Warner Robins man accused of striking dog with shovel

bpurser@macon.comJuly 9, 2014 

WARNER ROBINS -- Erin Roberts said her beloved 15-year-old dog, Candy, died in her arms Monday, about a week after being beaten with a shovel.

“I just couldn’t let her suffer anymore,” Roberts said Wednesday about her sheltie and border collie mix that was euthanized by a veterinarian.

“Her tail wasn’t wagging when she saw me,” Roberts said. “Her tail always wagged when she sees me.”

Bobby Edwards, 78, of Warner Robins was cited by police with misdemeanor animal cruelty.

He said Wednesday he struck the dog maybe “once or twice” or “something like that” with a shovel, but he insisted he’s “innocent” of animal cruelty. He said the dog was in the yard of a home he owns in the 200 block of Shirley Drive, and the dog wouldn’t budge.

Edwards, a retired civil service worker at Robins Air Force Base, pointed to a spot where the dog was lying in the yard. He said he first tried hollering at the dog, which was barking at him. Then he hit her with his shovel, although he couldn’t remember what part of the dog’s body he struck.

“She finally got on up and got around and went down in (a nearby yard),” Edwards said.

Warner Robins Animal Control officers, who found the dog following a 911 call, took the dog to a Bonaire veterinarian on July 1. Whether the dog had lived or died, Edwards still would be charged with animal cruelty, Assistant Police Chief John Wagner said.

Edwards said he was “completely flabbergasted” when two female Warner Robins Animal Control officers and a male police officer showed up at his home. He said he also complained that animal control officers took his shovel.

Candy, terrified of lightning, got out of Roberts’ house June 30 during a severe thunderstorm, said Roberts, an automobile sales consultant.

When Candy didn’t come home that night, Roberts said she looked for her, put up posters and contacted her Neighborhood Watch.

On July 2, she made up more posters to take to area veterinarians and Warner Robins Animal Control. When she arrived at animal control, director Greg Langston told Roberts her dog had been picked up and was at a vet. She said she was told a man had been charged with hurting Candy.

“I just broke down,” Roberts said. “I just couldn’t believe it.”

Dr. Vernard Hodges, co-owner of Critter Fixer Veterinary Hospital on Ga. 96, said he operated on the dog to repair a fracture and laceration on the left side of the dog’s skull.

Roberts was able to take Candy home in stable condition July 3 with a guarded prognosis. But the dog’s condition worsened: She was unable to walk and was vomiting, Roberts said.

Hodges said Candy had “extensive injuries” from the incident. Hodges said he could not say whether those injuries led to her death because he had not previously examined Candy, who was old and had a history of hip displaysia.

Edwards said he plans to plead not guilty to the charge. He faces a maximum $1,000 fine and up to six months in jail if convicted in Municipal Court, said City Attorney Jim Elliott. Edwards’ court date is Aug. 20.

To contact writer Becky Purser, call 256-9559.

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