a judge ordered Bates and her husband to surrender any other pets they own.
Members of Carolina Boxer Rescue attended Bates' court hearing Monday and said Bruno didn't have to die.
"It's terrible. How can somebody leave a dog sit and not do anything?" said Joe Szymborski, regional coordinator for the animal rescue group.
"Call a shelter," said Evelyn Moore of Carolina Boxer Rescue. "She managed to go to the shelter in the end. She could have gone before. We would have been right there to take that boxer, get it care, get it a home, foster it, whatever needed to be done. It didn't have to starve to death."
Lauby said Bruno's case is is the sixth instance of felony animal cruelty in Cumberland County this year. Others include a Fort Bragg soldier accused of drowning a puppy in a pond and a Fayetteville man charged with abandoning eight dogs in his home for weeks, causing six to die.