Stephen Crooms faces six felony and one misdemeanor counts of cruelty to animals. Deputies say they found ten dogs starved at his home, six of them dead. Initially, he only faced misdemeanors.
Patricia Glenn has been fighting for animals in Burke County for years. "Any given dumpster you go to there's dogs, there's cats, they're starving, they're begging," she said.
She's used to seeing animals in bad shape, but when she heard of ten dogs being starved, six to death, she had to act. "I just cannot wrap my head around how a person could do that to a breathing being," Glenn said.
Stephen Crooms was arrested in January, charged with ten misdemeanor counts of animal cruelty. "When this first started and I heard it was misdemeanors my heart dropped," she said.
So Glenn, and others worked for a change. They petitioned to upgrade the charges. Amanda Stone worked hard for support. "I kept sharing it over and over and over and begging and pleading and trying to get that last little vote," Stone said.
Votes are coming in from all over the world, now more than twelve thousand of them. "It felt great. Getting the initial ten thousand felt great," she said.
And now, change. This month Crooms was indicted on six felony charges of malicious animal cruelty and one misdemeanor, "All I could do was cry the happiness and the joy that there is a wake up call here," Glenn said.
They say it's a win for everyone. "I feel like I've done what God meant me to do," Glenn said. "We won the battle. And it really is a huge battle. I think it's going to be good for all of Burke County," Stone said.
The difference in the felony charge and the misdemeanor charge is the law's definition of malicious intent. The grand jury indicted Crooms on the six felony charges because they believe he intended to starve or harm the dogs.
(WRDW-TV - Feb 11, 2015)