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THURSDAY, MARCH 29, 2007
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Lucky on the first anniversary of his rescue from a metal trash bin where he had been left for dead.
Daily photo by Paul Huggins
Lucky on the first anniversary of his rescue from a metal trash bin where he had been left for dead.

Lucky's day
in court

Trial begins for man
accused of abusing dog

By Sheryl Marsh
smarsh@decaturdaily.com . 340-2437

The case of a dog found with severe wounds and buried alive in a trash bin more than a year ago is now in Morgan County Circuit Court.

Prosecution and defense attorneys spent Wednesday afternoon selecting a jury to hear the animal cruelty case against Samuel Bernard Sanders, the former owner of Lucky the dog.

Testimony should begin Thursday in Circuit Judge Sherrie Paler's courtroom.

Lucky's plight began Feb. 22, 2006, when his mangled body was found inside a trash bin. Lucky had duct tape around his snout, and one of his legs later had to be amputated.

Police searched for Lucky's owner while veterinarian Steve Osborne tended the pooch.

Osborne also started a reward fund with $500, which rapidly grew to more than $16,000 from people locally and nationally.

The reward lured the tip that cracked the case.

An investigation by Decatur Police investigator Sgt. Rick Archer led him to Sanders, who surrendered to police March 16, 2006.

Archer learned that Lucky's original name was Rocky.

Sanders initially told police that someone stole Rocky from his yard two months before the dog was found. He filed a report alleging theft.

A grand jury indicted Sanders on first-degree animal cruelty, a felony that carries a penalty of one to 10 years in prison, and two misdemeanors, giving a false report to law enforcement and second-degree perjury.

The case drew national attention when "Inside Edition" aired Luck's heart-tugging story in April 2006.

Lucky has a new life with Osborne and his wife, Kim.

Osborne said he will tell Lucky's story as a state witness at Sanders' trial.

"Lucky is doing good," said Osborne. "He looks good and is very active and real happy. "Although he's an amputee, he's not held back by his disability. We want justice for Lucky primarily. And, we would like for awareness to come out of this for the general public. Hopefully, the outcome of this young man's trial will turn someone around because they will know that it is not only morally wrong but illegal, also."

Osborne said he doesn't anticipate bringing Lucky to the trial.

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