EASTON — A 61-year-old Easton woman has been ordered to serve two years of supervised probation and complete 60 hours of community service after a judge found her guilty, on Tuesday, Jan. 14, of beating and choking her German shepherd in June 2019.
In a plea agreement, Susan P. Greenhawk pleaded guilty to one count of animal cruelty before Talbot County District Court Judge Karen Ketterman, who sentenced her to supervised probation with an 85-day suspended jail sentence if Greenhawk violates the terms of her probation.
The state agreed to scratch all other charges against Greenhawk, which included two counts of aggravated animal cruelty and two counts of failure to provide care.
Talbot Humane took custody of Greenhawk’s German shepherd on June 23 immediately after Greenhawk’s neighbor reported to police that she witnessed Greenhawk beat the dog with a cup and then choke the dog by wrapping the dog’s leash around its neck, court documents stated.
A responding officer who attended Greenhawk’s trial said that the neighbor who witnessed and reported the incident said the dog was “frightened” and “yelping,” but did not try to fight back or escape.
A veterinarian’s subsequent examination of Greenhawk’s dog found that the dog was “dehydrated, malnourished to the point of emaciation and lacking muscle mass,” court documents stated. The dog reportedly also had swelling around her eyes, and she trembled and squinted “when her head was approached.”
The June 23 beating occurred after the dog, who Greenhawk testified had been missing for roughly two weeks after running away from her home, appeared on her neighbor’s doorstep.
Greenhawk said she was “very worried” about her dog during the time the dog was missing, but she said when she found the dog she was drunk and behaved in an “improper manner.”
Greenhawk’s defense counsel stated that Greenhawk did not recall what happened with the dog that day because of her excessive alcohol consumption. Greenhawk blamed the incident on the fact that she drank a “fifth of Jameson” prior to abusing her dog.
She called her actions “heinous” and “horrific” and said she has been “filled with a lot of shame and confusion” as she continues to wrap her mind around the fact that she’s the person who harmed her dog.
Greenhawk told the judge she misses her dog “dearly” and said she is “relieved” to hear that the dog is “fine and being well cared for,” adding that it was the “right decision” for the dog to be taken away from her.
Greenhawk’s defense counsel stated she did not seek to have her dog returned to her following the incident, and she did not and does not currently own any other pets.
Before delivering a verdict during the trial, Ketterman said to Greenhawk that the dog “had no control” over her alcohol consumption and it was a “shame” the dog came back after running away.
Ketterman said she was “encouraged” by the steps Greenhawk had taken since the incident to combat her alcohol addiction, which included receiving psychological counseling and alcohol addiction treatment.
The conditions of Greenhawk’s probation restrict her from owning any pets and consuming alcohol, and require her to continue treatment, among other directives.