Suffering Shih Tzu: Dog Owner Faces Criminal Charges in Brooklyn for Animal Cruelty

February 1, 2012 Brooklyn Eagle Staff
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SCHERMERHORN STREET — A tiny Shih Tzu dog is recovering, while its former owner is facing prosecution in Brooklyn Criminal Court for animal neglect.

Humane Law Enforcement (HLE) agents of the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) arrested Brooklyn resident Nicole Dennis over the weekend for allegedly neglecting and starving her year-old female Shih Tzu named Dora.

On Dec. 17, 2011, HLE agents investigated a report of an emaciated, neglected canine living on Albemarle Road in Prospect Park South. Agents encountered the dog, and she appeared to be weak, thin and matted. Dennis relinquished Dora to the agents, and she was brought to the ASPCA’s Bergh Memorial Animal Hospital for treatment.

ASPCA veterinarians found Dora to be dehydrated and skeletal. She weighed only 6.55 pounds upon intake. She was put on intravenous fluids for four days to combat the dehydration, and her entire coat was shaved due to excessive and painful matting.

“You don’t have to hit, beat or kick an animal to be cruel to him or her,” said Howard Lawrence, senior director of operations for the ASPCA’s Humane Law Enforcement department. “Animal cruelty also includes situations where an owner or caretaker fails to provide an animal with necessary food, water, shelter or veterinary care and the animal is harmed as a result.”

Since 2010, 83 percent of the ASPCA’s HLE arrests have involved some form of animal neglect.

Dennis, 32, was arrested by ASPCA Special Agent John Akdikmen on Saturday. She was charged with one count of misdemeanor animal cruelty. If convicted, she faces up to one year in jail and/or a $1,000 fine. Dennis is due in Brooklyn Criminal Court on March 5.

After receiving intensive treatment by ASPCA staff, Dora now weighs 9.2 pounds, a 40 percent increase. She is recovering at the hospital and will eventually be made available for adoption.

To report animal cruelty in New York City, contact the ASPCA’s Humane Law Enforcement department at (212) 876-7700, ext. 4450, or [email protected].

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