MOUNT CLEMENS (WWJ) – The co-owners of a dog found suffering in a Clinton Township home with a missing paw and hair so matted she couldn’t see out of her one good eye, could end up spending the rest of the decade behind bars.
Christopher Penn, 36, Sonja Sturdivant, 49, and Demico Knight Jr., 22, pleaded no contest to animal torture charges in the mistreatment of their dog, Elvira. The trio faces up to four years in prison when sentenced on April 26.
Officials say all three shared legal responsibility for the care and protection of Elvira, the Shih Tzu mix who was rescued on Halloween. The name was given to her by the veterinary workers that provided emergency care to the abused dog.
Workers say the dog had mats, saturated with dirt and feces, so thick they almost completely covered her face.
“We’re kind of calling it the dog version of Cinderella,” Macomb County Prosecutor Eric Smith said in issuing the charges in November. “There was another dog in the house that lived upstairs, that was taken on daily walks, that was treated the way any other dog should be treated. But for some reason – this sweet little dog was left in the basement in its own filth, never taken outside and hardly fed at all and left to wither away.”
Elvira is blind in one eye, missing a front foot and was found with broken bones in her back legs — workers say that she had a deep skin ulceration due to lack of care.
“One look at this poor creature will break your heart, and fill you with anger at the individuals who allowed this to take place,” Smith said.
Updated details on Elvira’s health have not yet been released.
Penn, Sturdivant and Knight remain free on $10,000 personal bonds.