Animal abuse has long been a problem in the United States and around the world, but thanks to the power of surveillance cameras and social media, abusers now have a much harder time getting away with their misdeeds in public.
Early this year, a shocking case of animal cruelty showed how much work needs to be done to change attitudes toward treatment of animals, as well as the fact that bystanders are not going to let this behavior go unpunished.
On Jan. 6, 2019, a color surveillance camera installed by the security company ADT for local resident James Dowell captured a video that was so horrific, many viewers could hardly watch it. In the video, a woman is seen riding an electric scooter down the street. All normal so far. Except trailing behind her at fairly high speed, bouncing and skidding on the pavement, is a small dog.
As Dowell posted on his Facebook: “PLEASE SHARE !!!!! Here [are] 3 videos from different views of that [expletive] dragging her dog. Only reason she quit is a couple on bikes stopped her.”
Brandon Sanders, one of the cyclists, confronted her about this callous abuse. As an infuriated Sanders posted on Facebook: “The dog was on its side and we watched it being drug at least 100 yards and there’s no telling how long she had been dragging it for before we saw her. You can see that its paws are all completely bloody.”
He and his friend followed the woman back to her house while trying to call the Bakersfield Police Department, and even managed to get a picture of her with the dog, clearly showing the blood from its wounded paws.
When Sanders kept asking her why she had done such a terrible thing, she smiled and said “[expletive] happens, just like with kids”!
As Patricia Irwin of H.A.L.T. Rescue, who spoke with Brandon Sanders, told KBAK in Bakersfield, the worst part was that the woman didn’t seem to care she had hurt the dog so badly. “The fact that after it did happen, she did not show any remorse for it, nor did she look at the dog to be concerned about the blood that was on her shirt and his paws.”
While animal control picked up the dog, named Zebra, it turned out the woman wasn’t even the owner. Police began a lengthy investigation; animal lovers who had seen the posts were busy tracking down the woman and making sure that she got what she deserved. Thankfully, Zebra was returned to their owner.
Social media users eventually discovered that her name was Elaine Rosa and that she worked for the Kern Valley State Prison as a psychologist. Animal lovers were soon posting on Facebook, advising concerned people to call into Rosa’s place of work and leave messages with her supervisor to make sure they knew what kind of person they had employed to treat people with mental health problems.
Thanks to the evidence from James Dowell’s video and Brandon Sanders’s photos, the district attorney shared a message on Twitter, announcing that they were filing charges of animal cruelty on Feb. 16, including a felony charge and a misdemeanor, which carried with them up to three years jail time and a $20,000 fine.
Despite the clear footage, Rosa pleaded not guilty to animal abuse charges and is currently awaiting a court date, according to KERO in Bakersfield. In the meantime, Rosa was terminated in her position with the state prison the day after the incident took place. Though the video and her firing haven’t been proven to be connected, Rosa’s boss definitely got an earful from folks all over the country.
Here’s hoping that justice will be done in this case and that Zebra will never have to endure such cruelty again!