Bugsy, the little four month old Chihuahua that was dragged behind his owner’s, Pompeyo Morales, truck on July 4 is back home with Morales.
When it happened, this case garnered national attention with hundreds and hundreds of dog lovers upset and angry. There were also many hundreds of offers to take care of Bugsy.
Morales’ attorney said it was a horrible accident and that his client was beyond sorry for the whole ordeal and at the end of a 3 1/2-hour hearing at the M.C. Blanchard Judicial Building on Thursday, a judge sided with Morales.
There were more than two dozen in court to hear the outcome and most of them were supporters of Morales.
Escambia County Judge David Ackerman ended up granting custody of Bugsy, the chihuahua, to Morales.
“With everything I heard here, I am sure Mr. Morales loved his dog,” Ackerman said during a 30-minute explanation of his decision. “We are all human, and we all make mistakes.”
Ten people, including friends, neighbors and people Morales has worked for, wrote letters to the court asking that he get his dog back. Seventy-six local people also signed petitions in support of Morales and Bugsy being reunited.
“From what I know of Pompeyo and his family, it is simply inconceivable that he intended to harm his dog in any way,” wrote Gene Church, chief executive officer of Southern Oaks. “He has grieved about the injury to the dog, and the damage to his reputation, and that of his family.”
Morales works at Merritt Glass Co. and does several other jobs to support his wife and six children who live in the Philippines. He goes to visit them once or twice a year.
“Pompeyo has shown remorse for the injury and has expressed concern for any negative impact my business would suffer from his association with us,” wrote Kenneth Merritt Jr., president of the company. “To the contrary, we are proud to have him as an employee.”
Walter “Bud” Sparshott, president of Century 21 Southern Homes Realty, wrote that Morales could never be guilty of animal cruelty.
“I have always respected Pompeyo for the type of person he is, a very proud individual that cares for his family and friends and (is) a credit to our community,” he wrote.
Jenkins said Morales didn’t understand what was going on when the couple took the dog to the animal hospital because of a language barrier and because he was in a state of shock. (Pensacola News Journal)
The prosecution was obviously in disagreement believing it to show a lack of reasonable care.
Morales will have to pay for all incurred medical costs as well as take the puppy in for two welfare check-ups but it doesn’t end there for him, he still faces trial for animal cruelty charges on August 23. His attorney hopes that the state will consider dismissing charges after this.
Now I realize there are alot of people angry over this, angry because of the accident and angry that he was given custody of the puppy back to him. Most of what everyone heard was what the papers published and what the news reported but please keep in mind, there is always two sides to any story or three if you go by the old axiom, ‘yours, mine and the truth.’ Anyway, please take a moment to read – Pompeyo Morales & Bugsey – The Other Side of the Story. This was written by a friend and supervisor of Morales, Derrick Chadwick.
I took the time to look for this and read it and post it, I believe it should get a ‘fair hearing’ as well. It may change your mind or it may not. I admit when I first heard the story I was very angry and upset. I couldn’t understand how something like this could happen ‘accidentally.’ While I still feel the Morales is to blame for what happened, as does he, I don’t feel that there was any intent or neglect, sadly it really was an accident, pure and simple. Morales has suffered the guilt from hell over this as would any loving, caring pet owner and I really do believe his is remorseful.
Below is the copy of a post that was left on a forum of of of the news stories. It’s also written by Morales supervisor, Derrick Chadwick.
Today starting at around 3:30pm until 6:30 pm Pompeyo Had a Court appearance and was Justly awarded custody of his Buddy Bugsy back after he pays all bills related to the injuries sustained to Bugsy.
He appeared today for this separate custody hearing with a separate Prosecutor for Custody to see if he would be allowed to have Bugsy back. This Judge on this case Judge Ackerman was recently appointed after another Judge Kenssey (spl error) refused the case. I wonder why this Judge stepped off the case?? To not let the Deputies look bad or didn’t want to be associated with this heated case? I heard She was a former Policewoman.
It was shown that a new Recruit in training (only been on the job for 3 weeks) conducted the initial Investigation from interviewing the witnesses and wrote a report with no help from his trainer. Pompeyo was arrested by this new recruit. This recruit also went to Pompeyo’s house 4 days later to apologize for the awful News coverage depicting Pompeyo. Pompeyo was not home, but he Deputy spoke with Pompeyo’s brother. This was per the Deputy on the stand.
