Animal cruelty being researched

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, May 12, 2004

Suffolk News-Herald

An investigation into the woeful tale of cruelty to a shepherd-mix puppy has been set in motion by the Suffolk Police sergeant who rescued him Sunday.

Sgt. Troy Shelton filed a complaint of animal cruelty and if warranted by his investigation, he plans to take the charge to Suffolk’s Commonwealth’s Attorney’s office.

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Deputy Commonwealth’s Attorney Fox Urquhart said the penalty for cruelty to animals is up to 12 months in jail, a $2,500 fine, either or both.

Shelton said he’s waiting to hear from the owners of the puppy he first observed while responding to a call at the house next door. It was fastened tightly to a chain nailed to the porch at a Freeney Avenue house. The sergeant said the chain was tangled and there was no water or food in sight.

According to the sergeant, when he first observed the puppy Saturday, its chain was tangled to a point where the puppy had no way to move about and there was no shelter from the sun. The food and water bowls were upside down and the puppy appeared to be neglected.

Concerned, the sergeant said he couldn’t forget how pitiful the puppy looked as it sat where it appeared to have been all day in the hot sun. He returned to the scene Sunday to again find it in the same condition; no food or water, and the chain was even more tangled. It had also caught in a crack at the edge of the porch, absolutely restricting the puppy’s movements.

Shelton said he just couldn’t leave the animal in such deplorable conditions. He took the little dog to Suffolk’s Animal Control Shelter. There it was fed, watered and had shelter.

Suffolk’s Chief Animal Control Supervisor Nathaniel Skeeter said Tuesday morning that the puppy is doing well; however, it still shows none of the enthusiasm or playfulness normally exhibited by a dog that age.

&uot;The puppy has been through some trauma we know – the sun and lack of water – and it’s going to take time to get over that,&uot; said Skeeter. &uot;I do not understand how people could leave an animal like that; tied up with no water in this heat. All pets must have water in this weather and they should have the container placed so that the animal’s leash cannot knock it over.&uot;

Skeeter added that water and food bowls should be placed just close enough so that the animal can easily reach them but cannot drag the leash over them, spilling the contents.

Anyone with questions on the care and treatment of a pet, or anyone who would like to adopt a pet, is invited to call the shelter at 923-2160.