Charlotte, NC – On September 17, 2010, Barks and Wiggles Boxer Rescue saved a dog named Firu. Firu, a two-year-old American bulldog, was the victim of animal cruelty, perpetrated by his owners. Agustin Morend Martinez and Josa Guebara-Cerda were intoxicated when they dragged Firu, who was tied to their truck, some distance down the street, causing Firu severe injuries. Both individuals claimed they had no idea Firu was tethered to the truck.
A witness followed the truck and alerted authorities. Firu was rushed to the Animal Hospital of East Burke where he was treated for severe road rash and had to undergo several surgeries. The majority of Firu’s pads on his paws were gone, as were most of his nails. Firu had daily wound cleaning to get road gravel out of his raw skin, as well as intensive treatment for multiple infections. Because this torture was not enough, Firu also had to have heartworm treatment, at a time his body was already severely compromised.
Martinez and Guebara-Cerda were charged with a misdemeanor for animal cruelty. The court date is set for November 28, 2011.
Samantha and Shane Hodge, founders of Bark and Wiggles Boxer Rescue, have nursed Firu back to health, covering all medical expenses to do so. Now, the perpetrators of this horrific act of animal cruelty, Martinez and Guebara-Cerda, are suing B&WBR, the Hodges, the Animal Hospital of East Burke, the Charlotte Mecklenburg Police Department and the District Attorney of the 26th Judicial Court for “libel and slander for information disseminated regarding this situation.” The perpetrators are also claiming slander for all individuals who have expressed anger and disgust on the Barks and Wiggles Boxer Rescue Facebook page, stating the Hodges should be responsible for what the general public is saying.
Barks and Wiggles Boxer Rescue is a small, family-run, non-profit animal rescue organization residing in Conover, NC. Thanks to the ridiculous lawsuit, B&WBR has had to halt their rescue operation, procure an attorney and refrain from helping other animals. Their attorney has asked they not post anymore to their Facebook page until the matter is resolved and the rescue is asking Facebook fans to not post on their wall either.
Though Firu is healing well amidst love and care, the victim continues to be victimized. Two individuals who claim they did not know what was going on – how do you not know a large dog is tied to your truck while you pull out of the driveway? – who had the audacity to get behind the wheel of a vehicle while intoxicated – can you say illegal? – are claiming slander. Perhaps these two individuals need to look up the definition of slander – false, malicious, defamatory statement – because when the words are truth, there is nothing slander-ish about it. And the general public expressing anger and disgust is freedom of speech.
The truth will always rise to the top and good will always prevail.