Case Snapshot
Case ID: 10864
Classification: Neglect / Abandonment
Animal: dog (pit-bull)
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Tuesday, Feb 27, 2007

County: New Castle

Disposition: Alleged
Case Images: 7 files available

Alleged: Freddie Lee Gray, Jr.

Case Updates: 2 update(s) available

Authorities are seeking the public's help finding Freddie Lee Gray Jr., who has been charged with animal cruelty in a nine-count arrest warrant in connection with a puppy found caged and starving in the suspect's former Wilton home.

The 6-month-old brindle pit bull -- little more than mangy skin and bones -- was euthanized late March 2 due to the severity of his medical problems and his pain and suffering, said Delaware SPCA Executive Director John E. Caldwell.

Gray apparently vacated his Wedgefield Court home near the U.S. 13-40 split and moved out everything but the dog, he said.

He may have been left for weeks, and had months-old medical problems, said veterinary technician Sarah Van Aken.

A worker changing locks on Feb 27 night in the otherwise empty house found the puppy in a cage in a second-floor bedroom, Caldwell said.

The worker called the Delaware SPCA, he said. The nonprofit pet adoption agency also investigates cruelty cases statewide.

The arrest warrant obtained by Delaware SPCA Cruelty Investigator John Saville charges 42-year-old Gray with three counts of cruel neglect for dog abandonment, failure to provide sanitary conditions and failure to provide proper care to prevent the dog's poor condition and to provide veterinary care for treatment of that condition.

Under state law, animal cruelty is punishable by fines up to $5,000 and five years in prison.

"This is one of the worst cases of cruelty I've ever seen," said Caldwell, who has been the Delaware SPCA's director for more than 25 years. "He was in extremely critical condition."

"His gums were pale and he wasn't moving," Van Aken said.

He appeared to have survived by eating feces and licking his decaying flesh and scabs, she said.

His initial crisis care topped $1,000 for antibiotics, fluids, liquid nutrition, mite treatment, necrotic flesh removal and pain medication, Caldwell said.

By March 1, he could walk a little. Van Aken said he drank a little water, but still couldn't eat.

His joints were swollen, inflamed and misshapen, a condition attributed to calcium deficiency from too little food or poor diet.

He suffered severe malnourishment, dehydration, anemia and mange from a mite infestation, Caldwell said. He weight 22 pounds "when ideal weight would be about 40," he said.

At that point, the puppy was expected to survive with months of treatment and recovery.

"He's a sweetheart," Van Aken said, holding him Thursday. He welcomed petting and during one treatment, she said, "He just curled up in my lap."

But Friday, "he just went downhill fast," Caldwell said; his temperature spiked, he grew lethargic and was rushed for emergency veterinary care.

His condition was so poor, the wounds so deep, his pain and suffering so severe, the veterinarian recommended euthanasia for humane reasons, Caldwell said, and by SPCA policy, they were obligated to comply.


Case Updates

Freddie Lee Gray Jr. appeared in court to face three counts of misdemeanor animal cruelty on April 16.

Gray allegedly moved out of his home and left behind his 6-month-old brindle pit bull puppy to starve. On February 27, a worker changing the locks found the emaciated puppy locked in a cage in a second floor bedroom.

A veterinary technician who examined the dog said the canine may have been left there for weeks.

"Based on the dog's condition, it had to be there for awhile," said Delaware SPCA Executive Director John E. Caldwell.

Despite the efforts of the SPCA, the dog's condition deteriorated and it had to be euthanized on March 2.

Gray is scheduled for trial on September 19, 2007, at 1:30 p.m.
Source: Newcastle case # 0703001848
Update posted on Apr 24, 2007 - 11:27PM 
Freddie Lee Gray Jr., 42, formerly of Wedgefield Court, was released on $1,500 bail after pleading not guilty at Justice of the Peace Court 11 to three counts of misdemeanor cruel neglect for dog abandonment and related offenses, said Delaware Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Executive Director John E. Caldwell.

As part of his release, the court ordered Gray to relinquish his remaining dog to the SPCA.

He faces an arraignment on the charges April 16 in the Court of Common Pleas.

If convicted of the animal cruelty offense, Gray could face up to a $5,000 fine and/or five years in jail.

After he moved out of his home near the U.S. 13/40 split late last month, a worker changing the locks Feb. 27 discovered the emaciated 6-month-old brindle pit bull puppy locked in a cage in a second floor bedroom.

A veterinary technician who examined the dog said the canine may have been left there for weeks.

"Based on the dog's condition, it had to be there for awhile," Caldwell said.

The SPCA was alerted and the dog was given crisis medical treatment of antibiotics, fluids, liquid nutrition, mite treatment, necrotic flesh removal and pain medication.

Despite those efforts, the dog's health eventually became worse. Because of the severity of the its health problems, the puppy was euthanized March 2, Caldwell said.

Warrants were issued March 2 for Gray's arrest.
Source: Delaware Online - March 12, 2007
Update posted on Mar 12, 2007 - 10:38PM 

References

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