Stabbed puppy is last part of fairytale life gone awry
MISSION VIEJO,Ca – Azure, a charcoal-gray pit bull puppy is all Erin Lup has from what she dreamed could have been a fairytale life.
But the dream shattered in late January when her boyfriend, Justin Carrafield, 26, came off a Xanax binge, downed a bottle of alcohol and started fighting with her. He choked her and then directed his anger at Azure, stabbing the eight-month-old puppy seven times with a martial arts-style sword.
Now Carrafield – the boyfriend Lup thought she could count on – is in Men's Central Jailserving a one-year sentence after pleading guilty this week to felony charges of animal cruelty and cultivating marijuana. A felony charge of possession of a dagger was dismissed as part of a plea bargain in Orange County Superior Court.
Azure, meanwhile, has completely recovered. The sole signs of the animal's stab wounds and follow-up surgeries are spots of shaved-down fur.
And gone, now, is the life that Erin Lup shared with her boyfriend in a townhouse-style, well-manicured apartment near The Shops of Mission Viejo. It was a place she loved — keeping house and hosting parties.
Lup lives with Azure in her parents' home in Costa Mesa that they share with the family cat. Outside the pup plays ball in a large backyard with Lup and her twin sister, Heidi. At night Azure cuddles in Erin Lup's bed.
"At first my parents didn't want this symbol of what Justin had done in our home," said Heidi Lup. "My dad bought into the whole pit bull stereotype of them bringing violence. This (incident) proved that to him. But now he's become very understanding of the dog and realizes that this is the last part Erin has left from what she built."
The Lup family is happy that Erin and Azure are with them are safe. They hope she will stay away from Carrafield, said Heidi Lup.
Erin Lup has visited Carrafield in jail a few times. She said he has been remorseful about what he did but remembers nothing of the attack after blacking out following his rage. He reads the Bible a lot now, she said.
In an interview today, she said she pities him but believes the jail sentence is appropriate. She hopes he'll get psychological help and work on what she considers an alcohol addiction. She's written him a break-up letter telling him they each need to find their own independence.
Lup is also working on healing herself. She hopes to find a support group. She's going back to college to study interior design.
She said she shouldn't have stayed in the abusive relationship and she shouldn't have watched the puppy being mistreated before the stabbing.
"I know it wasn't right for me to stay," she said as she played with Azure and her sister in the community dog park at her old apartment complex. "If anyone was in a relationship where they really loved someone and that person kept promising to change and said they were sorry – it's really hard to leave. We had all this stuff, this great apartment and this life that was going to get better. It seemed so much to throw away and I wanted to keep trying."