Cheer Savannah Owner Indicted on Animal Cruelty Charges
The owner of Cheer Savannah of Savannah, Georgia was recently caught on social media kicking her dachshund. She was indicted on Wednesday for misdemeanor cruelty to animals in the case.
Stephanie Breckenridge Britt, 41, between Aug. 1-28, committed the offense of cruelty to animals “by causing physical pain to a dachshund named Charlie by an unjustifiable act, to wit: kicking the dog,” the Chatham County grand jury said in returning the one-count indictment.
The indictment, returned on evidence presented by Assistant District Attorney Sarah Moorhead, will be assigned to a Superior Court judge for handling. No assignment was available on Wednesday.
The indictment came after a video clip circulating online that showed Britt kick her dachshund out of the way during a practice event in August.
The prosecutor’s office received a barrage of calls from outraged animal activists and launched an investigation into what happened to Britt’s dog, Charlie.
Misdemeanor animal cruelty under Georgia law involves the death or unjustifiable physical pain and suffering of an animal. Felony aggravated cruelty is considered a malicious act that causes an animal’s death or disfigurement.
Charlie, who has had a complete veterinary examination, appears to be in good health.
Britt’s was videotaped her during practice for a Benedictine Military School fundraiser in August. Charlie, her constant companion, was nipping at shoestrings and disrupting the structured practice time. Britt kicked Charlie from underfoot.
The video clip circulated between cheer moms for three months until one mom took issue with Britt covering her daughter’s mouth during practice. She swore out a warrant for battery in November. Former cheer mom Bonnie Wardlaw then posted the dog-kick video on a local social media site.
Jacksonville animal lover Denise Hood Bressler saw the video and criticisms. She passed it all along to animal rights groups, who launched an international social media campaign to get justice for Charlie. Some online activists posted contacts for the Chatham County District Attorney, Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, and police in hopes they would file cruelty charges and confiscate the dog. But others sought justice through shaming.
On Nov. 25, Benedictine Military School suspended Britt from the cheer program she coordinated. By the end of that week the Chatham County District Attorney’s office said it was investigating.
Britt further outraged her critics in December, shortly after the District Attorney’s office conducted interviews of the dog-kick witnesses.
A post appeared on the Stephanie Britt Instagram account @stephbritsav featuring a photo of an inflatable dachshund lawn ornament in a Santa suit. Under the photo were the comments: “Gotta get a sign, No kicking. The good news is – this one doesn’t bite. Nothing quite says (middle finger emoji) like this huh?”