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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) -– For many people our pets are like our family and we mourn their loss very difficulty. What would you do if your dog was brutally killed?

Friday, Cory Morgan Gray, 24, allegedly strangled his girlfriend’s six-pound Chihuahua while she was in class at Cape Fear Community College.

“I found him there, and I found little Charlie. He just looked like so in pain and so tense, and he just looked so pitiful and helpless,” said Jenna Branham, the dog’s owner.

Gray was booked on preliminary charges of felony cruelty against animals. After spending one hour in jail Gray was released on a $5,000 secure bond.

“If Charlie had been a person, it would be murder, but it’s not. It’s animal cruelty,” Donna Branham said. “It’s not animal cruelty. It’s animal murder. He murdered this dog.”

The Branham family is trying to raise awareness about animal cruelty cases such as this by starting an online petition to strengthen animal cruelty laws.

Click here for more information on their Charlie’s Law.

Comment on this Story

  • Guest9743

    Hogs and cows may not be pets but they are living, breathing animals just like a dog or cat!!

  • Diane Lynch

    I have not posted 1 thing about retaliation against this man. He will have his day in court. I only said he IS a terrible person for what he did. It’s up to the court to decide,not me. But I’m entitled to my opinion as well as the next person. People that cause an accidental death of a person,are not found guilty. I’m sure the ASPCA greatly appreciate your donations. Simply put, I read your post exactly as you posted it. I stand by what I said, a grown man that strangles a 6lb chihuahua is indeed a terrble person. People have to understand that they are accountable for their deeds and Cory Gray has to convince the court that what he did was right and I don’t think he will be able to do that. Will he be executed or spend life in prison, of course not.

  • ChihuahuaMom

    If you don’t know the difference between livestock that is raised for food and a PET that is raised with love in your home, then I really really feel sorry for you.

  • Guest164527

    If you knew cory then you obviously would know he wouldnt do such a thing, the kid is harmless, may be a little misguided but the kid wouldnt harm a thing. Im sure we are not hearing the whole story and the news and everyone else is making him sound like a terrible person. Shame on you for judging someone when you have only heard what the news and everyone else has said. Real mature…

  • Guesthug

    Yeah, and I live next to a screaming yard of kids whose parents don’t give a #### about them. Hey, Cory, come and strangle a few brats to shut them up!

  • Youwish

    And great guys don’t drink and drive and kill people either. Let me tell you.. they do. Alcohol is a strong addiction that takes over the human brain and makes you do stuff that you normally wouldn’t do. Im not saying don’t punish him but this is a little overboard especially when most people have forgiven over worse

  • Concerned CB Citizen


    A child is considered a human. Sorry, if my wording confused you.

    I also wasnt comparing what has been allegedly done here to simply accidentally running over an animal. I was more suggesting that if we were to treat animals that were intentionally killed the same as humans that were intentionally killed then in the name of legal fairness we would also have to treat animals that were accidentally killed the same as we treat humans that are accidentally killed. Our legal system IS supposed to be fair and just, right?

    I dont believe in labeling a person as a terrible. I do believe that this death is a terrible thing. And if it happened in the way that has been described then those ACTIONS are terrible, horrific even.

    I love animals. I’ve donated to the ASPCA since I got my first bank account ten years ago. I also love humans. I believe in HUMAN rights and ANIMAL rights.

    Im sorry if you see my opinion as ridiculous, but thats the beautiful things about America we are each allowed to have our own. It’s just a shame we cant be more respectful when sharing them.

  • Guesticles

    “The dog was left in his crate, this bum went and got him out of his crate to kill him.”

    “Cory was the only person in the house from what I was told, so thatleaves cory or cory?”

    How do you know he took him out of his crate and killed him if he were the only person there? If there were others there to witness him doing it, or a nanny cam/video of him doing it, then you’d have more of a leg to stand on. Who says Cory didn’t have a friend over while everyone was gone? Who knows if the dog wasn’t dead before Cory was left alone with it? You only “know” what you’ve heard. You weren’t there, you don’t even know if Cory was really there. You don’t know anything because everything is hearsay.

  • gary morgan

    so with you

  • Ignorance

    Wow…such ignorance. You must not have been around an educated diverse population where doctors, lawyers, teachers, etc have dreads. You show how limited you are by your comments. There are people who keep their dreads neat and clean, regardless of race. Stop stereotyping, instead experience and learn about other cultures and you won’t be making general, bias statements as the one above. Best wishes for you.

