Cases of Interest

Neglect and Starvation

Overview

In November of 2009, an extremely thin white American Bulldog was being left outside shivering in the cold with no access to food or water for hours on end. The dog’s owners refused to cooperate with the local Animal Control Department, so in December the MSPCA Law Enforcement Department was asked to assist. Officer Lori Miranda made several visits to the property, but the dog was nowhere to be found and her owners refused to respond to numerous notes and calls.

Several weeks later, Officer Miranda learned that a similar-looking dog had been found dead in a crate inside an unheated, abandoned house about 800 yards away from where the first dog was originally seen. Her investigation confirmed that the dead dog was the same dog she had sought earlier.

After extensive interviews with the dog’s owner and caretaker, in conjunction with the local Police Department, Officer Miranda learned that the dog’s owners had hidden the dog in the abandoned house. The dog was left in a cage in the kitchen of the uninhabited property, with no heat or electricity.  Her owners never went to see her again, and her assigned caretaker came only once in a while to give her a little food and water.  She died alone, cold and hungry, and ignored.  An autopsy on the dog confirmed, among other things, that no food was present anywhere within the digestive system of the emaciated animal.

Outcome

Officer Miranda sought criminal charges against the dog’s caretaker and in April 2010 he was prosecuted for failing to provide proper sustenance to the dog, allowing her to starve to death. In March of 2011, the case was resolved via a plea bargain.   The defendant will serve probation for one year and is prohibited from possessing any animals during that time.