Indiana man arrested in Texas accused of torturing puppy

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Monday, February 1, 2016
Richard Cope (left) and abused dog (right)
Michigan City Police Dept.

MICHIGAN CITY, Ind. (WLS) -- A man from Indiana accused of torturing a terrier-pit bull puppy was arrested Sunday in Texas. He was on the run for weeks.

U.S. marshals found Richard Cope, 50, in El Paso. He'll be returned to La Porte County to face charges.

The four-month-old dog named Chance was found on Christmas Day, wandering in a yard in northwest Indiana with his snout taped shut. The tape prevented Chance from eating, drinking or breathing well. He had been beaten and had two broken hips. Animal rescue workers said Chance's injuries were the worst they had ever seen.

Guardians of the Green Mile in northwest Indiana took the dog in and featured him on their Facebook page, which led to thousands of dollars in donations and hundreds of requests to adopt him.

Michigan City police found out about Chance because of the Facebook post. Police identified Cope as Chance's former owner. A warrant was issued for his arrest on Jan. 11. He fled the area and officers had been searching for Cope ever since.

Cope faces one count of animal torture, a felony, and three counts of misdemeanor animal cruelty. The La Porte County Sheriff's Office said Cope may face additional charges.

Guardians of the Green Mile said Chance is doing great and should be adopted. The group hopes after some therapy and training, Chance will be able to help teach children how to treat pets properly.

A puppy named "Chance" is getting a second one thanks to an animal rescue group in northwest Indiana.