VALLEY GRANDE, AL (WSFA) - The boyfriend in the Dallas County animal abuse case has been sentenced with jail time and community service after being accused of hanging a puppy from the ceiling and photographing it.
23-year-old Andrew Parish, who appeared in court Tuesday morning, has been sentenced to 6 months in jail, 24 months probation and 100 hours of community service. Parish's girlfriend 26-year-old Caroline Dunnam will not face any charges because Parish admitted to being the one who committed the abuse.
Previously the couple voluntarily relinquished their ownership rights to the puppy, now known as "Timmy" during a Jan. 21 court hearing. Authorities were alerted to the animal abuse case after a photo was posted on Facebook that led them to the dog's owners.
Dallas County District Attorney Michael Jackson's office released photos showing the small, black puppy strung up and dangling from the ceiling of the couple's home - photos the dog's owners snapped and posted to Facebook. (Note: WSFA 12 News made an editorial decision not to show the animal being hanged.)
"They decided that they were going to hang a dog from the ceiling by its neck. The poor dog was hanging from the ceiling with some kind of rope around its neck," said Jackson, District Attorney for Alabama's 4th Judicial Circuit. "What their motivation was, we don't know at this point. It's still under investigation. It was just very callous to have it posted on Facebook. I guess they thought it was a joke or something to hang a poor little dog."
The incident happened in late November on County Road 63. Jackson said it's unclear exactly how long the puppy was left hanging from the ceiling.
Dallas County investigators were tipped off about the Facebook post and launched an investigation into the puppy's owners. Dunnam and Parrish turned themselves in on January 10th for animal cruelty.
Dunnam captioned the post on her Facebook page with pictures of the incident: "My poor baby."
Comments on her Facebook page showed she was receiving criticism over the post but she fired back, admitting to hanging the dog and saying she didn't care what anybody thought.
As for her pet, the small, 4-month old mixed breed puppy suffered minor injuries, including a broken tooth, and Animal Control removed the dog from the couple's home.
The staff at the animal hospital calls him "Timmy" and they say the shy dog has come out of his shell during his recovery - his case shedding light on animal abuse in the area.
"There's just lots of cases like his of people abusing dogs, thinking it's funny to hang them up and not feed them and leave them outside to freeze and fight them," said Rebecca Wilson with the Selma Animal Hospital. "I think it's a good example for them to prosecute the owners. I think people will think twice about what they're doing before they do it if they know that this is going to happen to them."
"This is something you don't see everyday and it's something that you hope you don't see ever again. We are going to keep prosecuting people that do harm to animals," Jackson added.
He declined to elaborate on whether or not authorities believe the puppy was subjected to abuse on other occasions. When asked about ownership of the dog, Jackson would not discuss the matter, saying only that the puppy is in the custody of Animal Control.
"They won't have this one now," Jackson told WSFA.