One of two owners arrested in Lake Eliza animal cruelty case
By Erin Guerra Post-Tribune correspondent June 25, 2013 5:56PM
Updated: July 27, 2013 6:31AM
LAKE ELIZA — Porter County Sheriff’s Police have arrested one of two people suspected in an animal cruelty case that has been active since March.
Robert Fancher, 35, of Lake Eliza, is charged with Class D felony torture/mutilation of an animal and Class A misdemeanor abandonment of a vertebrate animal, and he was cited for harboring a nonimmunized dog and allowing an animal to run at large, according to the Porter County Jail’s booking roster. He was arrested Friday. His wife, who now is 32, may also face charges, police said.
Another Lake Eliza resident found the couple’s two pit bulls running loose about 4 p.m. on March 12 and turned them over to the Porter County Animal Shelter. One of the dogs, Rukus, had a hole through the webbing between the toes of his right rear paw, and a rock-climbing carabiner clip had been inserted into it and attached to a leash that ran to its neck. When Fancher’s wife, then 31, attempted to claim the dogs on March 15, she told police the dogs escaped on March 9 while her children were walking them. She denied the dog had been injured while it was in her care, blaming it on neighbors who complained about the animals getting loose “all the time.”
The dogs were not returned to her, however, since she did not pay a $600 bond assessed due to the criminal investigation. A veterinarian told police the injury appeared to have been deliberately inflicted, with the blunt end of the clip, at least five to seven days before the dog was brought to the shelter. She said the piercing may have been done to try to prevent the dog from jumping on people.