Suspect's ex-roommate fights to adopt dragged Cottonwood dog

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Joanna Caujolle wants to adopt a dog that was dragged by its owner. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) Joanna Caujolle wants to adopt a dog that was dragged by its owner. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
The little dog is now recovering at a local vet's office. (Source: Cottonwood Police Dept.) The little dog is now recovering at a local vet's office. (Source: Cottonwood Police Dept.)
Caujolle faces an uphill battle to adopt the dog. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) Caujolle faces an uphill battle to adopt the dog. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
Destry McClure is accused of dragging the dog but says he didn't realize the dog was still tied up when he drove off. (Source: Cottonwood Police Department) Destry McClure is accused of dragging the dog but says he didn't realize the dog was still tied up when he drove off. (Source: Cottonwood Police Department)
COTTONWOOD, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) -

A battle is being fought for an allegedly abused dog.

On Saturday, a little Chihuahua was rescued after being dragged for a half mile behind a truck in Cottonwood.

Amazingly, she survived despite her injuries. Now, a woman who once lived with the dog wants to get her back.

Joanna Caujolle says from January through early July, she rented a room in her home to Destry McClure and his Chihuahua, Leia.

"I purchased all of the food for her and whatever she needed because Mr. McClure is on disability and doesn't work and doesn't have much money," Caujolle said.

They had a falling out, and McClure left taking Leia with him.

A few days later Caujolle got a call. Cottonwood police arrested McClure for dragging the dog. He claimed he forgot she was tied to the back of his truck.

"I just kept thinking I wish he would have left her with me. Because he knew she was OK here. But he took her selfishly and this is what happened,” said Caujolle.  

The little dog is now recovering at a local vet's office. Once she's recovered, Caujolle hopes to adopt her.

"I'm technically not her owner, but I will do whatever it takes to get her back here to my home," said Caujolle.  

But that's going to be easier said than done.

Leia is still technically McClure’s, and he's still in jail facing charges of animal cruelty and DUI.

"I don't want anything to do with him," said Caujolle.

Unsure what to do next, she reached out to us. We found out she may need a lawyer and evidence to convince a judge the dog should go to her.

Other than her word, her evidence of her time with Leia consists of time-stamped photos and a stack of McClure’s mail still being delivered to her house. She's hoping that’s enough to prove her relationship with the animal.

"My biggest fear is she's there alone, she's traumatized obviously. She was very timid when she came here and she just came out and turned into this wonderful gregarious dog that was just running around not afraid of anything,” said Caujolle.

The dog won't go up for adoption just yet since she's considered evidence in an ongoing criminal investigation.

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Lauren ReimerLauren Reimer joined the 3TV/CBS 5 family in June 2016. She is originally from Racine, WI but is no stranger to our heat.

Click to learn more about Lauren.

Lauren Reimer

She previously worked for KVOA in Tucson, covering topics that matter to Arizonans including the monsoon, wildfires and border issues. During the child migrant crisis of 2014, Reimer was one of only a handful of journalists given access to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection detention facility in Nogales, where hundreds of unaccompanied children were being held after crossing into the U.S. from Central America. Before that, Reimer worked at WREX in Rockford, IL. Lauren is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee and still visits home often. When not chasing news stories, Reimer loves to explore, enjoying everything from trying new adventurous foods to visiting state and national parks or local places of historical significance.

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