If you're not ready for a bummer this morning, it might be wise to skip this story. Jessie Howard Woodruff, from Longview, has been sentenced to 90 days in jail or house arrest following the starvation of his 5-year-old dog last year.
According to a story in The Daily News, Woodruff pleaded guilty June 21 to first-degree animal cruelty, charges that arose from alleged neglect of Woodruff's golden retriever mix, Lil Miss, between Aug. 25, 2010, and Sept. 7, 2011. Cowlitz County Superior Court Judge Stephen Warning also barred Woodruff from ever owning an animal again.
The Daily News describes the scene in the courtroom and the circumstances that led to Lil Miss' death:
Woodruff said nothing. He wore colorful pajama pants and a Jimi Hendrix T-shirt to court. His nearly shoulder-length brown hair was slicked back, and he sported a wild, bushy beard.
Deputy prosecutor Jason Laurine said Woodruff is "borderline mentally retarded," which made it impossible for him to care for an animal. Prosecutors and Humane Society officials didn't learn of Woodruff's disabilities until after the animal cruelty charge was filed, Laurine said.
The Daily News reports that the Human Society first learned of the animal abuse at Woodruff's residence in the winter of 2010. When authorities with the Humane Society responded to the scene, Woodruff's roommate handed over two of three allegedly starving dogs. However, Woodruff insisted on keeping the third dog, Lil Miss.
After the Humane Society responded, ordering Woodruff to get Lil Miss licensed and make sure her vaccinations were up to date, things seemed to get better - at least momentarily. Initially, according to The Daily News, the dog put on weight and her health improved.
However, Lil Miss then died in September. As mentioned, authorities noted the dog passed away from malnourishment and an untreated medical condition.
From The Daily News:
[Animal Control Supervisor Mike Nicholson] who has described Lil Miss as "a beautiful dog ... a wonderful dog," said Tuesday that he was satisfied with Woodruff's jail sentence.
"Lil Miss can rest in peace," he said.
Woodruff had a kidney transplant as a teenager and undergoes dialysis three times a week will not serve his sentence in the Cowlitz County Jail, which can't accommodate inmates with such medical needs. Instead, according to The Daily News, he'll serve his 90 days at another correctional facility or under house arrest.