Owner of dog frozen to ground was Ecorse official with police record

New details are emerging about the man accused of leaving his dog out in the cold, causing her to be frozen to the ground.

Elsa almost froze to death and the dog's alleged abuser, William Childress, is a city official with a record.

FOX 2: Any thoughts Mr. Childress? A lot of people are saying this was just an honest mistake?"

He was a man of few words and with a knit hat pulled down over his face, little vision.

You may not know the name, but chances are you do know his dog which rescue workers dubbed Elsa.

"He was just laying on the ground barking not moving," said neighbor Caroline Hamilton. 

The 10-year-old chow mix was left outside allegedly by Childress, in dangerously frigid weather two weeks ago.

Frozen to the sidewalk, a thin wire leash was wrapped around Elsa's back leg. 

Two of Elsa's limbs may have to be amputated.

FOX 2: "Have you ever seen an animal cruelty case like this one before?"

"No I can't say I have ever seen it in my 17 years of service," said Sgt. Geoffrey Howard of the Ecorse Police Department.

And turns out the man now facing criminal charges for animal torture was the city's director of recreation. He resigned after he was charged

Childress is free on a $25,000 bond and will be back in court in two weeks. He is facing a four year prison sentence if convicted.

"Mr. Childress was a very upstanding citizen of the community," Howard said. "He was very involved in the community, was always involved with the recreation activities, involved with the kids. So I'm kind of shocked and surprised to know that was him involved in that situation."

It is not the first time Childress wound up on the wrong side of the law.

Kentucky State Police arrested him in 2007 for reckless driving and troopers claim to have found booze and marijuana in the car.

As for Elsa, veterinarians treating her say she is recovering but is far from being in the clear.

"I don't think this was something done intentional," Howard said. "We did have extreme temperatures during that day. It was a mistake, it was unfortunate."

Childress had no answer when FOX 2's Randy Wimbley asked him if he intended to hurt the dog.

FOX 2 contacted Ecorse officials not just about the animal cruelty charges but regarding how Childress kept his position with the city after his run-in with Kentucky state troopers. Ecorse City Administrator Wayne O'Neal did not return calls.


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