Puppy’s death sparks call for tougher animal cruelty laws

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — It has been more than a month since a puppy was allegedly beaten to death in Wilmington. Now, thousands of people are coming together on Facebook in hopes of getting justice for the pup named Axel.

“This is the hardest thing I’ve ever had to go through in my life. The hardest thing,” Axel’s owner, Tammy Croom said.

On Christmas day Axel was killed. He was an early Christmas present for Croom but was taken from her far too soon.

“I have in my possession right now his collar and his tags,” Croom said.

All Croom has left are tags and memories.

Croom’s daughter’s boyfriend, Christopher Simpson, is accused of beating the puppy to death.

“To beat a dog to death is pretty serious and I don’t see it any different, that’s just my opinion, than harming a child. It’s innocent they don’t have a voice,” said Rosey Milazzo, who created the Facebook group.

In just three days more than 2,300 people have joined the Facebook group “Justice for Axel.”

Milazzo is an animal advocate and created the group to raise awareness of animal cruelty cases like this.

“My ideal would be, you know, five years or more but I know that’s not realistic,” Milazzo said.

Although New Hanover County District Attorney Ben David could not comment on this specific case he said the maximum punishment would be up to 39 months incarceration. However, that is if the defendant has a serious record.

It’s a sentence Croom, Milazzo, and David would like to see changed.

“I’ve always said that crimes of violence are the top priority and that includes not only against humans but against animals too,” David said. “So I would advocate for punishing animal abuse, particularly with malicious intent, more harshly than it currently is.”

Croom wants a database created where animal abusers are registered and for their rights to take care of animals be stripped away.

“Pets have feelings too and they have no way to defend themselves so I would like to see punishment come out of this and higher animal laws,” Croom said.

As for Simpson, Croom once saw him as a son but that is not the case anymore.

“I will never be able to forgive him for this,” Croom said.

WWAY reached out to Simpson for an interview but he declined the request.

Simpson’s next court date is scheduled for February 8. The “Justice for Axel” group plans to protest his appearance.

Categories: Local, New Hanover

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