Woman Gets 300 Days For Duct-Taping Dog’s Injured Eye

February 28, 2013

An Escambia County woman has been convicted of animal cruelty for duct-taping her dog’s injured eye, State Attorney Bill Eddins said Wednesday.

Mechele Renea Potter, 46, was convicted Tuesday by an Escambia County jury and sentenced by Judge Thomas E. Johnson to 300 days in the Escambia County Jail along with all fines and costs.

On September 18, 2012, Potter called Escambia County Animal Control to report a stray dog in her yard with duct tape on its head, according to the State Attorney’s Office.  The dog was not a stray but instead was actually owned by Potter.

Prosecutors said Potter had put the duct tape around the dog’s head and over  its eye to act as an eye patch. When animal control picked up the dog, they removed the tape from the dog’s head. Animal control found the dog’s eye injury had been left untreated and found the dog’s eye was protruding from its eye socket and was also red and extremely swollen. As
a result, the dog’s eye had to be removed.

While the cause of the injury was unknown, the injury was made worse by the defendant’s failure to seek medical attention, the State Attorney’s Office said.

Potter testified that she tried everything she could before calling animal control, which consisted of using the duct tape and calling some vets. Her husband also testified, stating that he told her to lie to animal control about owning the dog, and that he helped her put the tape on the dog’s head, prosecutors said.

The dog has since been adopted by a family.


45 Responses to “Woman Gets 300 Days For Duct-Taping Dog’s Injured Eye”

  1. A.R.Rrrf on March 7th, 2018 4:56 pm

    Sometimes mean people get caught, not always ,just sometimes.

  2. troubled on March 2nd, 2013 7:08 am

    WOW injure an animail and do not pass go, but rape,assult, or even (god forbid)hurt a child get out to do it again. She deserves to be punished,but the judges need to get it togather and start punish the realy bad people.

  3. jw on March 1st, 2013 8:42 pm

    This is absurd! If only they had just shot the dog and buried it. Sometimes it does NOT pay to turn to a professional for help.

  4. Jimbo on March 1st, 2013 8:27 pm

    @Deb C.. very respectfully, there are cultures in which this is a “food animal”.
    It’s barbaric in our eyes because of the constant media “animals are just like us”
    stuff, yet we eat chickens… cows, deer, rabbits and squirrel… I’m just saying that people obsess over animals they deem their “friends” but then they turn around and eat another animal they’re not so attached to. Why? psychological “adjustment” is about all I can figure. I really think it’s wrong to jail this woman for nearly a year when she harmed no human, she didn’t dump a bunch of cats or pups anywhere, and she bothered to at least try to help this poor dog. Her mistake was involving government. They should have dug a hole and spent a bullet… how different is that from chemical poisioning by a vet.?

  5. Northend Alumnus on March 1st, 2013 11:43 am

    Wow. She would have gotten less time if she had injured an actual person.

    This country’s animal cruelty laws are getting rediculous. It’s absurd when the punishment of injurying an animal will get you MORE TIME THAN INJURING A HUMAN! This seems to be a case of poor judgement and she should get a suspended sentence or community service.

    This is crazy!

  6. Deborah Carnley on March 1st, 2013 11:06 am

    There are no excuses!!! There are organizations as well as calling the Humane Society to find out about help which is available to have your injured animal treated. If you love your animals(, as so many people do not really care for them but they are just hanging around..) you will find a way to care for them in the proper manner. The animal lost his eye…I hope the punishment will be a teaching tool for her in the future.

  7. Henry Coe on March 1st, 2013 10:14 am

    @sonors. I was speaking from a perspective of the legalities in getting health care across the board and/or being medically neglected, not your individual effort. Please, continue with your personal efforts.