The statements the new recruit made in his report (that all the News agencies only used to report on) had many critical errors. This caused the Instant Headlines and Hate for Pompeyo. These errors were proven false from two different witnesses statements (one written and one verbal) given to The Prosecutor of the Criminal case. One of the witnesses (who I have never talked to and do not know her name ) saw the Dog being dragged accidentally and stopped Pompeyo. She stated is was evident Pompeyo did it accidentally and was upset at hurting his dog. Pompeyo took the dog in his arms and got back in his truck and drove home which was not far off. This woman went on to her own way, but later contacted the Prosecutor’s office.
The other witnesses Jessica and her Husband was one of the Persons who followed Pompeyo home and spoke with him briefly. She was with her husband and another carload of people. Before Pompeyo had a chance to get out of his truck they came to his truck and started asking him if the dog was alive and where he was going to take the puppy. After realizing he was in shock and could hardly respond to all the questions due to this and his language problem being from another country she quickly told Pompeyo she new a place… an Emergency hospital (it open only late night and early morning and holidays) I have lived here 35 years and did not know of this place, but Jessica told me in one of our phone calls she had used it before. Her Husband gave a verbal statement over the phone to the Criminal Prosecutor since they were out of town relating these events.
None of these witnesses were subpoenaed by the Custody Prosecutor or asked to give a Deposition/statement written. All the Custody Prosecutor used was the Report made by the New Recruit which proved to have the wrong information. The Custody Prosecutor never knew the Criminal Prosecutor had more statements until this hearing.
A separate Criminal case for Animal Cruelty has been postponed 3 times pending todays custody hearing by the Criminal Prosecutor’s office.
This Prosecutor gave these statements above to his Supervisor the Head Criminal Prosecutor to bring to the Custody hearing as a defense witness and it showed Pompeyo’s side of the story was true. In all actuality it was shown that Pompeyo should not have been arrested in the first place. It showed it was an accident. A horrible accident.
After 3 hours of testimony by myself and 4 others as well as 10 letters written on Pompeyo’s behalf and a Petition signed by 70+ people requesting Pompeyo be returned his dog and why.
The Custody Prosecution only showed the dog was hurt and how much it would cost. Which has been given to Pompeyo numerous times, but he was not allowed to start paying on the bills due to a hold by the Sheriffs office told By Ms. Candace the Manager of the Animal control office. He was also not allowed to see his dog at all for the last month. Per this Manager on the stand. Its quite hard to pay on a bill that your not allowed to pay on. The Custody Prosecutor was not aware he tried to see his dog or that he tried to pay on his bills when we first found out who actually had Bugsy. The Custody Prosecutor and Manager of the Animal control stated in court they did not investigate to show whether Pompeyo had or had not ever been cited or reported for any animal abuse neglect before in the past. Of course he has NEVER been cited or reported.
Pompeyo is to return 2 weeks then one month after he receives Bugsy back for inspection of his well being. This is after he pays all the Bills.
We have always agreed to pay these bills, and I asked the Defense Attorney James Jenkins (God Bless him for believing Pompeyo) to ascertain the destination of all the donation money sent in by all the charitable people. All the Donations received by The Animal Control office might be sent back to the givers since the Judge ruled that the donations might have been sent under the false information that Pompeyo intentionally hurt his dog and was not going to get it back and would be adopted. These people not knowing what actually happened might be upset since Pompeyo is to get Bugsy back. The Judge asked for that to be checked on. I suppose it will be done somehow. If not hopefully these donations will go to other dogs that are injured and need Clinical care.
The Custody Prosecution tried to show Pompeyo was uncaring and was not going to take his dog to the Vet. Fortunately the Judge saw that Pompeyo was distraught at what he had done and was confused and cared about his puppy Bugsy. Can you Imagine what you would do on a holiday at 5.30 in the evening when you were close to your house and showed up at your house with two other carloads of people (strangers) asking you questions before you even got out of your vehicle? The Defense Attorney and Judge both talked about this.
I have to say that for me this is a tough call. There’s no doubt that there was negligence involved and also no doubt of Morales’ guilt. Should he have gotten Bugsy back? There’s a part of me that says, ‘No way!’ but there’s also a part of me that feels that Morales has in some ways paid by the guilt he feels. As I said, for me this is a tough call….