top of page

ASHLEIGH MARIE HUTTON and JAMES DONALD LIPSCOMB found not guilty –Two dogs left in hot car, one died

- Virginia, USA -


Animals get abandoned, starved to death, dragged behind vehicles, left in hot cars, drowned alive, buried alive, used in fights, left tethered in cold and hot weather, confined in cages covered in their own urine and feces, burned, shot, punched, stabbed, kicked, set on fire, put in ovens, put in dryers, raped, thrown out of vehicles, left in freezing cold vehicles, mistreated on farms, neglected in zoos, forced to perform in circuses and theme parks, illegally hunted in front of their moms and siblings resulting in families being separated, and much more.


Too often when an animal cruelty case is presented before a judge, the abuser is not punished severely enough or they are not punished at all. In many cases, we know all too well, they abuse again.


This is one of the cases where the precious life of an innocent dog meant absolutely nothing to the ones whose responsibility was the dog’s wellbeing, and to the ONE who had the power to teach the abusers a lesson!


On the early afternoon of June 25, 2023, the Roanoke Police Department received reports about two dogs locked inside a parked vehicle in the 100 block of Luck Avenue SW.


Responding officers immediately started working to open the vehicle to attend to the dogs as one of them appeared to be unresponsive.


When eventually ASHLEIGH MARIE HUTTON and JAMES DONALD LIPSCOMB (both pictured) arrived at the scene, an officer was finally able to enter the vehicle.


One of the two dogs, a Bulldog named Meech, was alert. Sadly, the other dog, a bulldog named Cookie, was dead. Cookie was taken to the Roanoke Police Department as evidence and HUTTON and LIPSCOMB were arrested.


The pair were charged with one misdemeanor animal cruelty charge for leaving Meech in a locked car unattended on a hot day, and one felony count of animal cruelty for Cookie’s death.


According to 10 News, officers were sent to the couple’s home and removed two more of their dogs. The news outlet further reports that “RPD Animal Wardens then filed a petition for custody on all the remaining animals.”


Let’s fast forward to June 17, 2024, when HUTTON and LIPSCOMB were found not guilty in a bench trial.


WDBJ reports that during the trial, Commonwealth’s Attorney Joshua Dietz argued HUTTON and LIPSCOMB “willingly subjected the animals to abuse by leaving them in the car for nearly 40 minutes while they ate lunch at Texas Tavern…”


One of the responding officers, officer Gardner, testified he immediately noticed both dogs panting in the vehicle. As reported by WDBJ, “Body cam footage reveals Officer Gardner putting his hand in the car and saying, ‘It’s hot in here’.”


The veterinarian who performed the necropsy on Cookie testified she died from heatstroke.


During closing statements, Commonwealth’s Attorney Joshua Dietz highlighted the timeline of events leading to Cookie’s death and argued HUTTON and LIPSCOMB willingly inflicted pain on the dogs by leaving them for so long. He rightfully said: “they should have known better.”


After over three hours of testimony, judge John Cristopher Clemens questioned the judgment of HUTTON and LIPSCOMB and said, “Why would you leave your dogs in the car at all? . . . It just makes no sense if you care about your animals.” And yet, he dismissed the case on the grounds of the Commonwealth lacking enough evidence to prove animal cruelty beyond a reasonable doubt for both charges.

# # #


Voice For Us Disclaimer: This story is sourced from official news outlets. Links included.

Please note that details may be removed or new information added should updates become available.



31 views0 comments


bottom of page