  8. Jimbo on March 1st, 2013 8:30 am

    I must agree with mc…. Let’s look at it this way… the woman didn’t do for the dog what she could not afford to do. Looks to me she had a poor attorney. What’s next folks, say I’m driving down 97 and a dog runs out in front of me and my car kills the dog. Will I be charged with involuntary petslaughter? Another scenario, my dog breaks it’s pelvis… it’s mostly untreatable… No.. I’m not a vet, but I do know this (from 30 years ago) that there’s no treatment for it and it’s very painful for a dog. They normally dies a painful death. If I put a .357 to it’s head and put the dog out of it’s misery, would I be charged with pet murder? This is assuming I can’t afford a vet for this…… We should have some guidelines and stop calling for people’s eyes to be removed because she couldn’t afford the vet visit.

  9. Mark on March 1st, 2013 7:44 am

    @ No Excuses

    That is strictly a matter of “opinion”. What you say is “not right” others may say “is right”. It’s been an ongoing debate for decades.

  10. Christy (mom of 3) on March 1st, 2013 6:12 am

    WOW! This lady is going to jail for 300 days for putting tape over an injured dogs eye. Ok but my ex husband has drug charges, owes $43,000 dollars in back child support, and has not cared for his children in years. Has the court system done anything? No! Not one thing! This should be considered CHILD NEGLECT / CHILD ABUSE!!! Somebody needs to wake up in that court house up there!!

  11. really on March 1st, 2013 2:22 am

    Really how many of us around here can afford to take a dog to the vet?? My dad had to use lidocaine to numb and then a suture kit to sew up his dog one time. She had gotten sliced open on her underside by tin under the house.. Vet wouldn’t even see her unless we had $200 up front. Back in the day they just put them down when they were hurt.

  12. No Excuses on February 28th, 2013 7:59 pm

    @ Mark:

    Saying it’s legal still doesn’t make it right, religious beliefs or no.

  13. jdm on February 28th, 2013 7:39 pm

    Some of you people on here suffer from that”special kind of wilful ignorance” that so many of our politicians suffer from, Just because your government say’s it’s legal and moral don’t make it so, and what do you know about it to start with being a male, (supposedly anyway), you ever had one? Pay attention; Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen. Romans 1:25, read it son, you may be enlightened before it’s too late.

  14. mom on February 28th, 2013 7:37 pm

    “Legal abortions?” If they make it legal that it is ok to kill your 2 year old baby girl because you cann’t afford it, does that make it right just because it is law? Of course not!!

    Our society does not have a moral compass anymore.

    @ Mark

    There are over 1000 infants killed everyday. You don’t hear the news talking about that.

    “Sorry, that is not killing if it is done within the law. You are only calling it “killing” because it is against your religious beliefs.”

    You my friend need to watch an abortion, then tell me it is not murder!!! You have been deceived.

  15. it is what it is on February 28th, 2013 7:18 pm

    For those of you who say it was stupidity and lack of money…..since when did stupidity or ignorance of the law become a viable defense for any crime?? There are huge, staggering statistics that show how violent criminals begin by abusing animals, so we do need stricter laws and harsher punishments. Children and animals both require us, as responsible adults, i.e. parents or owners, to provide adequate care – which includes, food, water, shelter, and medical care. They cannot provide it for themselves. Yes this woman may have had a money issue, but nobody said she had to pay for surgery or extensive treatment. The humane thing would have been to euthanize the dog if she didn’t have the money for treatment. Letting the eye rot out of its head would have caused its death within a short time, then would it not be safe to say the dog was saved from death? She may not have intended death, but that would’ve been the outcome for sure. Just as drunk drivers, who a stupid for doing it, don’t intend to kill people, it happens and they should be punished as well.

    I am VERY happy with the sentencing. It’s about time people start realizing that if you could be this callous and careless with something that you “love”, then the poor children in this world are in trouble!

  16. tw on February 28th, 2013 7:07 pm

    300 days, REALLY!!! That’s just crazy. Yes she was stupid but to get almost a year is just insane.

  17. 429SCJ on February 28th, 2013 5:24 pm

    I agree with those who state that the lady most likely lacked the funds for a vet ER visit. I do feel better field treatment of the injury, other than just duck tape, could have been administered.

    300 days is harsh. The man who bit off the ear recieved greater leniency.

