The Laurens woman charged with starving her former boyfriend’s dog nearly to death will face felony animal abuse charges, according to the 8th Circuit Solicitor’s Office.
A grand jury returned an indictment on felony charges Monday afternoon, said 8th Circuit spokesman Brian King.
Elizabeth Lena James was arrested in August by Laurens County Sheriff’s Office deputies and accused of starving the Rotweiller-Mastiff mix, which was chained in her back yard, for 30 days. According to officers from Laurens County Animal Control and the LCSO, James starved the dog, which was renamed Champ by his rescuers, to get back at her boyfriend after the couple broke up.
With the grand jury’s indictment on felony animal abuse charges, James could face a minimum of 180 days with a maximum of five years in jail and a fine of up to $5,000.
The emaciated dog weighed about 50 pounds – a little under half of what his body weight should have been – when he was rescued after a neighbor called authorities. Champ was infested with maggots and hookworms and underwent several blood transfusions after his rescue.
An animal advocacy group “Rescue Dogs Rock” of New York City rescued Champ and raised money to pay for his treatment through a crowd-sourcing campaign on social media.
Champ’s story made national news as people followed his treatment at a Columbia, South Carolina animal hospital on the Rescue Dogs Rock Facebook page and his own “Justice for Champ” page. Animal activists publicly called on 8th Circuit Solicitor David Stumbo to seek felony charges against James.