SHELBY TOWNSHIP — Saturday morning protestors gathered outside Companion Animal Care Clinic in Shelby Township calling for new legislation to better protect Michigan animals
The Care Clinic in Shelby is owned by Dr. Wayne Gilchrist, the veterinarian currently facing a misdemeanor charge of animal cruelty after video of him allegedly violently attacking one of his own dogs was posted on social media.
Protestor and President of animal rights group, "Sterling's Legacy," Candace Shellnut says she's disgusted by the veterinarian's abuse.
"This man is caught on camera severely abusing his animal. I don’t care what the situation was. You don’t stalk, beat, choke," said Shellnut.
A clip of the social media video can be seen in 7 Action News' video above, but the whole video is too disturbing to show, in it Gilchrist violently abuses his german shepherd as the dog trembles with fear.
According to Michigan Incident Crime Reporting, animal crimes grew by around 100 cases each year from 2016 to 2018.
Saturday, Shellnut and fellow activists said in order to change this trend of abuse, Michigan legislators need to sign in mandatory felonies for animal abusers and murderers.
"Because if legislation doesn’t change, we’re gonna be out here fighting the same fight and nothings gonna be done. Mandatory felonies for animal abusers and murders, that is why we’re here."
Animal Rights Activist and founder of "Animals are Family Not Property," Brenda Vettraino said, "The way that the guidelines are, we are never gonna see anything happen to these animal abusers or animal murderers."
To fight for new legislation Shellnut says she plans to go to legislators at the beginning of 2023, before she goes she is working to collect 50,000 - 100,000 signatures on this data collection to bring with her.
She is actively seeking signatures.
Wayne Gilchrist's bond has been set at $25,000 with a condition that he cannot have any contact with animals, but his Shelby practice is still open and operating.
Shellnut tells me she's received threats about protesting outside of the practice, but says that won't stop these activists from gathering here every Saturday morning until Gilchrist's next court date which is scheduled for December 16th.
"We’re all out here protecting the voiceless," said Gus Calandrino.
"Animal abuse is abuse, it doesn’t matter," said Shellnut. "They’re living, they’re breathing, that’s it.