  18. debbie on February 28th, 2013 5:12 pm

    Sounds fair to me!!! We need stricter animal abuse laws!!!

  19. Some Chick on February 28th, 2013 3:09 pm

    300 days is extreme! Maybe 100 hours of community service at an animal shelter or the humane society would be good for her! Then she would learn how to handle animals, and make a change.

  20. sonors on February 28th, 2013 12:42 pm

    @ HENRY COE,,,,hey I was with you in this first part,,This seems more like a case of stupidity than it does intent to do harm. Not allowing them to have pets and pay this dogs bills would have sufficed.

    Putting her is jail for 300 days hurts Escambia County more than it teaches her anything.

    But Kinda take offense to the rest being that i am in healthcare industry and do my best to help you all out.

  21. Friction against the machine on February 28th, 2013 10:50 am

    Sounds like to me she couldn’t afford a vet and was doing the best she could. Didn’t it say SHE was the one who called animal control? When are you people going to learn that sentences such as this are a slippery slope that will lead to all sorts of abuse of the law. Most likely she got that sentence because she turned down a plea b/c she thought she was doing the best she could for the animal. Yeah it’s ok to throw stones at this lady until they come to your door to get you for something you didn’t think you were doing wrong. How about we all be a little less judgmental.

  22. Mark on February 28th, 2013 10:26 am


    Who is killing 7 infants every day? Oh, are you talking about LEGAL ABORTIONS? Sorry, that is not killing if it is done within the law. You are only calling it “killing” because it is against your religious beliefs.

    If you want to make a difference, then stand outside the clinic and offer to adopt every child that is not aborted.

    Now getting back to “animal cruelty”, you shouldn’t be allowed to own pets if you cannot take care of them. Do I think her sentence is excessive? You bet! 10 days in jail and prohibited from owning animals while living in this area would have been good enough.

  23. Hope on February 28th, 2013 10:12 am

    I am against any kind of abuse. But why do people put animals before humans?!? There are children that need to be adopted by good families but now a days all you see are organizations for pets. It’s dishearting to think that people care more for their pets than helpless children.

  24. mom on February 28th, 2013 10:06 am

    How stupid!!!
    Our country aborts tiny infants and gets away with it but cannot do what you feel is best with their own animals.

    It is her dog – she could have shot it and ate it like we do our cows, chickens and pigs.

    Bet that made someone mad!!

  25. Lin on February 28th, 2013 10:05 am

    This is a prime example of how some people should never own pets!

  26. curious on February 28th, 2013 9:07 am

    Oh & 1 more thing, I agree bout the chickens and burgers. I love it when my husband makes his pulled pork sandwiches from the hogs he kills during hunting season, oh so delicious, making my mouth water now, I think I’ll just tell him to make some for supper.

  27. curious on February 28th, 2013 9:02 am

    Animal lover, the story did not say she intentionally hurt the dog, she covered it with duct tape & lied, and did not get it treated, that had to have hurt especially when they pulled it off, I say she should be punished but jail, when she didn’t set a fire while others were in building, but wait that was a mistake right? Thats what I thought( just a lil bit of sarcasm) I say for all she will go through her husband should have euthanized it & nobody would have found out & she wouldn’t be going to jail. I bet if this teaches her 1 lesson, it will be this next time. Everybody ought to read craigslist pets, it’s enough to irritate someone. Do a housecheck on this & that, well, I’m gonna say this to all animal lovers especially the ones who put their animals ahead of humans. YOU CAN’T SAVE THEM ALL HASSELHOFF

  28. Doesn't make sense on February 28th, 2013 8:58 am

    Help me understand. Her dog is injured (not by her I’m assuming because it would have been reported). She, apparently, cannot afford treatment for the animal so she does what she thinks she can do to help the dog. When the dogs health does not improve she calls Animal Control as a last ditch effort for help and lies about not owning it at the suggestion of her husband. She then is sentenced to just shy of a year in prison. What a crock!

