Boykins woman loses custody of dog

Published 10:34 am Monday, November 27, 2017


People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) has gained custody of a female pitt bull named Princess, formerly belonging to Tonya Y. Brown of Boykins. Judge Parker Councill granted PETA’s request for custody during a hearing held on Tuesday, Nov. 14 in Southampton County General District Court after Brown did not show up for the hearing.

princess at PETA

Princess in one of PETA’s guest shelter rooms. Submitted – Daphna Nachminovitch

Brown was charged on Aug. 24 of this year with two counts of cruelty to animals following a complaint made by PETA to the Town of Boykins Police Office. According to police records, Brown allegedly kept two pit bulls, Princess and another named Gigi, perpetually caged in a small chainlink pen in her mother’s backyard. Gigi was found earlier this year by a Boykins Police officer but perished before the other could be seized.

PETA investigators who made the complaint to police described the dogs’ living conditions as having “so much feces on the urine-soaked ground that the dogs defecated on top of their own doghouse.”

“These dogs were kept isolated outside 24/7, in all weather extremes, deprived of exercise, companionship and affection, and unable to escape their own waste as it accumulated around them,” Daphna Nachminovitch, PETA’s senior vice president of cruelty investigations, previously told The Tidewater News.

“We’ve been trying to get these dogs out of this situation for a long time,” she added, explaining that PETA had been aware of incidents involving Brown going back to 2013.

PETA has since transferred Princess to the Virginia Beach SPCA, where she is reportedly being treated for heart worm and being assessed for adoption. Despite her previous living conditions, she is friendly with people, Nachminovitch said.

According to the state courts website, Brown was released on a summons following her arrest. She is due back in court on the animal cruelty charges in late January. She was unable to be reached for comment by press time.