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Dog owner facing animal cruelty charge

June 26, 2013
SPECIAL TO THE CITIZEN (mtoadvine@breezenewspapers.com) , Lehigh Acres Citizen

The continuous hot days in Lehigh Acres is not healthy for your pets, says Ria Brown of the Lee County Domestic Animal Services. Members of her staff were called on June 19 to 1016 Habersan Ave. in Lehigh regarding two dogs that had been tied outside without water.

When officers arrived, she said one of the Bull Mastiffs was dead and the other was in obvious heat distress.

The caretaker of the two dogs is facing charges today of misdemeanor animal cruelty.

Article Photos

RIA BROWN
A thermometer shows 112 degrees in an area where two dogs were left without water.

Brown said that a thermometer placed in the vicinity of the dogs had registered 112 degrees Fahrenheit and that the internal temperature of the deceased dog registered 130 degrees.

She reported that no one was home at the time. Both dogs were removed from the property and taken to Animal Services where the surviving dog was treated for severe heat exhaustion.

Nobody was at the house when the dogs were removed.

The caretaker, identified as Valencia Ward was charged with misdemeanor animal cruelty. She can receive a $5,000 fine and up to a year in jail for the deceased dog. Ward was also charged with animal cruelty under Lee County ordinances for the surviving dog.

Brown said the surviving dog was handed given back to its owner, Stacey Johnson , who was also charged with failure to license and vaccinate her dog.

The charges of misdemeanor animal cruelty under Florida State statute is punishable by a $5,000 fine and up a year in the county jail for the deceased canine.

The Lee County Commission plans to consider an ordinance in August which would prohibit outdoor unsupervising of tethering of dogs, Brown said.

Officers routinely deal with the problem which often leads to strangulation, heat exhaustion and aggression. She said 14 cities and counties in the state have already passed such anti-tethering ordinances.

The proposed ordinance change would give Animal control officers the legal authority to prevent such senseless cruelty," said Glenn Johnson, LCDAS operations manager.

To report animal neglect or abuse, you are urged to call Lee County Domestic Animal Services at 239-533-7387.

 
 

 

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