    I don’t know all the details but I do know that an emergency vet visit can be rather expensive. I had a dog break a leg on a Sunday about 5 years ago. That emergency vet visit cost us over $400.00. Not everyone can afford that bill. The only thing I see she did wrong was lie about not owning the dog. Is that worth a year in prison? If so, I know more than a handful of people who should be serving long sentences. This is ridiculous.

  29. kathy on February 28th, 2013 8:47 am

    Hate to sound mean,But it is what it is, Someone needs to duct tape her eye and see how she likes it. I’am again’t animal abuse, if I see any animal I believe to be abused, or not being feed Im calling animal control. Believe that.

  30. Henry Coe on February 28th, 2013 8:38 am

    This seems more like a case of stupidity than it does intent to do harm. Not allowing them to have pets and pay this dogs bills would have sufficed.

    Putting her is jail for 300 days hurts Escambia County more than it teaches her anything.

    As someone else mentioned, we really do seem more concerned about critters in Florida than we are about people. If a Work Comp or other low ball insurance company did this to a patient it would be legal and no one would care. Actually, wingnuts would be saying “it serves you right for not having better insurance”. :-)

  31. CitizenX on February 28th, 2013 8:32 am

    And the man who attacks another human and bites off his ear gets zero jail time…great job escambia county

  32. Abuse an Animal....Go to Jail on February 28th, 2013 8:23 am

    Many folks who harm Humans start out abusing animals. The community will be safer when animal cruelty is prosecuted to the fullest extent. Thank you Judge Johnson for sending a message to the community that you care about the citizens and animals. It is a shame that Judge Bergosh recently sentenced an animal abuser to NO jail time for allowing his chained dogs to starve close to death. Those dogs suffered such prolonged pain and agony.

  33. Concerned Citizen on February 28th, 2013 8:21 am

    I agree with animal lover, but all of this hate makes me hungry. Lets go get a hamburger or some fried chicken.

  34. Southerner on February 28th, 2013 8:05 am

    Our “justice” system is so unjust.

  35. Animal Lover on February 28th, 2013 7:48 am

    I think she should have both her eyeballs poked out! I hate people who think it is ok to abuse animals! I believe there is a pitt in HELL just for them!

  36. Wow on February 28th, 2013 7:43 am

    I’m not saying at all what she did was right but seems like her punishment was worse than if this were a child. I’ve read about drug arrests and theaft arrests get less time than this….where are the priorities of these judges who sentence these criminals…crazy

  37. TKtheDJ on February 28th, 2013 7:34 am

    but we can kill 7 human infants every day in Escambia County and that Judge will sit there and smile. Tell Jokes. If I was on that jury I would not sentence anyone to anytime until our judicial system started standing up for those who can not stand up for themselves. Now lets all think for just a second…. Human life …..or an Animal?? If we can not protect human life….. WHY should we worry about the other.

  38. Walnut Hill Roy on February 28th, 2013 7:25 am

    Far worse cases of animal cruelty are given probation and a prohibition on owning animals; how can this judge hand out such a severe sentence? The silly part is that if she would have had the dog euthanized there would be no prosecution and no sentence.

  39. mc on February 28th, 2013 7:06 am

    What if she had shot it? life? the chair?

  40. me on February 28th, 2013 6:38 am

    Is this A joke 300 days wow

  41. just saying on February 28th, 2013 6:03 am

    Yes we care more about animals than we do people. Last I checked stupidity was still not a crime. Wake up people it appears they can arrest anyone for nearly anything. With all the real criminals out there why are our courts be clogged up with this foolishness. Now we tax payers will pay about $18,000.00 to house her.

  42. bigR on February 28th, 2013 5:55 am

    boy if the judges would just punish drug dealers and murderers like this we would live in a muchsafer place

  43. Brutus on February 28th, 2013 4:57 am

    Sounds fair to me!

  44. margielu1982 on February 28th, 2013 3:02 am

    This couple made some stupid decisions. Punishment, yes. But nearly a year? Compared to other offenses and their sentences, it seems excessive. And if he helped, he should be charged, too.

  45. Fred on February 28th, 2013 2:23 am

    How could anyone be so stupid?

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