FLORIDA -- Charged with animal cruelty after her emaciated, sickly Doberman Pinscher named Kaiser was seized, Dorcas Boze, 71, denied starving the animal to the verge of death as she was accused.
Although media outlets love to tell readers what the maximum sentence is, 99.9% of people never go to jail for animal cruelty. This lady, being 71, would never have been sent to jail even if she had slit puppies' throats. Nevertheless, the Sun-Sentinel announced that Boze was facing "up to a $5,000 fine and a year in the county jail".
Yes, Boze finally got around to seeking vet care and yes the dog was diagnosed with heartworms and hookworms, but why did she wait until it was a walking skeleton before she did this???
That is where she committed a crime. She waited until the dog was on death's door before seeking veterinary care for him.
Of course this didn't matter to the jury. They simply saw an old lady and felt sorry for her. The came back within an hour and declared her not guilty.
Family members shouted for joy when the clerk read the jury's decision. Boze hugged public defender Elinor Wilkov and cried.
"I'm happy," she said leaving the courtroom of County Court Judge Dale Ross. "I knew I wasn't guilty."
The episode, family members said, was the result of a neighborhood dispute at the Silver Oaks trailer park in unincorporated Broward near Davie.
Complaints of a barking dog first brought Broward sheriff's deputies to Boze's home in August, shortly after she said she took in Kaiser from a nearby businessman who planned to have the dog euthanized when he closed the business.
"She didn't take in a show dog," her attorney told the jury. "She didn't take in a dog that was going to win a blue ribbon. She took in a dog that was going to be put to sleep."
In October, Boze said she noticed Kaiser was losing weight rapidly and took him to a veterinarian who prescribed medication for heartworms and hookworms. It cost her $88, she said, all the money she had left at the time from a small monthly Social Security check.
A week later, the day Boze said Kaiser was due to return to the veterinarian, a sheriff's deputy returned to the trailer and despite Boze's attempts to explain about the dog's health problems, cited her for animal cruelty and took Kaiser away to the Broward County Animal Control shelter, she said.
If she used all the money she had in her bank account, then how was she going to afford to take the dog back to the vet the very next week? How convenient that she says "the day he was supposed to go back to the vet, they took him!" Yeah right.
The problem is that Boze waited until the dog was nothing but a bag of bones wrapped in some fur before finally bothering to seek vet advice.
"They acted like she committed murder when you've got killers out on the street," said Boze's daughter, Jackie Anderson.
Well, Jackie, why didn't you give your mother the money to take the dog to the vet before it got so bad that the dog was seized and she was charged with cruelty??
Local animal experts said Kaiser was among the worst cases of apparent animal neglect they had seen.
Prosecutor Morgan Rood argued that illness alone could not have been responsible for Kaiser's condition.
"That dog didn't just suddenly become emaciated," he said. "From day one, that dog was denied proper sustenance and proper shelter."
Kaiser lasted in the pound until earlier this month. But before he was put to sleep Boze delivered cans of dog food to the animal control shelter because she was worried he would not eat the dry dog food at the pound, she said.
In November, Boze stopped going to the pound when she suffered a heart attack.
"It was worrying about him that caused me to have a heart attack," she said.
(Sun Sentinel - January 24, 1987)