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Eagle Point man gets 30 days for starving dog

St. Bernard was 100 pounds below weight when animal control rescued it

An Eagle Point man who left his St. Bernard dog chained up without food or water for several months will spend 30 days in jail for the crime.

Fredric Lorenz Hines Jr., 37, of the 10000 block of East Antelope Road, pleaded guilty in Jackson County Circuit Court Wednesday to a charge of first-degree animal neglect. In addition to the jail term, Hines was ordered to complete two years of probation, 80 hours of community service and pay restitution costs for the dog's rehabilitation. He can no longer own animals.

Dog lovers, breeders and canine rescue workers who attended the hearing complained that Hines' sentence was too light.

I would have liked to have seen him have the same treatment that the dog got, said Ann Warren, who represents a local terrier rescue society.

Hines left his 3-year-old St. Bernard ' named Chief ' chained up in the cold and rain for several months while he and his wife, Tianna Hines, were going through a divorce about a year ago, according to reports from county animal control. Tianna Hines became aware of the dog's condition a few days before Christmas and signed the dog over to animal control.

When Chief arrived at the S. Bernard Rescue Foundation in Shady Cove, he weighed less than 90 pounds, about 100 pounds shy of the normal weight for adults of the breed, rescue workers said. Veterinarians who examined the dog said Chief had eaten part of his leg to survive.

The dog also had putrefying sores on his neck from the chain, his eyes had sunken into his skull and he could no longer stand, said Penny Mayben, of the rescue foundation. When Chief finally was walking again, blood puddled under his feet because his toenails had cracked, she added.

Veterinarians could testify that Chief ' a dog bred to withstand cold conditions ' would have died within two days from hypothermia had he not been taken from Hines' property, said Rachel Bridges, deputy district attorney.

Hines argued in court that Chief wasn't always chained up. But the dog had bitten several of his friends and had to be restrained, he said.

Chief's rescuers, however, said the dog never showed signs of aggression and played happily with other dogs, cats and children once he recovered.

That dog doesn't have a mean bone, said Paul Bodeving, who breeds St. Bernards in Josephine County. And if any dog deserved to bite somebody, that one did.

Chief has since fully recovered and been adopted by a local family, Mayben said. The rescue foundation has placed six St. Bernard dogs in the past two weeks and 44 in the past year. Because of Chief's severe condition, he most likely would have been euthanized at the animal shelter had the rescue foundation not agreed to care for him, Mayben said.

Two Rottweilers taken from Hines' home were put down because they were aggressive and unfit for adoption, according to Colleen Macuk, director of the county's animal shelter. Confiscated after Chief was taken away, the Rottweilers also showed signs of neglect and malnutrition, Macuk said.

The District Attorney's Office dismissed two counts of animal abandonment in connection with the treatment of those dogs when Hines agreed to plead guilty to neglecting Chief.

Hines still faces felony charges of aggravated first-degree animal abuse for allegedly killing his neighbor's dog with a .22-caliber rifle in February. He was set to go to trial on all charges against him Wednesday, but the court date was postponed for the second case because key witnesses were out of town, Bridges said.

Reach reporter Sarah Lemon at 776-4487, or e-mail