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 Two Eastpointe women have been charged with animal cruelty following their alleged mistreatment of a dog found in one of their homes. Authorities say the animal showed clear signs of abuse and neglect.

Two Eastpointe women have been charged with animal cruelty following their alleged mistreatment of a dog found in one of their homes. Authorities say the animal showed clear signs of abuse and neglect.

Photo provided by Eastpointe Animal Control

Mother and daughter charged with animal cruelty

By: Brendan Losinski | Roseville - Eastpointe Eastsider | Published September 20, 2019





EASTPOINTE — Two Eastpointe women — a mother and daughter — have been charged with animal cruelty after a malnourished and neglected dog was taken in by Eastpointe Animal Control.

According to the Macomb County Prosecutor’s Office, 19-year-old Deja Dodd, of Eastpointe, contacted animal control Sept. 4 to report that she had found a stray dog along Gratiot Avenue. When authorities arrived at the home of her mother, 40-year-old Victoria Johnson, they found a male, gray, mixed-breed dog suffering from neglect and cruelty, according to the Prosecutor’s Office. The Prosecutor’s Office described the animal as “emaciated, covered in fleas and unable to walk to the Animal Control vehicle without assistance.”

Upon further investigation, animal control determined that the dog had not been found on Gratiot Avenue, as Dodd originally reported, but had been at Victoria Johnson’s residence for perhaps two months, according to the Prosecutor’s Office.

“From the beginning, the first thought I had upon seeing the dog was getting the dog treatment,” said Brian Pylar, the Eastpointe Animal Control officer. “As the day went on, it didn’t seem right and things seemed off. You start to read these things after serving as an animal control officer for a few years. I spoke with surrounding residents and found out the dog had been there for at least two months.”

Investigators said the dog previously had belonged to a boyfriend of Johnson’s.

“Victoria Johnson was the mother and she lived there. Deja was the daughter and she used to live there,” Pylar said. “The report we received was that Johnson’s boyfriend dropped the dog off with them to keep some time ago. They hadn’t spoken prior with each other since then.”

Authorities said the conditions the dog was living in were deplorable.

“The home (smelled) strongly of urine and feces, with dog urine present on the floor in multiple locations and dog feces on the walls,” stated a press release from the Prosecutor’s Office. “No food or water dishes were present. The backyard was overgrown with weeds and littered with garbage. While a bowl of food was present, there was no water. Additionally, a room was found behind a garage wall containing a dog crate, piles of feces and no food or water.”

Pylar transferred the dog to the Detroit Pit Crew Dog Rescue, an organization he is on the board of and that could help cover the veterinary costs required to bring the dog back to full health. After the dog has been rehabilitated, the dog is expected to be put up for adoption.

Johnson was arraigned Sept. 13 in 38th District Court. She was charged with one count of fourth-degree animal killing/torturing, a four-year felony. Dodd was arraigned Sept. 16 and charged with one count of animal cruelty and one count of false report of a misdemeanor, both 93-day misdemeanors.

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

Johnson was given a $10,000 personal bond under the condition that she have no contact with animals. Dodd was given a $10,000 bond. Both defendants are due back in 38th District Court for a pretrial hearing at 8 a.m. Wednesday, Oct. 2. 

“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 stated. “This case is being vertically prosecuted by a member of our P.A.W.S. Unit. This Assistant Prosecutor has received specialized training in the prosecution of cases of animal abuse and neglect.”

Dodd’s attorney, Dana Freers, did not wish to comment on the matter, and Johnson’s attorney, John Gerlach, could not be contacted prior to press time. 

Pylar said it is important that if residents suspect a case of neglect or abuse, they contact their local police department.

“I personally believe it was just a case of neglect. As a community, we’re better than this. It’s so important to look out for this kind of thing,” he said. “It’s always good to be aware of your surroundings. If you notice a dog being outside for too long, weight loss, constant barking or whining … it could be happening under your nose and you might not be aware of it. If you suspect something, call animal control.”

Call Staff Writer Brendan Losinski at (586) 498-1068.