Fort Worth man sentenced to probation for horrific animal cruelty to dog, authorities say

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A Fort Worth man who in 2019 surrendered a pit bull puppy that was covered in scabs, bloody, malnourished, dehydrated and had his eyes swollen shut was sentenced on Tuesday to seven years’ probation for animal cruelty.

Lewis Lamont Wilson had adopted the puppy, Perkins, just a few months before he handed the dog off to the Fort Worth Animal Shelter.

On Tuesday, Wilson, 37, pleaded guilty to the felony charge of animal cruelty and was sentenced to probation. If he doesn’t follow the conditions of his probation, he faces seven years in prison.

“If we had waited for this to go to trial, it could have taken quite some time given the backlog of cases due to the pandemic,” said David Alex, a Tarrant County assistant criminal district attorney, in a Tuesday news release. “I would rather have him convicted and on probation than remain on bond for that long.”

While on probation, Wilson can’t own or possess an animal. He also will not be allowed to consume drugs or alcohol and he will have to take domestic violence classes.

“Animal abuse often leads to other abuse,” said Tarrant County Criminal District Attorney Sharen Wilson in the news release. “We have found that, in general, someone who abuses animals is significantly more likely to also use violence against people.”

Harming an animal could be a safe way to get revenge against — or threaten — someone who cares about that animal, according to The Humane Society of the United States. The agency says other motives for animal cruelty may be to shock, threaten, intimidate or offend others or to demonstrate rejection of society’s rules. Some who are cruel to animals copy acts they have seen or that have been done to them.

Perkins is now happy and healthy, living with a family that adopted him in January 2020.

“He’s thriving. He has a great family and so many people supported him and got him through this,” said Patti Dawson, president of Dallas DogRRR, an animal rescue group, in a news release.

Nearly 1 million animals a year are abused or killed in episodes of domestic violence, according to The Humane Society of the United States.

“This probation means someone will be looking over his shoulder for seven years,” Alex said. “To make sure he doesn’t come near, or hurt, another animal.”