  • Guest9743

    I agree with your post 100%. Hundreds, if not thousands of hogs and cows are slaughtered daily. Where are all these SO-CALLED animal lovers when these animals are being lined up to be killed, they are animals too!!!!

  • Outraged


  • Grand Ole Party

    Uhm no one looks cool with dreads. They all look like idiots.

  • Guest1

    Gee, how could the dog have bitten him THROUGH THE CRATE?! The dog was left in his crate, this bum went and got him out of his crate to kill him. Excuse ne, allegedly, He squeezed the life out of that poor puppy with his hands wrapped around charlies neck! Allegedly. I just wonder how long it took for the little 6 lb dog to lose conscienceness, stop fighting for air and finally die. 30 seconds? 60? Maybe 90? This murderer had time to change his mind and walk away. But he didn’t. Allegedly. Oh wait, we know he didn’t walk away! Cory was the only person in the house from what I was told, so thatleaves cory or cory? Huh, I think cory did it! I know the scumbag, the hot girlfriend and I knew charlie. I prefered to spend time with Charlie over cory anyday. Cory is a waste of human flesh. 24 years old, a mooch, works 4 months out of the year at a locally owned donut shop, lives at home, has no car, the other 8 months of the year he does nothing. His parents are enablers and should be ashamed of their parenting skills for allowing their 24 year old son to live at home and not work OR go to school. Jenna will be so much better off without this scumbag in her life. She deserves to be treated like the awesome girl she is by a great guy! Start lining up guys. Cory had it so good with her but didn’t deserve such a great girl. RIP Charlie. I won’t forget you.

  • Sam Busak

    What he do? If it were human???? If my grandmother had male genitals she would be my grandfather. The world doesn’t revolve around if’s. Its some animal which we all eat every single day. Whats the big deal. Seems like an easy nonsense story for reporters to make a big deal of and tons of irrelevant paperwork for some bored police and court appointed employees.

  • Diane Lynch

    Since when is a child not considered a human? SMH. A cat darting out in front of a car is an accident. Right? A grown man picking up a chihuahua and strangling the poor creature is not an accident. Right? You are obviously not an animal advocate. He IS a terrible person and the only ridiculous thing here is your opinion. Geeze, please.

  • Diane Lynch

    It makes you stupid if you’re a friend of this idiot. I don’t care what you look like.

  • Very Concered Citizen

    Couldn’t Agree More!

  • Guest565623

    i have known tons of chihuahuas that have been kind and gentle souls. maybe you should be locked up too

  • Guest54645965

    i seriously doubt that this 6 pound chihuahua was so mean that he had to strangle it to DEATH. that means you would have to hold your hands there for about a minute for him to die. if he couldn’t fight off a six pound chihuahua then he is a sad excuse for a man

  • OtherGuest

    Am I a piece of garbage if I read her comment?

  • animal cruelty = sic mofo’

    someone previously hit the nail on the head with my feelings….

    “A question arises: Was his strangling of the chihuahua misplaced anger?
    This man is dangerous.”

    I totally agree. What a scumbag. I fully feel what he did to the dog was meant (at least in his sad eyes) to be an example of what he is capable of. He needs to have his head examined.
    P.S. while you exam his head please wash it with plentiful soap. Thanks

  • Cindy Stirewalt


  • Natty

    If you know him personally and he’s such a “GREAT” guy, then perhaps you’re head is somewhere else. In my books a “GREAT” guy doesn’t kill someones dog!

  • GuestVisitor

    I grew up with Cory, thought he was a very nice guy and so did everyone else all through elementary/middle/high school. Just because someone is a “good guy” doesn’t mean they are not capable of commiting a crime like this. Normal people snap and make mistakes everyday, but it still doesn’t make it okay. It is also not okay that the laws regarding animal cruelty are so lenient in North Carolina. I will allow the judge to do the judging but I will also be praying for stiff punishment and justice for the family who lost a FAMILY MEMBER that day! It’s so tragic and unthinkable, and my heart hurts for this family.

  • violet

    amen to that,there no difference in a life is a life… Carlie had a life…n he took that away..now he needs to pay with his !!

