Misdemeanor charges for animal cruelty case

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Wichita Police Animal Services have filed misdemeanor charges against the owner of these puppies.

The puppies, renamed Wesley and Violet, were found two weeks ago with rubber bands around their snouts. Since, then, the puppies have been at a foster home and are awaiting adoption.

"They're already doing great. The scarring is already going away. It just makes us so happy they're already healing and they're ready to move on to their next life," said Stephanie McCurdy, Wichita Animal Action League.

The puppies' original owner is facing misdemeanor charges for animal cruelty and a warrant has been issued for her arrest.

But, many have asked why this case did not rise to the level of felony charges.

"Because it is not going to be a debilitating injury or an injury that's going to be around the rest of their life, that you're going to be able to see. You can't charge it as felony. That's the reason we had to go misdemeanor," said Lt. Brian Sigman, Wichita Police Animal Services Commander.

While the original of the puppies will not face felony charges, rescuers hope people in the community will respond with action. 

"It's kind of up to the community to be able to go to our legislature and to our city governments and say, 'Misdemeanors for animal cruelty cases are just not enough anymore.' We want set parameters when people actually hurt animals that they are charged accordingly and that they're going to face some pretty steep penalties," said McCurdy.

Sigman has not seen a major uptick in animal abuse reports, but has seen an increase in severity.

"Animal abuse cases that we've been seeing are just more of a severe nature," he said. "Nobody can really explain why the severity level has gone up."

A couple of recent cases will rise to felony charges, including the case where a puppy was found with an ear cut off over the weekend. Police are still searching for that suspect, while Beauties and Beasts rescue has increased the reward to $1,100.

In July, 55-year-old Justin McClellan was caught sexually assaulting his girlfriend's puppy. He pleaded guilty to felony animal cruelty last month and will be sentenced on October 10th. 

To contact Wichita Animal Services, click here or call (316) 350-3366.

The Wichita Animal Shelter is in need of newspapers. They use the papers to line the bottom of the cat cages and to make litter pans. You can drop off newspapers at 3303 North Hillside, Monday through Saturday 11 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. and Sunday 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.