London the pit bull, whose front legs were amputated after he suffered horrific abuse, will have his day in court Tuesday when his former owners go to trial in Crescent City, Calif. on charges of animal cruelty, neglect and torture.
London will be in the courtroom when Dr. Brandon Sherman, the vet who performed surgery on him, and Amanda Giese of Panda Paws Rescue, who cared for him after surgery, testify in the trial of Zachary Hinton and Sarah Anderson.
London was just a pup when Amanda took him into her rescue for special needs dogs in Vancouver, Wash. He had been dropped off at a humane society in Crescent City, Calif. with severely fractured legs.
London – who was named after the London Olympics - had been so seriously injured that the California shelter didn’t have resources to care for him.
The pup’s front legs were shattered. At first it was believed that London had fallen out a window, but witnesses said his previous owners had thrown him to the floor because he had chewed on the couch.
London was left unable to walk, but he was able to scoot his body around using his powerful hind legs.
He had burns on his paw pads and belly that had begun to heal, leading everyone to believe that his injuries had gone untreated for months.
After an investigation by the Crescent City Police Department, Hinton and Anderson, both 20, were arrested. Both pleaded not guilty.
In Vancouver, Dr. Brandon Sherman at Animal Care Clinic determined that the best possible option for London’s recovery and long-term quality of life was to remove his two front legs.
Amanda says London’s demeanor after surgery was immediate.
“You could see relief in him. There was no doubt in my mind we made the right decision,” she said.
“His face softened from before surgery. Before, he had this very painful, tight, stone look on his face. After surgery he had a soft puppy smile.”
Amanda says it was a quick two-week recovery.
“The clouds lifted. He was happy… he wasn’t in pain anymore. He wanted to go play, he wanted to run,” she said.
Mechanics from a Northwest company called MotoCorsa made London a Ducati-inspired custom dog wheelchair and he hasn't slowed down since.
Amanda and Dr. Sherman will both be testifying at the trial.
If convicted, Hinton and Anderson each face three years and a $20,000 fine per count of animal abuse, neglect, and torture.
Amanda says she hopes the two are sentenced to the maximum term and ordered to pay the maximum fine.
“… and do some serious soul searching and I hope that these people don’t own animals in the future,” she said.
But most of all, Amanda wants people to report suspected animal abuse.
“If you have any concern about an animal’s well being it’s always better to say something. If you sense abuse, if you think something is neglectful or abuse, say something. We need to be the voice for the voiceless,” she said.
These days London is enjoying a happy life in Portland with his new "mom" and canine buddy Max.
Donations to Team London go toward providing surgeries and wheelchairs to dogs in need. Make a donation at www.weareteamlondon.org.