  • GolfTart

    According to you he’s a “GREAT” guy… What, exactly, is YOUR definition of GREAT? A person who strangles a defenseless animal is a worthless POS.

  • Jack Jones

    Gina, if you think somebody who kills defenseless animals is a “GREAT” guy. In addition to being a bad judge of character, you must be a piece of garbage also. I wonder if you would feel differently if it were your animal.

  • Concerned CB Citizen

    The accused has been charged with felony animal cruelty. He has not yet been sentenced or “punished.” Him being bailed out of jail after an hour has nothing to do with the outcome of this case. He is facing up to a year in prison, fines, probations, etc. I think that is fairly extensive.

    I feel very sorry for the family’s loss, but it is NOT the same thing as a child or a human. If that were the case, every time a cat darted in front of a car, should we charge the driver with manslaughter? Or perhaps a hit and run if they dont stop? No. That is ridiculous.

    Clearly this individual needs some serious HELP. A healthy and stable individuals do not do such things. I doubt he is actually a monster or a terrible person. Ms. Branham seems like an intelligent and strong enough young lady and I doubt she would have had such a serious and lengthy relationship with a bad hearted, evil person.

    I think this petition needs to get more specific about what it is trying to achieve. What harsher punishments are you looking for? What are the current punishments? Dont just post statistics about serial killers.

    Perhaps the law could be adjusted to include mandatory immediate mental evaluation? And therapy, counseling, and anger management to be included in the sentencing?

    We need to HELP correct this situation not just punish and berate.

  • Janell Williams

    How could a GREAT GUY do this??? I think he needs to sit in prison, plus I could think of many other things he needs!!! Sorry SOB!!!

  • Beckster

    I know plenty of people with tattoos and piercings, they’re great and they’re not murderers so don’t even go with the “being judged” thing.

  • Alexis

    This is ridiculous. A chihuahua, seriously…this man is sick, doesn’t matter what his hair looks like Jess a murderer..animals are living things..Dickens me.

  • Porkbevr

    I live next door to half a dozen Chihuahuas. They all need to die. Can someone get me this guys number?

  • Guest2557777

    there’s your trouble Ms. Branham. Stay far away from any white guy with dreadlocks and a neckbeard. A black guy with dreadlocks looks cool. A white guy with dreadlocks looks like they need a bath and better parenting.

    The laws need to be changed for animal cruelty because any “person” who could squeeze the life out of an animal (or worse) is insane and we can expect worse from them. They need to be removed from society. If it is capable of suffering, we as human beings need to re-examine how we deal with those who torture it.

    RIP little Charlie. I’ll always remember your story.

  • Family Friend

    Perfect punishment for the crime. He would get a good taste of feeling little and helpless against his terrifying fate.

  • Charlie

    Great. Another punk white Rastafarian wannabe(see dreadlocks) kook. Probably from a well to do family acting who smokes weed, listens to reggae, and is either unemployed or works a solid 15 hour work week. The real question is how and why these guys continually have hot girlfriends. Never ceases to amaze me. Burn one for Charlie you kook.Then get a job and a haircut.

