You write a story like this in disbelief. But it is true.
A healthy hound retriever mix, entrusted to an Oakland Park gay couple for its care, was killed when the morons performed amateur surgery on the dog in their living room while holding the dog down against its will.
The couple, 56 year old William Ralph Jones, Jr., and his partner of six years, Charles Haire, lived at 5711 NE 7 Terrace in Oakland Park.
A neighbor, Danielle Vecchio, had asked the men to watch over her dog, Zoe, since the rules of her apartment complex disallowed pets over 40 pounds.
You may have seen the story on the television news and in the local daily newspapers. One of the partners, Jones, has been charged with two counts of felony animal cruelty. He was released from jail last week on a $5,000 bond. (Read Police Report)
After being released from custody, Jones apparently had some domestic issues with his partner, Claire. That’s where we come in.
Unsolicited, unannounced, and on his own initiative, Claire walked into the offices of SFGN on January 27, 2010, to complain that he was not “being treated properly by his partner,” Jones.
Claire began to tell his story, “the full story,” of what happened to the dog, Zoe, on that tragic day to SFGN Features Editor Joey Amato. In doing so, he basically confessed to being part of the crime.
According to Haire, on January 12, 2010, the dog escaped from the Jones/Haire household through a hole in the fence, but cut and scarred its body on a protruding nail. It left a 3-4 inch laceration on the dog’s chest.
Haire said the cut was minor, but he then admitted to SFGN that he stood idly by as his partner retrieved Super Glue, and attempted to paste the lacerations shut.
On the next day, the 13th, Zoe got loose again, Haire said, but this time sustained a more severe cut, re-opening the lacerations. Jones attempted to treat the dog’s wounds on the spot.
Haire explained that the couple “could not afford to pay for a vet,” so Jones decided to perform an operation on the dog right in their home. First, they muzzled the dog.
The couple then began the procedure on a coffee table in their living room. Also present was Ayse Jones, the 26 year old daughter of Jones, from a previous marriage, in a heterosexual life far away.
According to Haire, Jones retrieved some dental floss and a standard sewing needle from the bathroom while he and Ayse held the dog.
Haire told SFGN that when Jones commenced the procedure the dog began “screaming and yelping.” Because of this, he said, “It required all three of us to hold him down.”
Haire stated Jones then instructed him to administer Cholipin, a prescription-only human muscle relaxant to the dog, “to calm it down.” Haire complied with the instruction.
When that did not quiet the dog sufficiently, Haire said that Jones retrieved Chloroform from the medicine cabinet, while he and the man’s daughter continued to restrain the dog.
Jones, Haire said, poured the chloroform onto a cloth, and then placed a lethal dose over the dog’s mouth. The dog expired.
Haire then volunteered that Jones attempted to administer mouth to mouth CPR to the now deceased Zoe.He then told SFGN that the entire time this was transpiring he had a cell phone in his hand.
Asked why he did not call 911, or physically restrain his partner, Haire claimed he “was scared, that Jones had a gun in the house.”
Stated Dr. Brandon Cox, a well respected veterinarian who founded the Gentle Care Animal Hospital in Fort Lauderdale years ago: “It is sad he could not afford a vet. But a dog is not a science project. Chloroform is not a viable alternative, and not used by animal hospitals. They could have called the Humane Society. Or they would have been far better off just leaving the dog alone and seeing if the wounds healed themselves.”
Asked if he helped hold the dog down against his will, Claire admitted to SFGN “Yes, Yes, Yes.”
Asked if he felt he did the wrong thing, Claire again shouted out “Yes, Yes, Yes.”
The dog’s owner, Danielle Vecchio, is devastated: “I got Zoe after I lost a child, and had a miscarriage. Zoe filled that void. Now I feel like I have lost another baby.”
The story does not end there. After the episode, Jones wrapped the dog in a white bed sheet, sewed it closed, and delivered it, dead, to its owner. He then made up a story about how the dog died, saying it had got into some chloroform in the medicine cabinet.
Vecchio was unconvinced. She developed a ruse to sort out the truth.
Vecchio told SFGN: “I made up a story to them saying I was going to see a psychic so I could divine the real truth. Then Haire called me the next day and confessed what really happened, how all three of them held Zoe down while she was crying for help. I think they should all go to jail.”
Detectives charged only Jones with two counts of felony animal abuse. They said if convicted, he could get 20 years in prison. His family paid his $5,000 bond.
A few days after being released, Jones then got a restraining order against his partner Haire, who had gone on Channel 7, WSVN, and complained about his conduct. This led to his unannounced arrival at our office to complain about the way he was being treated: “Jones is trying to make me out to be the bad guy,” he said.
Admitting he was bi-polar, had occasionally seen a psychiatrist, and that the actions he engaged in were a “horrible, terrible thing,” Haire nevertheless refused to say to SFGN he could have done anything else.
But he stood there and watched, cell phone in hand, as a dog died at the criminally negligent hands of his partner.
Having read this ladies and gentlemen of the SFGN jury, what is your verdict?