GBHS working with Bessemer Police to get justice for poisoned puppy

Virgo is one of the puppies in the care of the Greater Birmingham Humane Society after they...
Virgo is one of the puppies in the care of the Greater Birmingham Humane Society after they were rescued when a person allegedly tried to poison them with antifreeze.(Greater Birmingham Humane Society)
Published: Jan. 6, 2023 at 3:32 PM CST
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - After receiving hundreds of calls and emails from people after some claimed to have witnessed the poisoning of a seven-week-old puppy, the Greater Birmingham Humane Society is working with Bessemer Police and Bessemer Animal Control to ensure justice for the young animal.

“On Tuesday evening, GBHS got some complaints and calls from witnesses who stated they witnessed an individual in Bessemer put antifreeze in a bowl and put the bowl in their front yard in an attempt to poison puppies that were next door in an abandoned house,” GBHS CEO Allison Cornelius said in an update released on social media. “Unfortunately, one of the puppies of a litter of nine went over and consumed some of the antifreeze.”

She said a rescuer was in the neighborhood feeding animals and saw the incident.

“The good Samaritan immediately grabbed the puppy once it came out of the yard and took it an emergency vet clinic in Birmingham,” Cornelius said. “Unfortunately, this puppy died from the antifreeze poisoning.”

Cornelius said she spoke to witnesses on the street and they allege that the person at the address “frequently uses a firearm to shoot at dogs that are just passing by.”

“The two things that concern GBHS is that there was an allegation of a firearm being used to shoot at puppies and dogs and that there was antifreeze on the ground,” she said. “It’s never safe to have containers or bowls of antifreeze out anywhere.”

Cornelius said she believes that, if this person poisoned the puppy, that it would be a felony and not a misdemeanor.

The Alabama criminal code says that “aggravated cruelty to animals” is “the act of doing physical injury to an animal by the infliction of inhumane treatment or gross physical abuse meant to cause the animal intensive or prolonged pain or serious physical injury, or by causing the death of the animal.”

Aggravated cruelty to animals is a Class C Felony.

“You cannot torture an animal because you are concerned about it being in your yard,” Cornelius said. “The Code does allow you to protect yourself and your property if you do it in a humane way, but a seven-week-old puppy is going to be a hard case to make that you felt your life was threatened.”

She said it will ultimately be up to authorities to determine what the charges will be.

The rescuer who took the poisoned puppy to the emergency clinic returned to the scene and saved five more puppies from any potential risk. Those puppies are now in the care of GBHS. Cornelius said three of the puppies are still missing.

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