  • RescueMom

    This has gone on LONG ENOUGH NOW! I have been an animal activist for over 25 yrs! I am a member of the ASPCA & currently am the proud “mommy” of 5 rescues!! I have been saying forever it feels like…UNTIL WE PAY ATTENTION & TAKE A STAND..TO WHOMEVER (I don’t descriminate I’ll speak my mind to anyone!) WE MUST GET STIFF LAWS ON THE BOOKS & FOLLOW THEM THRU…SEVERE PUNISHMENTS…NOTHING WILL EVER CHANGE!! People need to understand that those of us who LOVE OUR CHILDREN 2 or 4 legged..it’s the exact SAME! There are SO MUCH MORE THAN “pets”!! Do you call your family members that? These are MEMBERS OF OUR FAMILY!! THEY HAVE GOD-GIVEN RIGHTS TO LIVE IN A LOVING CARING NUTURING ENVIROMENTS!! Since sadly,they can’t speak..they depend on us…NOT ONLY FOR KEEPING THEM SAFE BUT FOR MEETING THEIR NEEDS THEY MUST HAVE TO LIVE IN A HAPPY NON ABUSIVE HOME WHERE THEY GET their needs met!! And we are THEIR VOICES & IT’S OUR RESPONSABILITY TO MAKE SURE THEY HAVE WHAT IS NEEDED..TO HAVE THAT LOVING,CARING SAFE ENVIRONMENT….as YOU DO A 2-LEGGED CHILD..THE ONLY DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THEM…IS OURS HAVE 4 LEGS!! That’s all!! They ARE MEMBERS OF OUR FAMILY & WE LOVE THEM PROBABLY MORE THAN SOME OF US LOVE THE 2-LEGGED MEMBERS! However,there’s a HUGE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE 2 legged kids & the 4 legged ones..THAT BEING…THE 4 legged kids..DO NOTHING BUT LOVE US!! They ONLY WANT TO LOVE U!! No matter if I had a bad day,what you look like,how you feel,what you wear or say or do..they’re always READY TO LOVE!! Animals that I know..are smarter than any human being I’ve ever met!! We SHOULDN’T HAVE TO GIVE REASONS ON WHY WE WANT WHWT WE WANT..OR REASONS ON WHY WE WANT THEM PROTECTED & THOSE WHO ABUSE,NEGLECT them..should be punished as though the baby had 2 legs!! There’s no difference!!
    Let’s review how the 4/legged baby affects our lives & society…
    1) It’s a known FACT people who have “pets” (I do not like referring to them as ‘pets’ they’re babies!! But for the sake of the ignorant I will use “pets”) it’s a FACT that petting them lower our BP!! It’s a FACT the kids raise our B/P!!
    2) when the law is “trailing some one…looking for hidden drugs…finding missing people…WHO DO THEY USE?? The 2 legs? Haha’ they can’t find theirselves muchness another!! They don’t know how to find hidden drugs…but I know some babiies do!
    3) actually LIVE w/disabled people…& Look after them WAY BETTER THAN A HUMAN!!
    4) helping harden criminals convicted of MURDER & other VIOLENT crimes …to become civil & get their anger & temer under control b/c MOST of them didn’t get that from the HUMANS in their lives!!
    5) and tho I could go on forever on all the positive components we are given by our “pets” …but the most important gift they give that we will never ever ever get from ANY human is…THEY GIVE US UN-conditional LOVE!!
    So this is the THANKS we give them? This is HOW THEY CAN BE TREATED & IT’S OK?? NO…IT’S NOT OK! If we killed 1 of our 2 legged kids….will the punishment be the same?
    And how IS THIS ABUSE?? THIS ISN’T ABUSE….THIS IS TAKING A LIFE!! Something w/a heartbeat & requires everything the 2-legged ones They just SHOW THEIR APPRECIATION…AND IT’S JUST FINE IF THEY ARE N HARMS WAY & are MURDERED!! Shouldnt it be the other way around?? If he had murdered her kid…would be out now??
    People need to wake up & realize that our “pets” are NOT PETS!! THEY ARE LITERALLY MEMBERS OF OUR FAMILYZ!! They deserve to be treated legally as the 2-legged ones!! The way both good & bad…needs to be equal! And I really hope these idiots who make our laws will STOP for a second…and if they don’t want to invest time which isn’t needed really…all we have to is…WHATEVER PUNISHMENTS THAT WOULD BE IMPOSED HAD THE VICTIM HAD only 2 LEGS!! So whatever the punishment is for murder of a kid…that SAME punishment SHOULD BE EXACTLY THE SAME!!! Because they are OUR children!! Get with the program I’m all for same punishment!! Meaning…the crime thats done=punishment that would have imposed had they had 2 legs!!

  • Animal Lover

    He was in jail for an hour???? This sicko needs to go to PRISON where (I sincerely hope) he will be tortured by people much larger than him & be terribly abused on a daily basis…I hope this coward lives the rest of his pathetic, worthless life in fear…always having to look over his shoulder & crying himself to sleep each night, praying that he will just not wake up in the morning. I pray that he is tortured, beaten & bullied every second of every day for the rest of his useless existence.

  • Guest123

    It would have been much better if he had locked the dog in a back room. I personally would not strangle a dog but I can understand a person feeling like doing it. Those little Yappy, high pitched hyper type dogs are extremely annyoying. Yap- Yap- Yap at every little sound. ughhhh

  • Guest56677

    I guess your forgetting all those lovely 4 legged family members that have mauled those two legged family members to death. I do admire your passion though!

