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Misdemeanor animal cruelty charges have been filed against Newport Coast, California woman Sherri Haughton after, authorities say, she dropped a 7-year old Golden retriever off at a local animal hospital claiming to have found him abandoned on the beach.
As it turns out, the dog, who authorities have renamed Henry, belonged to Haughton and, despite having taken him to a veterinarian and learning of his condition, she neglected to provide him with the care that he needed.
Haughton faces charges of animal abuse causing life-threatening injuries, failing to properly care for an animal, animal abandonment and interfering with a Newport Beach Animal Control officer’s investigation.
If convicted, she faces up to two years in Orange County jail.
Pet owners whose pets face painful or life-threatening medical ailments have the option to pay for treatment, turn over the animal to someone able to get the animal help, or give the pet to an animal-care agency, such as OC Animal Control, Deputy District Attorney Jennifer Malone explained in a press conference Wednesday.
“If a person does not avail his- or herself to any of these options, criminal charges can attach,” Malone said. “The main thing we look at is no animal should be subjected to needless pain and suffering.”
Today, Henry is doing much better. The 42-pound tumor on his side has been removed and he’s now being treated to prevent it from growing back. As you can imagine, Henry was in a lot of pain, with very limited mobility before finally getting the care he needed.
“Henry is doing a lot better now,” said Nick Ott, a Newport Beach Animal Control officer. “ He is very happy, he is very mobile. … He is a happy dog now.”
Although Haughton, and other pet owners that neglect to provide necessary treatment to their animals, may not be acting out of malice, they are not doing what is in the best interest of their pets. Additionally, a number of national and state or county-specific resources are available to pet owners facing financial hardship.