Groves, Texas – On July 13, in the midst of a Texas heatwave that prompted officials to issue warnings, a puppy was left to suffer and die inside of a metal cage left on a concrete driveway outside of a residence in Groves.
A 10-year-old child saw the dying puppy in the cage on Wednesday afternoon and heard her screaming in agony. The child’s mother reached out to Animal Victory and shared the heartbreaking encounter:
My 10 year old stepson took a video of the puppy screaming rolling on it’s back at 2:45 and I got there at 3:11 and the puppy was stiff as a board and passed away. He didn’t know to call the cops and was too scared to go over there and do something since they’ve had previous confrontation with those neighbors.
The authorities are aware of this disgraceful incident and they issued a press release about their investigation on Friday, July 15.
Amazingly, the person at the residence denied knowledge of the puppy’s presence when questioned by the authorities – claiming that the pup belonged to her daughter who lives in Port Arthur. The woman told the authorities that she did not know that the pup had been dropped off outside of her home. Because of her claim of ignorance, the police were not able to make an arrest at the time.
The authorities said:
Once we complete our investigation, the case will be submitted to the Jefferson County DA’s office for review.
The offense is a class A misdemeanor for failing to provide necessary food, water, care, or shelter. A Class A misdemeanor is the most serious type of misdemeanor offense in Texas.
This release is from the initial assessment of the case, and the investigation is still pending.
Though the police have stated that misdemeanor charges are applicable, the Groves animal control officer, S. Esquivel, believes that it warrants a felony charge of animal cruelty. The Texas Penal Code appears to support his belief:
Cruelty to non-livestock animals: torture, killing, poisoning, or causing
serious bodily injury
TEX. PENAL CODE ANN. § 42.092(b)(1),(2)
1st offense: 3rd-degree felony
Subsequent offenses (including offenses under 42.09): 2nd degree
ACO Esquivel told KFDM News that the puppy’s internal temperature was still 106 degrees TWO HOURS after death. This puppy literally baked to death and the suffering she endured is indescribable! There was nowhere to escape the scorching sun. No shade, no reprieve from the hot ground, no water – NOTHING. Her screams were ignored – she was screaming in pain, screaming for help, screaming into the sweltering air because there was nobody who cared about her pain.
What happened to this puppy is appalling. The people responsible for her death must be held accountable and we need your signature to convince the officials in Jefferson County that this case deserves the strongest applicable charge and the maximum sentence. Nothing will change for animal cruelty cases if people are not held accountable for their actions.
We the undersigned demand that Michelle Bradford is held responsible for the cruel and senseless death of this innocent puppy. We are petitioning for Bradford to face the maximum sentence for her 3rd-degree felony charge of cruelty to non-livestock animals.
A portion of the video can be seen at this link to YouTube. A word of warning, though not graphic, the video is painful to watch. For those who choose not to view it, the five-month-old puppy is locked in the cage, rolling back and forth on the ground with her tongue hanging out and heavy breathing. As a reminder, the video was recorded by a 10-year-old child, not an adult.
(Video provided to Animal Victory by Heather Gay/recorded by her 10-year-old stepson)
Final Update 6/27/2023: Animal Victory has learned that Bradford was convicted of a felony and her criminal record will impact her life for at least the next 10 years. Conditions of her 10-year probation sentence include:
1) She cannot purchase, own, possess, or care for any animal during the duration of her probation.
2) She must undergo both a mental health evaluation and a substance abuse evaluation.
If after undergoing a mental health evaluation/substance abuse evaluation, there may be a recommendation for residential treatment.
Her court order can be modified at any time dependent upon the assessments provided. Additionally, she has been moved into a medium to high-risk probation supervision and will be required for close, intensive reporting; modification of Bradford’s probation to include jail time is dependent upon her violating her probation.
Thank you to everyone who signed the petition and helped the court know that this horrible situation warranted punishment! You helped prevent this case from being dismissed!
Update 5/19/2023: Animal Victory has learned that Bradford has pled guilty; sentencing will take place on June 26. If you have not added your name to the petition, please do so now! The petition, with signatures and comments, will be presented to the Judge with our hope for the maximum sentence.
Update 3/27/2023: Still no court date set as of 3/24/2023.
Update 2/22/2023: Animal Victory sent a cover letter and petition to the court.
Update 12/8/2022: Animal Victory spoke with Prosecutor Stephanie Monk who is handling the files for the case. Stephanie received 20,588 signatures and comments along with our petition today. It’s our understanding Bob Wortham is the prosecuting attorney. We will confirm when sure. We have also spoken with In Defense Of Animals recently. They are creating a petition among their users to garner more signatures for the maximum punishment.
Update 9/2/2022: Animal Victory pushed the Groves Police Department with our petition, and phone calls from us, and other concerned citizens for this investigation. They recently announced the arrest of Michelle Bradford, who admitted in an interview with investigators that she forgot about the puppy being left outside. The Jefferson County DA has accepted a felony charge of cruelty to non-livestock animals (3rd-degree felony). Bradford was booked into the Jefferson County Correctional Facility and is being held on a $25,000 bond.
Update 8/15/2022: Animal Victory has talked with the police department. The police are still actively investigating this case. It has not been turned over to the District Attorney yet.
Update 8/2/2022: Animal Victory has sent 17,602 signatures along with our petition asking for an investigation update to Detective Mark Blum and Lieutenant Detective, Robert Phillips.
Prior Signatures 23,856