  • Carolyn Courtney

    What kind of monster does this?! How would he like it if someone twice his size chokes him? What a complete scumbag!! He needs a lot of jail time for what he did to this innocent animal!!!

  • GuestEric

    Wow, this guy better go ahead and leave town. What a dirt bag.

  • Guestgingergrant

    Big man to strangle a tiny little dog. I hope this criminal has a life of misery, pain and suffering. No, he probably won’t do a bit of jail time, because dogs are viewed as possessions by the courts and not loving members of one’s family.

    The girlfriend is lucky it wasn’t her. Anyone who could be so cruel to an animal is not far from doing the same to a human.

    What a scumbag.

  • brenda mclean

    I hope that this murderer is no longer Jenna’s boyfriend because if
    he will harm an innocent animal, think what he will do to Jenna if
    he gets angry with her!?

  • ChefnSurf

    While I agree that Mr. Gray deserves a total reaming, preferably with the type of machine used to clean sewers and drainpipes, his looks have no direct tie-in to his heinous act. His family, drug use, music choice, employment and girlfriend’s appearance are the only things you’re talking about instead of what he did.

    Unless you actually know those items to be true, you’re attacking an entire group of individuals who have dreadlocks, an admittedly unusual but personal choice, instead of the actual individual who committed the act. That’s neither right nor fair.

  • Bill Hays

    Animal cruelty … is this his first time … getting caught? Isn’t this how most of the famous mass murderers started out? Better keep an eye on this guy, you may see him on CNN one day. And I hope he doesn’t use the tried and true defense of “I was high” or “I was drunk”.

  • Family Friend

    I hope that justice is served for little Charlie. He was a six pound dog horribly killed by a 180 pound man. So wrong on so many levels. RIP sweet Charlie. He was a little dog with such a huge heart and family that loved him so passionately. Let’s all do our part to make sure his death was not in vain and help make animal cruelty laws harsher. My heart goes out to Charlie’s family.

  • SurfCityTom

    community service @ the Carolina Beach Road zoo? Tending to the big cats — especially the tiger and liger. Either would make short work of him whether hungry or not. But maybe coat him with the juices of raw horse meat before he enters the enclosure.

  • Guest423423

    What you have described is called a Trustafarian. And he is a heartless individual for what he did to this poor dog. Where is the love?

  • PublicAvenger

    Michael Vick is a low-life scumbag. He enjoys watching dogs kill each other. He enjoys watching others suffer. I wish some defensive lineman would break his coward neck.

    Just like Michael Vick, this loser needs to go to prison. I have 3 dogs, and I love them, like they were kids. They are so innocent. Even my 1/2 pit bull, is the sweetest guy in the world.

    Don’t get me wrong. Human life is more precious then animal life. Thank God she didn’t have a child around for this coward, loser, to abuse.

  • GuestERIC

    This person is in no way “a great guy”. He is truely pathetic no matter how he looks. which he does look stupid. thanks for this article and picture, so the people of the city can see who this guy is!

  • Mariah Geri

    GREAT guys do not strangle/murder (6lb) helpless/defenseless animals!!!!!

  • Dude1

    Maybe the dog bit him, and he fought back. Chihuahua’s can be mean dogs and the key word is allegedly strangled. Innocent until proven guilty in the good old USA.

  • Gina

    Figures someone was going to stereotype him because of his hairstyle …I have tattoos and piercings ! What’s that make me?? I know him personally and he’s a GREAT guy give u whatever u need if he has it. Why don’t you let the one that is suppose to do the judging do just that!

  • Das Weibstück

    Great guy….. might want to check your “great guy” meter.
    Serial killers start out killing animals.

  • Carolyn Courtney

    He’s a great guy?! He killed a defenseless animal! I don’t care what you look like but if you hurt an innocent animal you’re on my s—t list!! And you need to go to jail for a very long time!!!hopeflly, then someone will beat the h–ll out of him every day!

  • Guestapheliac

    By the looks of his hair style, the strangler of the chihuahua seems to put great emphasis on the “cool factor.”

    What could possibly more cool than dreadlocks on a white guy. So original. So creative. So . . . well, cool.

    I give him an A in the cool category and an F in the basic morality category.

    A question arises: Was his strangling of the chihuahua misplaced anger?

    This man is dangerous.

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