John & Lakisha Pullen starved their dog to death Virginia Beach, VA September 27, 2002

John Pullen was observed throwing a dog wrapped in a blanket into a garbage bin at the Bancroft Hall apartments.  The dog was recovered by animal control.  A veterinarian determined that the emaciated dog suffered severe muscle loss and weighed about 11 pounds, finding that the dog died from starvation.

The dog weighed about 25 pounds when it was adopted from the Virginia Beach SPCA in April 2002.

John Pullen was originally served with a misdemeanor warrant but it was later upgraded.  The SPCA stated that had the dog been fed properly it should have weighed about 50 pounds.

Both John, age 21 and Lakisha, age 22, were released on bond after both being charged with felony animal cruelty in October, 2002.  Each faces up to 12 months in jail if convicted.

On December 12, 2002 the couple were convicted of animal cruelty for letting their pet dog starve to death while they were on a 4-day trip to Connecticut.  John Pullen was sentenced to 12 months in jail with 6 months to serve.  The other 6 months were suspended on condition of his good behavior for 2 years.  Lakisha Pullen was sentenced to 1 month in jail.  They were also ordered not to own another "companion pet".

Defense attorney Steven C. Frucci said both convictions would be appealed to Circuit Court.  General District Court Judge Thomas M. Ammons granted each a $2,500 appeal bond and they were released.

Prosecutors reduced the felony charges to misdemeanors because they were unable to obtain enough evidence from the apartment to determine whether sufficient food and care had been provided to the dog and because the veterinarian who examined the dog's body could not state conclusively that the dog did or did not have a life-threatening disease.

John Pullen is in the Navy and Lakisha Pullen is 9 months pregnant.


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