Princess: A Success Story
A Case of Cruelty
In November 2018 a mother took her children to McDonald’s in Bayshore, New York. While in the parking lot they witnessed a case of horrific animal cruelty toward a dog named Princess. The mother videotaped Princess’s owner choking her, picking her up off the ground by her leash and slamming her to the ground repeatedly. The mother, with her children watching, contacted the local police precinct who did respond to the scene. Because there were no outward signs of abuse, the police initially took no action.
Fortunately, a community member reached out to an animal welfare attorney in Suffolk County at 11:00 p.m. that very night. The animal welfare attorney contacted the Suffolk County Police Commissioner urging her to act in this matter. As a result, on November 30, 2018, William Anthony Roberts was arrested. The Defendant already had a history of prior arrests and had been previously incarcerated. Mr. Roberts was incarcerated after his animal cruelty arrest due to a probation violation.
An Advocate for Princess
The attorney advocate requested that the Suffolk County D.A. permit a local nonprofit animal organization to sponsor Princess’s costs of care. Costs of care included vetting, boarding, transport, training and assistance with placement after a seizure order from the Court. The generosity of this offer would prove to be life saving for Princess and would set her on a path to a new life where she now gives back to others.
Once given permission the advocate arranged for Princess to be taken to a vet who had knowledge of cruelty examinations. These exams include bloodwork and x-rays to determine if there are old or new fractures and whether Princess had been made to swallow anything harmful. Most of all, the staff at the vet understood the emotional trauma Princess had endured and respected her needs in that regard. Later in the case, after surrender, Princess was spayed, brought up to date on vaccinations and treated for an infection.
To ensure Princess’s safety the advocate arranged for her to be boarded at a trusted and secure facility under a different name. She remained there from early December 2018 through March 2019. During that time, she was given daily socialization and loved hanging out in the staff office. They grew to love Princess and were able to give daily reports to the advocate on her personality and preferences. Once Princess was surrendered by the defendant in March 2019 the advocate, being aware of her needs, secured a safe location out of the area for Princess to continue her journey.
With the assistance of trusted volunteers, Princess was safely transported to Future K9 Care in Ontario, New York run by Josette Metelenis. It was there that a true transformation began to take place. Princess learned how to live in a family setting and be around other dogs respectfully. Princess took to the structure given by Josette and lived in her home. She especially enjoyed walks with Josette’s mother when she visited. The advocate received weekly reports on her progress. In May 2019 Josette reported that Princess seemed to have a good tracking nose. It was around this time that the advocate was considering what may be the ideal placement for Princess. Any cruelty victim deserves the best start to a new life. Placing a pitbull added an additional layer with the paramount importance that Princess be placed in the proper hands to continue her new path.
The advocate reached out to Juli Lathrop, founder of The Kramer Foundation. She discussed Princess’s story, her progress with Josette and her talent for tracking. Juli is a retired police officer who trains working dogs for a variety of capacities, including law enforcement and arson squads. She had never taken a pitbull, simply because they were hard to place due to the stigma attached to the breed. However, once she heard Princess’s story, she couldn’t get this special pup out of her mind.
In June 2019 Princess became the 1000th dog saved by Kramer Foundation.
Princess’s New Journey and Her Impact on Children
Princess continued her training at Kramer Foundation and has learned to be around other dogs, so she has canine companionship. Today, Princess is part of a program for children of incarcerated parents. Princess accompanies Juli to the school program with the message that she survived being treated inhumanely but she is a survivor. Juli has seen firsthand what Princess’s presence can do to help a child who has experienced trauma open up and share feelings and experiences. Juli says Princesses’ life was saved and now she is impacting others (see interview where Princess is in the studio). Juli would like to see more programs around the country and knows that stakeholders including law enforcement, shelter partners, educators and community leaders must be involved to combat animal cruelty and break the cycle.
Princess’s Outcome is FACTS’ Mission
Had it not been for the nonprofit’s support, Princess’s ending would have been euthanasia due to her breed and need for training. Her extraordinary recovery and second chance was possible because the costs of her care were covered.
FACTS’ mission is to be the gateway for success stories like Princess’s by providing costs of care for animal victims of cruelty cases being prosecuted in Suffolk County.
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