The evidence against a Foresthill man accused of beating his dog, shooting it in the face, tying it to a tree and leaving it to die will be presented at a preliminary hearing in a Roseville courtroom Monday.
Mark Steven Pope, aka “Redneck” Pope, has been charged with one count of felony animal cruelty in the case that drew substantial local attention after the small terrier mix, renamed Frankie, was rehabilitated by Scooter’s Pals’ volunteers.
Pope’s hearing will be at 8:30 a.m. at the Santucci Justice Center.
Scooter’s Pals founder Susan Wallace said she cannot be present during the hearing because she is a potential witness.
But Frankie’s new mom, Claudia Alexander, said Friday she plans to travel down from her Napa home.
“It took me a long time to decide,” she said of attending the potentially emotionally painful hearing. “But I feel like it’s the right thing to do … I feel like I need to be there.”
Frankie was found by a group of campers Sept. 14, 2012, near Foresthill after they heard him whimpering for two days.
In addition to having been beaten, the dog had been shot in the face multiple times with a pellet gun. His jaw was broken with parts of the bone missing, and the toes on one foot were broken.
The dog was taken to a veterinarian in the Bay Area and traced to Scooter’s Pals, a Nevada County “last chance” rescue organization that had microchipped Frankie about six months before adopting him out.
Wallace said Pope adopted the dog, named Butch at the time, from her organization about eight months before the shooting. Pope reportedly left a message with Scooter’s Pals that he had to put the dog down, that it had a stroke and that he buried it.
It wasn’t until the vet in Pinole called about a badly abused dog and Wallace checked the chip number that she realized the vet was calling about Butch.
There has been a happy ending for the dog who now answers to Frankie, however. After undergoing several surgeries and living with a foster mom in Grass Valley, in January, he was adopted by Alexander, who has three grandchildren who dote on him.
Alexander said that Frankie has adjusted well to his new life, calling him a “happy little boy.”
She did note that he suffers from periodic nightmares — and occasional lameness in the paw that was broken.
Just this week, Alexander was able to connect with the woman who found the seriously injured Frankie a little more than a year ago.
“I got an email address from someone in Scooter’s Pals — they knew I wanted to get in touch with her,” Alexander said. “I’m pretty excited. I think we may try to get together.”
Alexander said it was clear from the email that Frankie’s rescuer knew nothing about his saga.
“She wrote, ‘I’m so happy to finally know what happened to little Frankie — I think of him from time to time,’” Alexander said. “She might have thought he didn’t make it because he was so gravely injured.
“I (often) think about, what if she hadn’t taken the time to look for him,” Alexander continued. “Not everybody would have done that.”
For information on Frankie, formerly known as “Butch,” visit his Facebook page at http://facebook.com/Hope4Butch?ref=stream.
To contact City Editor Liz Kellar, email email@example.com or call 530-477-4229.