Hearing Tuesday for man charged with dragging pit bill

July 15, 2014 

gavel

— The story of a pit bull that grabbed hearts and headlines will be told in court today.

Roger Dennis Owens, a 53-year-old Marietta man accused of dragging a dog behind a truck while driving, is expected to appear before a circuit judge at 11 a.m. at the Greenville County Courthouse.

Owens was charged in December with ill treatment of animals, a felony offense that carries up to five years in prison upon a conviction, said Marcia Barker, a spokeswoman for the 13th Circuit Solicitor’s Office.

Witnesses on Nov. 29 reported seeing a tan and white dog being dragged by a rope or tether, authorities said at the time. Several of the witnesses had identified Owens as the driver, warrants said.

The dog, an American pit bull terrier mix now named Andra Grace, was found abandoned and severely injured in the roadway, according to warrants. An organization out of New York within days had set up a fundraiser to pay for her medical treatment. More than $16,000 was donated.

The dog has since been adopted.

Owens initially received a summons for cruelty to animals, Barker said. Under state law, the misdemeanor is punishable upon a conviction by a $1,000 fine or up to 30 days in jail for first offenders.

The charge was later upgraded after further investigation by Greenville County deputies and the solicitor’s office, Barker said.

Animal rights supporters, united under the Facebook group Justice for Andra Grace, pushed for the maximum possible penalty to be sought. Some plan to be at the hearing to show their support.

An attorney for Owens couldn’t be reached for comment.

Owens faces additional charges of driving under suspension and two counts of being a habitual traffic offender, a felony offense, Barker said.

He has remained at the Greenville County Detention Center on a $30,000 bond since his arrest, jail records show.

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