Mother and Daughter Sentenced to 6 Months in Jail on Animal Cruelty Charge

Danville, VA-- It's one of the worst cases of animal neglect and cruelty Danville Animal Control officers say they've ever seen.

The dog's owner Paula Easley and her daughter Ella Easley, were in court on Thursday where a judge sentenced them both to six months in jail.

But one of the big questions in this trial was who was fully responsible for the dog?

Ella Easley testified that she bought the dog in 2010 with her boyfriend but didn't have contact with the dog for the past year because it lived at her mother's house.

Paula Easley's lawyer claimed that just because the dog lived at her home and she looked after it, doesn't mean she was the official owner, and therefore she shouldn't take responsibility for the cruelty charges.

Her lawyer also claimed that because of Paula Easley's below average mental capacity and her medication, she couldn't understand the basic needs of the animal.

The judge told both that although neither one wanted to take responsibility, the dog deserved justice.

"There are legal requirements," said Paulette Dean, Executive Director of the Danville Area Humane Society. "You just cannot do it. Legally, you just can't decide to stop caring for the dog, but morally and ethically you can't decide that either."

The dog was in bad shape. At a hearing in September a Danville Police Officer testified that he found the dog in a small pen, covered in flies and maggots, and with a 12-inch chain wrapped around its neck.

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