EDWARDSVILLE — Madison County State’s Attorney Tom Gibbons announced today charges have been filed against a Granite City man for spraying a toxic chemical on a dog causing chemical burns and skin destruction.

The state's attorney said Rodney W. Johnson (d.o.b. 9/5/74) has been charged with one count of Animal Torture, a Class 3 felony and one count of Aggravated Cruelty to Animals, a Class 4 felony.

"On February 6, 2020, a dog in critical condition was dropped off to the Madison Police Department," Gibbons said. "The Madison Police Department immediately contacted Pound Pets Inc., an animal rescue organization located in Granite City, to get the dog emergency medical treatment due to chemical burns. The small Maltese mix was later identified as 10-year-old Charlie. The investigation revealed Johnson is not Charlie’s owner.

"Thanks to the urgent actions by Pound Pets Inc., Charlie was taken to Veterinary Specialty Services in Manchester, Missouri, for immediate medical attention. According to the investigation, Charlie was given a small chance of survival. With continued intensive care and nurturing from Veterinary Specialty Services and Pound Pets Inc., Charlie has continued to fight for his life."

State’s Attorney said about the allegations: “The images depicting the injuries to Charlie are heartbreaking and truly disturbing to look at. However, we cannot turn our eyes away from the injustices he has suffered. The terrible abuse and cruelty alleged in this case must be dealt with swiftly and severely so that we can restore a sense of justice to our community and right such terrible wrongs. We have a zero-tolerance for abuse and cruelty to animals in Madison County, and the filing of these charges is just the beginning of that lesson for this defendant.”

Gibbons commended the work of the Madison Police Department for contacting Pound Pets Inc. to get Charlie emergency care and for the quick and comprehensive investigation which led to today’s charges.

Under Illinois law, Animal Torture is a Class 3 Felony and Aggravated Cruelty to Animals is a Class 4 felony. If convicted, the maximum penalty for a Class 3 felony is five (5) years in the Illinois Department of Corrections. The maximum penalty for a Class 4 felony, if convicted, is three (3) years. Johnson’s bail has been set at $40,000 by Associate Judge Janet Heflin.

This charge, as well as the statements made herein, are based upon probable cause. The defendant is presumed innocent unless proven guilty.

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