Police Catch Fugitive Wanted In Puppy Abuse Case

An Indiana man accused of violently abusing a puppy has been arrested by U.S. Marshals after a manhunt tracked him down in El Paso, Texas.

The young Pit Bull named Chance Christmas was discovered by Good Samaritans when he stumbled into their back yard at Christmas time in 2015. His back hips were broken and his muzzle was taped shut and infected.

Photo credit: Guardians of the Green Mile

Vets determined the electrical cord wrapped around his mouth for several days and that his broken bones are consistent with someone having violently stomped on him.

Guardians of the Green Mile stepped forward and rescued the puppy, paying for his medical care and surgeries.


Photo credit: Guardians of the Green Mile

LaPorte County police said that Richard Cope was identified as Chance’s former owner and that the puppy may have been used as a bait dog for dog fighting. Cope became their prime suspect, but he fled after a warrant was issued in the middle of January. A coordinated effort between law enforcement agencies across the two states lead to Cope’s arrest.


Photo credit: Guardians of the Green Mile

Cope faces one count of torturing an animal, a Level 6 felony, and three Class A misdemeanor counts of cruelty to an animal. If convicted, he faces up to six and a half years in prison. Authorities said their investigation is still ongoing and more charges may be possible.

As for Chance, he underwent surgery to repair his shattered hips.


Photo credit: Guardians of the Green Mile

He’s currently recovering and getting lots of rest, physical therapy, love and training from his foster mom and her certified therapy dog, Piper.


Photo credit: Guardians of the Green Mile

Guardians of the Green Mile plan to make Chance a certified therapy dog who can visit schools and help educate kids about animal abuse. That will be a fantastic role for this.

Update June 2017

Cope has been found guilty and was sentenced to four years behind bars. Read more updated on Chance Christmas here.

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