BROOKHAVEN, Miss. (WLBT) - Justice for Asher, the 2-year-old pit bull, came this week after around 3 1/2 years.
According to a necropsy, Asher died with euthanasia in his system and his family said the veterinarian down the road was responsible.
“I mean, I would like for her to lose her license,” said Melissa Cupit, the mother of Asher’s owner, Anna Cupit. “I don’t think any other family should have to go through what we went through. I just want to see her not be able to do this again.”
Veterinarian Stacy Gowan was found guilty this week of poisoning Cupit’s daughter’s dog, Asher, in 2018.
The case started with the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Department and was taken to grand jury, since poisoning an animal is a felony. They sent it back down to justice court.
At one point the Attorney General’s Office was on the case, but a new administration back-burnered it, leaving the Cupits to wait to find out if they were just going to have to accept that their daughter’s beloved dog had been poisoned.
At the time Asher was killed, Gowan said she thought the dog had killed her chickens. There were other dogs in the neighborhood, as well as foxes and coyotes. She admitted to baiting some dog food with euthanasia drugs.
“There was never an apology,” said Melissa Cupit. “She never said she was sorry.”
We contacted Gowan at her home on Friday, but she didn’t want to speak.
The last three years have been strange for the Cupits, continuing to live next to Gowan. Cupit said it’s awkward to pass her on the road, and that the trees that used to block the line of sight between their houses had been taken down.
Meanwhile, they live in a state of fear for their animals.
“We had to put a fence up just because I’m scared to let my other dogs out just because I don’t let them out of my sight,” she said. “We’ve just- we’ve been scared.”
That fear comes in part from the fact that Gowan is a vet, entrusted with the well-being of animals, and yet she had allegedly poisoned Asher without flinching.
“I don’t understand how somebody who is in the profession that they’re in, to love animals, could do that, especially to a child’s animal,” Cupit said.
That is what differentiates the case from some others, said Sheriff Steve Rushing. It’s the public trust the position garners.
“Well of course if you’re in that field, if you’re a veterinarian, then you’re held to a higher standard to take care of animals just like if you’re a police officer then you’re held to a higher standard,” he said.
We spoke with Board of Animal Medicine Executive Director Nancy Christiansen, who says this case has been on their radar for sometime, but now that there’s a guilty verdict, they will be looking deeper into it.
Since losing Asher, Anna took a while to be able to love an animal again. She finally has a new pet, her mother said. But there’s very little like the love between a girl and her first dog.
Melissa Cupit says hopefully her family can start to put this behind them.
“It’s just relief. We’re happy for the guilty,” she said.