Appomattox Co., VA - An Appomattox County man was convicted Friday of illegally setting a hunting trap on his neighbor's property, leading to the death of their beloved dog.
Steven Gregory Jones, Jr. pleaded guilty to felony animal abuse Friday. He was already convicted of five misdemeanors related to the November 2012 incident.
Edward Ferguson says his black lab mix, always greeted him at the front porch as he was leaving for work.
But on November 29, 2012, she was no where to be found. He began a personal mission to find justice.
"Every day, she was laying at my truck...waiting for me to come out," Edward said of his 5 1/2 year-old lab named "Lexis."
Prosecutors say his former neighbor, Steven Jones, Jr., admitted to cutting out the dog's tongue when he discovered it had been caught in a trap he illegally set on the Ferguson's property. He had been warned several times not to hunt there, Ferguson said.
This veterinarian's report details the gruesome injuries, comparing the sharp cut across "Lexis'" tongue to a "filleted fish."
"It looked like the guy picked the dog up by the trap and pulled the tongue out of its mouth," Ferguson added.
Veterinarians told the Ferguson's without euthanasia, "Lexis" would have choked on her own saliva.
She stayed strong until the very end.
"We took her into the vets office and she walked in there, just like there wasn't a thing wrong with her. She was still wagging her tail," Ferguson recalled of the last time he saw her.
It's been a year since Ferguson said good-bye.
But he's never quite let go of his five-year, four-legged companion.
"The court needs to stand up. The animals can't talk for themselves, just like Lexis can't talk for herself. If I don't stand up for her, ain't nobody gonna stand up for her," Ferguson added.
Steven Jones, Jr. faces up to five years in prison on the felony charge. He's expected to be sentenced sometime next month.
Shortly after "Lexis" died, the Fergusons found their other dog, a pit bull mix, dead in its kennel. An autopsy determined it had been poisoned by antifreeze.
No suspect has been named for lack of evidence.