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March 16--  A small but passionate group of animal rights advocates demonstrated in front of the Toombs County courthouse in Lyons late Wednesday.

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The group, led by Scott Bennett of Glenwood, wants a Toombs County woman prosecuted for allegedly mistreating a Pit Bull named "Lil Mama."  Bennett calls the dog "Alice" and uses this photo as evidence of her mistreatment. They claim Delois Hayward of Lyons kept the dog in a filthy box six years at her father's home near Five Points in rural north Toombs County.  Pit Bulls are prohibited from being kept in the city of Lyons by city ordinance.

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Since Bennett and a deputy sheriff visited the property in February, Hayward has built a new metal pen with a doghouse, had the dog vaccinated for rabies and this week started her on heartworm treatment at the Altamaha Animal Clinic in Vidalia where a vet said the dog is "fat as a pig" and demonstrates no traits of having been mistreated.

Bennett claims that's not enough.  "Well just because you're speeding down the road and you slow down when you see a cop, doesn't mean that you weren't speeding.  A crime was committed so let's enforce the law," he says.

Hayward says she has no intention of giving up the dog.  "The dog is doing fine and I don't know why he calls it a box.  It's a pen my father had built and Lil Mama hasn't been living in a pen for six years.  The fact is this man went on our property and saw that Lil Mama had no food or water.  Lil Mama had been fed and she turned over her water, so he can't say she had not been fed.  The dog is fine."

Toombs County Sheriff Junior Kight says he took no action on Bennett's complaint because, "There's not enough evidence there to prove animal cruelty.  I think she has complied with everything they have asked her to do and some things she didn't have to do."

The less than 20 demonstrators included visitors from as far away as Illinois who became aware of the allegations on the Internet.  Hayward contends many of the Internet versions are false including claims that the dog was being used for breeding and fighting.  "There's a lot of lies out there, I'll put it that way," she says.