UPDATE: Rescue Hoping For Maximum Sentence For “Christmas” Puppy’s Abuser

Written by: Dr. Katy Nelson

December 29, 2015

**Update February 11, 2016**

Richard Cope was arrested in Texas on January 31st for cruelty and neglect toward a puppy found on Christmas morning. Michigan City Police identified the man as Chance’s former owner based on information from the rescue’s original Facebook post.

According to ABC 7, Cope will be charged on “one count of animal torture, a felony, and three counts of misdemeanor animal cruelty.” A petition created by Guardians of the Green Mile Dog Rescue urges courts to assign a maximum sentence, and is nearing 2,000 signatures with a goal of 5,000.

As for the little guy himself, Chance is being fostered by one of the rescue’s volunteers and is learning a whole lot of great things. In addition to proper manners, he’s training alongside his Pit Bull foster sibling and certified therapy dog. Foster mom Laura Bruccoleri is doing everything she can to prepare Chance for a great life with his adoptive family.

chance and sib

He even got to give thank you kisses to the police officers who helped save his life!

chance at police station

Founder of Guardians of the Green Mile Sheri Christopher said to the NWI Times:


[Chance’s foster parents] are going back to basics and giving him calm and peacefulness to teach him how life is supposed to be, because we don’t want him to fall victim to his past—we don’t want it to define him.

Chance already has a very special family waiting to take him home for good, and to help him adjust for as long as he needs. Congrats, buddy!

View the rescue’s petition to see how they hope to get justice for everything Chance endured, and visit their Facebook page for updates.

H/t ABC 7, Featured Image via NWI Times

**Original Story**

Chance Christmas, as the rescue calls him, somehow staggered into a backyard on Christmas Day malnourished, without much use of his hind legs, and unable to eat or drink. When a group of people gathered in the home saw his limp form outside, they immediately rushed him to an emergency animal hospital.

Guardians of the Green Mile, which functions as a “liaison between kill shelters and animal rescue groups,” is taking responsibility for Chance. They have been able to fund his emergency treatment and one of his hip surgeries. Executive Director and Founder Sherri Christopher said of pup’s unlikely but fortunate outcome:

He walked in the yard and none of them could believe what they were seeing. […] Abuse doesn’t take a day off.

She didn’t hesitate to take over funding the puppy’s care; sadly, it’s not at all unusual for Christopher to receive calls about abused dogs during the holidays.


Dr. Maggie Sharpe, who works at the emergency center where Chance was taken, believes that his broken hips may be the result of his being stomped on. She says that despite the unthinkable cruelty, Chance still has the strength and attitude to wag his little tail.

Sharpe told FOX28:

He was struggling to breath [sic] and had a lot of foam coming out of his nose, he had a lot of infected skin. […] It’s hard to believe when you look at that little baby that somebody could done that to him [sic].

It’s no surprise that Chance is already receiving countless adoption requests, but he still has quite a bit of recovering to do. Part of that process includes a second hip surgery, which Guardians of the Green Mile is working hard to fund. If you would like to donate to help Chance get the surgery he needs, visit the rescue’s PayPal link. He is on strict cage rest at this time, and has already gained five pounds.


It takes our breath away to see hundreds of people emerge to help a dog whose story has touched them. “If these people would still be willing to open their home to save 100’s because of one, can you imagine the impact?” Christopher said. There are so many deserving puppies and dogs begging to join your family—consider adopting one of those lost souls. They have a story to tell too.

At this time, Michigan City Police do not yet have any leads on who caused Chance so much pain.

H/t FOX28

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Written by: Dr. Katy Nelson

December 29, 2015

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