Who, age What Where When Last Known Address
Joshua Ray Gordon, 18 attempted to flush a puppy down a toilet

Eveleth, MN

St. Louis County

February 11, 2010  
Type of Crime Other Crimes #/Type of animal(s) involved Case Status Next Court Date /Courthouse

Convicted felon.  Assaulting his girlfriend, selling marijuana in a school zone, possession of a stun gun

1 12-week-old shih tzu-poodle mix pup Alleged


St. Louis County District Court

Police have arrested an 18-year-old man accused of assaulting a woman and a puppy and selling marijuana in a school zone.

Officers arrested Joshua Ray Gordon at his home in the 600 block of Douglas Avenue. They suspected him of selling marijuana from the house, which is less than a block away from the Eveleth Hippodrome.

  (Photo courtesy of Fox21 News)  Gordon is also accused of assaulting his adult female companion the prior day, causing bodily injury.

While searching Gordon's house, officers say they found a puppy which appeared to have suffered a life-threatening injury. They suspected Gordon had beaten the puppy and attempted to flush it down the toilet.

Police Chief Brian Lillis took the puppy to the Northland Animal Hospital in Virginia for emergency treatment. The puppy is expected to make a full recovery.

Officers also reported seizing a stun gun, about 161 grams of marijuana, and about $2,300 cash from Gordon's home.

Gordon was arraigned on charges of fourth-degree sale of marijuana in a school zone, felony domestic assault, torture or cruelty to a pet or companion animal resulting in death or great bodily harm, and possession of tear gas or stun gun by a felon. He faces a maximum of 27 years in state prison if convicted on all four charges.

Update 2/19/10:  Gordon remains behind bars, charged with animal cruelty.

Many animal lovers came forward to offer help to the puppy, named Griffin.  "Everyone loves him," said Dr. Abby Pontinen, watching a little ball of fur, resembling a mop. "He's such a sweet little dog."

Griffin's fur and personality mask the trauma he's endured in his first 12 weeks of life.  "He didn't want to lift his head up or stand," Pontinen said. She was the veterinarian at the Northland Animal Hospital who responded to a call for help from police. Pontinen took in the shih tzu-poodle mix on Feb. 11.

"He was really dehydrated and underweight. He had bleeding into the front part of his right eye," she said.

"[I] took a look at the puppy [and it] took me a moment to recognize that it was a puppy," recalled Eveleth Police Chief Brian Lillis. "It looked like a little mop on the floor."

Lillis found Griffin lying lifeless on the kitchen floor of Joshua Ray Gordon's house when officers executed a search warrant there. They suspect Gordon assaulted his girlfriend and Griffin, beating Griffin and trying to drown him in a toilet.

Lillis said witnesses told him, earlier, the puppy had been wrapped in a wet blanket and left in the basement for several days with no food or water.

"[The] puppy was in some serious distress," said Lilllis.  Nonetheless, Lillis is a self–described animal–lover and was very upset at the defenseless puppy left for dead, so he acted quickly.  "I knew we needed to take action immediately to save that puppy's life," he said.

"We all love him," said Pontinen, holding Griffin on a table. Since arriving at the clinic, Griffin has improved each day and is now able to walk and play. He has even gained a pound. But he'll carry the scars from the abuse for life.

Pontinen says blunt force trauma to his head has left him most likely blind in his right eye, and his left eye has a lot of healing to do.

"His other senses have kind of compensated for the lack of sight," Pontinen said. "His hearing is spectacular and he uses his nose a lot to follow things and find people."

But then there's the mental damage. "Behaviorally and emotionally, we're not sure," she said. "Animals that are abused young in life tend to form preferences or fears."

She said the staff is watching Griffin and playing with him to minimize the scars. And they say he's responding well, bumping into things every now and then, but otherwise a playful puppy. He's destined to be adopted by the foster family that has given him a new life of gentle love.

If you'd like to contribute to Griffin's care, you can make a donation to the Mesabi Humane Society at 2305 Southern Drive, Virginia, MN 55792.

As for Joshua Gordon, he remains in the St. Louis County Jail, due in court on March 1 in Virginia.

Update 4/1/10:  We have learned that after only two months for being convicted for third degree felony assault in a different case, Gordon allegedly assaulted his girlfriend and severely beat a 12-week-old puppy named Griffin.

The next hearing is set for April 5, 2010 at 9 a.m.  The case #69VI - CR - 10 - 190 will be heard in the St. Louis County District Court, Virginia Courthouse, at 300 South 5th Avenue, Virginia, MN 55792 - Telephone: (218) 749-7106


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