For Immediate Release:
October 25, 2022
Moira Colley 202-483-7382
Rockdale County, Ga. – After hearing that a dog named Lala—along with two others, Storm and Luke Cage—died of heatstroke in Georgia, Vanderpump Rules star Lala Kent sent a letter on PETA’s behalf today, urging the Rockdale County district attorney to file cruelty charges against the dogs’ owner, a sheriff’s deputy, who “trashed ’em” after they perished in 95-degree weather while confined to a crate inside a shed.
The dogs were American bullies, a breathing-impaired breed who are twice as likely as other dogs to suffer from heatstroke, and deputy and former K-9 handler Eric Tolbert admitted to investigators that he knew that they “don’t do well out in the heat.” Yet after the first dog died on June 13, he apparently left the other two in a filthy shed while he went to work the next day. Upon returning home, he found one dead and one barely clinging to life, but instead of rushing the dying animal for emergency care, he told investigators that he “poured lemon juice in there.”
“As someone who shares a name with one of these dogs, their lingering end struck a chord in me,” writes Kent. “It is difficult to imagine the suffering that they endured, struggling to breathe, helpless and panicking, desperately trying to escape their [crate], in that sweltering shed for hours.”
After investigating the dogs’ deaths and finding two other dogs—including Tolbert’s assigned K-9, Aegis—unattended in squalid pens on his property, the sheriff’s office removed Aegis, demoted Tolbert from his position as a K-9 handler, and recommended cruelty-to-animals charges. A local judge has reportedly refused to review the evidence.
Additional information about heatstroke in dogs is available here, and PETA’s previous letter to the district attorney is available here.
PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to abuse in any way”—opposes speciesism, a human-supremacist worldview. For more information, please visit PETA.org or follow the group on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.