Friday, July 30, 2010

Man accused of hogtying pit bull to stand trial

From The Bakersfield Californian

A Lamont area man accused of hogtying a pit bull and abandoning it in a field will be arraigned Aug. 6 on two felony counts and a misdemeanor charge.
James D. Worley, 52, was ordered to stand trial on two counts of cruelty to animals and a misdemeanor count of abandoning a dog following a preliminary hearing Wednesday in the Lamont division of Kern County Superior Court.
The crimes are punishable by up to three years in prison.
Worley has admitted to investigators that he dumped the pit bull, since named England, in a field after it bit someone and the property owner told him to get rid of the dog, according to investigative reports.
However, Worley denied tying up the dog.
The dog was found April 22 in a muddy field southwest of Lamont. It had boot laces wrapped tightly around its mouth, neck and legs.
An animal rescue group associated with actress Katherine Heigl picked up the dog with the intention of rehabilitating it for possible future adoption.

Update October 26, 2010 2:04pm - The following article is by Steve E. Swensen, Bakersfield Californian:

Man in hogtied pit bull case could get work release

A Lamont man was sentenced Tuesday to 120 days in jail, but he was given the opportunity to apply for the work release program in an animal cruelty case stemming from an April incident in which a pit bull was hogtied and abandoned in a muddy field near Lamont.
A defense attorney for James D. Worley, 52, asked again that the felony charge be reduced to a misdemeanor, but Judge Michael Lewis refused as he did a month ago when Worley pleaded no contest to animal cruelty.
The jail sentence was delayed to Nov. 30 to give Worley a chance to apply for work release, a program in which a qualified person works on various public projects rather than serving time in jail, sheriff's spokesman Ray Pruitt said.
For example, work release crews clean grounds, perform gardening or wash vehicles at sheriff's headquarters, he said.
The case attracted a lot of public attention, with petitions signed by thousands asking for the maximum prosecution of Worley, who has no prior criminal record.
It also led to the rescue of the dog, since named England, by a group associated with actress Katherine Heigl.
The dog was named after Kristen England, the animal control officer who found the dog in a field. A tractor driver alerted officers to the dog.
Worley admitted to investigators that he dumped the pit bull in a field after it bit someone on property where Worley worked. The property owner asked him to get rid of the dog, Worley said, according to sheriff's investigation reports.
Worley denied tying up the dog.
The dog was tied so tightly with shoe laces that animal control officers were afraid to remove the tie for fear they could cut the dog, investigative reports say.

Update October 26, 2010 4:11pm - The following article is from KERO:

Man Convicted Of Hog-Tying Pit Bull Sentenced

Man Gets 3 Years Probation

The man who hog tied a pit bull and left it for dead in a south county field was senteneced to three years of probation.
On April 22, Kern County Animal Control officers said they received a call regarding an abandoned dog on Adobe Road, between Sandrini Road and Teale Road.
The responding Animal Control officer said they were horrified to find a dog in a muddy field with its mouth and legs bound. The animal was unable to move and suffered injuries from the abuse, they said.
James Worley, 52, plead no contest to one felony count of animal cruelty in September. Two other counts against him were dismissed.
The case garnered attention from actress Katherine Heigl and her animal rescue organization eventually took in the dog.
Worley had no previous criminal record and prosecutors said they are happy that he was charged with a felony and not a misdemeanor.
Officers with animal control said they want this to serve as a reminder to the public that animal cruelty will not be tolerated and offenders will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

Update October 26, 2010 7:53pm - The following article is from KGET:
Man sentenced for animal abuse

It's a case that grabbed national headlines and pulled on heart strings.

Tuesday, the man accused of hog-tying a dog and leaving it to die learned his punishment in a Kern County Court.

James Worley, 52, was sentenced to 120-days of work release and 3-years of probation.  Worley was charged with felony Animal Cruelty for hog-tying a pit bull on a rural road in Lamont.

Worley must register for work release by Nov. 30 or he will be sent to jail for 120-days.

The dog, now named England, is doing well and has been adopted by an animal rights foundation co-founded by actress Katherine Heigl.

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