NORTH EAST, Md. — In early March, a tenant at the Charlestown Crossing Apartments in North East reported seeing a man kick Nugget, a young terrier puppy, like a soccer ball in front of his building and later drag it back up the steps by its leash.
Investigators would later find blood and vomit trails leading to Ashley Andrews’ front door.
“So I had noticed that she had started acting a little funny, and I had actually planned on making a vet appointment for that weekend,” said Andrews. “I started noticing that she was a little different, not running around acting like the puppy that she was.”
Authorities seized the dog and took it to a vet who found nugget had suffered a punctured lung, broken ribs and injuries to her nose, ears and paws.
Ashley’s husband, 31-year-old Eric Christopher Andrews, admitted to investigators he had occasionally struck the dog in the nose or nudged it back upstairs when it refused to follow him on its own, and he claimed the dog’s feet had become bloody walking on the parking lot surrounding the building, but his wife soon became convinced he had taken out his anger on her puppy and she chose to let Nugget go.
“When I had to surrender her, I sat on the sidewalk crying for 45 minutes,” recalled Andrews. “I’ve grown up with animals. I have animals at home, like you can hear the dog barking in the background. That’s my dog. So dogs are a huge part… I like dogs more than humans on most days.”
Especially her estranged husband.
Eric Andrews now faces an Aggravated Animal Cruelty charge that could land him behind bars for up to three years if he’s convicted, and his wife no longer feels safe being around him.
“That’s the reason that I filed for divorce. I couldn’t be a part of that. I could not live with that,” Andrews told us.
“Was there a concern on your part that if he could mistreat an animal that way that he could mistreat you that way?”
“Yes, that’s the reason that I packed up my kids, even his kid,” she replied.
Once investigators confronted Andrews with the extent of Nugget’s injuries, he changed his story, claiming he had lashed out at the dog after it bit him, in essence, blaming the animal for the abuse, which would follow.