Man sues neighbors for poisoning death of dog

Man sues neighbors for poisoning death of dog

ALBA (KYTX) -- An Alba man, who is convinced his neighbors intentionally poisoned his dog, is taking his case to civil court -- saying Wood County officials aren't taking it seriously. 

CBS19 first brought you Jerry Russell's story back in May, more than a year after his beloved dog JoJo Bear died from strychnine poisoning. 

A grand jury has already no-billed the case, meaning jurors didn't think there was enough evidence to move forward with a trial. But that decision isn't stopping Russell. 

He has continued fighting to have his case heard in court, because he says JoJo Bear was as much a part of his family as any human. And he wants not only justice for his dog's death, but he says he also wants to send a message to other people to stand up for what you believe in.

"My dog is a friend. He's part of the family," Russell said. "And when you have a dog -- or any animal -- being part of the family, and somebody does your family wrong, you don't want to get even with them, but at the same time, something has to be done."

A necropsy report shows the 3-year-old German-shepherd-mix died in February 2013 after eating strychnine, a highly toxic chemical often used as a pesticide.

And, Russell says, it was no accident. He says he documented years of disputes with his neighbors, Gil and Cecelia Arnold, and that they had made verbal threats against his dog back in 20-10, because they say JoJo Bear regularly relieved himself in their yard.

Russell even has photos, which he says prove the Arnolds mixed meat with poison to attract JoJo Bear. That poisonous mixture is what a veterinarian found in the dog's stomach after he died.

But even with documentation of those alleged disputes and the photos, Russell says his case has gotten nowhere in Wood County.

"They felt apparently that this did not rise to the level of criminal, either that or there was not enough evidence to prove criminality in this whole thing," he said.

Still, Russell says he's not giving up -- suing the Arnolds for negligence.

"I'll never get the results I want," Russell said. "I want my dog back, but my dog won't be back. My dog's dead and buried out back."

He may not ever be able to bring JoJo Bear back, but if he can inspire other animal-lovers, Russell says it will have all been well worth it.

"I want other people out there to understand that nothing, a lot of times, will ever happen, unless you as an individual stand up for your rights and the rights of your pet," he said.

Russell is suing for $500 plus damages, and says if he wins, he plans to donate that money to the SPCA.

The case will be heard next month in Wood County.

CBS19 reached out to the Arnold's attorney, Derrell Coleman, but he declined to comment.


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