On Christmas Day, Jake will be turning 4 years-old. This blue-eyed dog, in the prime of his life should be jumping around the Christmas tree waiting to see what Santa brought him. Instead Jake and his family are in the middle of one of the most important animal rights legal cases in the state of North Carolina. They are the first to test Susie’s Law which makes acts of animal cruelty a felony offense. Jake was shot while he was playing in his family’s yard. The injuries left him paralyzed.
I had the opportunity to talk with Chris and Karen Haussmann (Jake’s parents) about their dog and their legal case. Here are the facts:
- February 7, 2014 Karen and her daughter KC found Jake shot in the neck inside a fenced yard at their family home.
- Jake was rushed to his regular veterinarian and then transported to a neurologist in another town for surgery.
- During surgery it was discovered the bullet inside Jake’s neck did not sever his spine, but instead compressed several vertebrae leaving Jake paralyzed in his hind legs. Part of the bullet could not be removed and remains in Jake’s shoulder.
- Jake’s recovery was difficult and painful. The wound on his neck became infected with MRSA which is an antibiotic resistant staph infection. It had to be scraped and cleaned for many months.
- Local police looked into the crime, but because Jake is a dog they considered the case to be a crime against personal property instead of an act of cruelty. The Haussmann’s ask police to take a stronger stand, especially because their house is only 300 yards from an elementary school. They were worried the individual might have hurt children.
- The Haussmann’s decide to take matters into their own hands and offer a cash reward for information about the person who shot Jake. Eric Hillard is turned in by a friend to the police.
- “Hillard told authorities he shot Jake because the dog barked at him as he was walking past their house. Their home was only 300 yards from an elementary school that was full of children,” reported the Haussmann’s.
- Chris and Karen pursued getting legal justice for Jake. Through their determination Hillard will be the first person in North Carolina to be tried using the toughest felony animal cruelty law. If he is convicted, Hillard can receive a maximum sentence of 22 months in prison and restrictions on his personal life.
- This month Hillard’s court case was supposed to go to trial, but it was moved to a higher court where it will be heard on February 9, 2015.
The Haussmann family love animals. They share their home with 4 dogs, 1 cat and a lizard. The family has done everything in their power to make Jake comfortable. They have spent more than $20,000 on his care.
Their hope is to see that justice is served for their dog and that the man responsible is given the toughest sentence possible. They are doing this to stop other abusers and hopefully save another family from going a tragedy like this.
Their wish for Jake is that one day he will be able to use his legs again. Through therapy from his family he has begun to move his tail a bit and can on occasion show a response in his rear legs.
The Haussmann family would be grateful if pet owners check out their Who Shot Jake Facebook page where KC keeps people updated about Jake’s progress and the status of the legal case.
– Susie’s Law, reclassified animal cruelty from a Class I to a Class H Felony in North Carolina in 2010 after a puppy (later named Susie) was severely burned, beaten and left for dead. Miraculously Susie recovered from her injuries.
You’ll also enjoy: