A Florida woman will face a mere 120 days in jail after spending at least 3-times that length of time knowingly neglecting and starving her dog to death.
Last December, police were called to the Edgewater Animal Shelter on Florida’s east coast after 37-year old Sarah Wells brought an emaciated pit bull to the shelter claiming the dog had wandered onto her property.
Shelter staff, skeptical of Wells’ story because the dog was so sick, so malnourished that he couldn’t even stand without help, contacted Edgewater Police who launched an investigation.
Following police investigation, Wells admitted that she’d lied, that the dog, later renamed Adonis by the shelter, was in fact her pet. She was arrested in December and charged with felony animal cruelty.
Despite desperate efforts by shelter staff and veterinarians, Adonis eventually died as a result of the severe neglect he’d suffered.
“I saw pictures of the dog. This went on for month,s this was not an accident,” said Thomas Nicholl, a former veterinarian who now practices animal law. “There are statutes on the books which is a progression, at least, from the old situation where basically animals are considered property. They are still considered property, but now they are getting a little more recognition as being sentient property.”
Wells’ felony animal cruelty charge was downgraded to a misdemeanor. She was sentenced Wednesday to 120 days in jail followed by 12-months probation, during which she cannot own another animal.
“In order to prove felony, you have to prove knowing and intentional conduct,” said Nicholl. “This is an unusual case even though its 120 days a lot of times its no days.”
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