Eastpointe Women Charged In 'Appalling Case Of Animal Cruelty'

Dog found emaciated with a spinal injury

WWJ News
September 17, 2019 - 10:29 am

Saint (Photo: Eastpointe Police Department)


EASTPOINTE (WWJ) - A Macomb County mother and daughter are facing charges after police say a dog was found extremely malnourished and suffering from a spinal injury.

The investigation began Sept. 4, when defendant Deja Dodd called Eastpointe Animal Control claiming she'd found a stray along Gratiot Ave.

Officers arrived at the Eastpointe home of Dodd's mother, Victoria Johnson, to find a gray male mixed-breed dog that prosecutors say was "clearly suffering from neglect and cruelty," and unable to walk without help. 

Dodd and Johnson
(Photos: Eastpointe Police Department)

Upon further investigation, it was determined that the dog, now called "Saint",  had not been found on Gratiot as Dodd reported, but had been at Johnson’s home for several months. 

Investigators found dog feces on the walls of the home, urine on the floor and a yard overgrown with weeds and littered with garbage. A room was found behind a garage wall, containing a dog crate, piles of feces, and no food or water.  

“This is an appalling case of animal cruelty and neglect,” said Macomb County Prosecutor Eric Smith.  “The circumstances this dog was forced to endure are utterly inexcusable. This poor animal was emaciated, covered fleas, and suffering from a severe spinal deformity likely due to neglect.” 

Smith told WWJ's Sandra McNeill the mother's boyfriend had dropped the dog off to them several months prior, and they said it wasn't their dog so it wasn't their responsibility to care for the animal. 

He said it's believed that Saint's spine injury is a result of being kept in a crate that was too small. "In the eyes of this office, this neglectful treatment amounts to torture: denying this animal food and forcing him to live in these deplorable conditions," Smith added.

The dog is now in the care of the Detroit Pit Crew rescue group where he is receiving treatment, but Smith said it's unclear if Saint will survice. 

Dodd and Johnson turned themselves in and were arraigned in 38th District Court.

Dodd is charged with Animal Cruelty and False Report of a Misdemeanor, both 93-day misdemeanors, Johnson is charged Animal Killing/Torturing – 3rd Degree, a 4-year felony.

Both were given $10,000 bonds; Johnson's on the condition that she have no contact with animals if released. 

The case is being handled by an assistant prosecutor who has received specialized training in the prosecution of cases of animal abuse and neglect as a member of Smith's new P.A.W.S. Unit.