Friday, September 4, 2015
Convicted Montco dog killer headed to trial for allegedly abusing ex-girlfriend's dog
Posted: Thursday, August 20, 2015
Someone tortured Rocky, leaving the now 6-year-old boxer with nearly two dozen rib fractures on both sides of his chest. Some ribs were broken more than once, according to a veterinarian who treated him and described the injuries as “massive.”
Even the attorney representing the Montgomery County man accused of the abuse agreed that Rocky was battered. But there is no evidence his client hurt the dog, attorney Craig Penglase argued at a preliminary hearing Wednesday for Christopher George, 43, who is charged with felony cruelty to animals.
“No one testified that anyone saw him do anything malicious to this dog,” Penglase said.
Consider the entire context of the case, Assistant District Attorney Chris Decker asked District Judge Jan Vislosky. Consider that the injuries to Rocky and changes in his behavior didn’t start until after the dog’s owner and George moved into a home in Falls in October, he said.
The dog’s owner testified that shortly after the move, George banished Rocky to the basement. The first suspicions of abuse, authorities believe, surfaced when the girlfriend found Rocky’s paws bleeding at the nail beds and a cut on his nose. George told her Rocky must have gotten into something in the basement, she said.
She told the court that she made a vet appointment, but George convinced her to cancel it claiming they had no money or time to take Rocky to the vet.
A few weeks later, she said, Rocky had trouble walking up the stairs. She asked George about it, and he claimed the injury happened when he tripped over Rocky after the dog ran in front of him.
The first week the couple lived together, George called her at work and said Rocky got out of their fenced yard and ran away, the ex-girlfriend said. But the gate to the fence didn’t swing freely and opened only when someone lifted and pushed it, she said.
Rocky’s owner said she called animal control and the police fearing someone stole her dog. She said that George claimed he was out looking for the dog. Two hours later, she received a call that a boxer matching Rocky’s description was spotted on Cabot Boulevard, five miles from the couple’s home.
She found the dog there in the middle of the road, near where George, a truck driver, typically parks his work truck at the end of the day, according to the affidavit.
She took him to a vet, who she said discovered a bump on the dog’s head that turned out to be a deep puncture wound.
Two days before Christmas, Rocky had a new cut above his eye and a cut on his mouth, she testified.
On Christmas Eve, George called her at work and said he put Rocky out in a downpour because the dog bit him, she claimed. When she got home, she found Rocky outside with blood dripping from his mouth, side and paws, she testified.
“There was blood everywhere,” she said.
She took the dog to the vet, who told her it appeared the dog was abused, according to court documents.
The dog also had been diagnosed with subcutaneous emphysema, she said. Yet, George had been constantly exercising Rocky, whose activity should have been limited, she said.
Veterinarian Dr. Carrie Phelps testified that the subcutaneous emphysema is a condition where air accumulates under the skin typically as the result of a rib or lung injury.
Phelps added that Rocky had 23 rib fractures in various states of healing, a condition she had never seen in her career outside of an animal struck by a car.
George, who was held for trial following Wednesday’s testimony, is free on $25,000 bail.
Back in 2003, George was convicted of animal cruelty for kicking to death three of another ex-girlfriend’s puppies and severely injuring a fourth puppy. He was sentenced to six to 12 months of house arrest, records show.