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A Newport Coast, California woman, Sherri Haughton was due in court on January 13 after 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 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 faced 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.
When Haughton failed to appear in court for the arraignment on criminal charges, a warrant was issued for her arrest. When police visited her Newport Coast home, they learned that she was no longer living in the area. She was finally located Wednesday, March 1, in Irvine, California and arrested.
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 in December.
“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, now 8-years old, is living with a foster family and is doing much better.
“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.”
If convicted of all charges against her, Haughton faces a maximum sentence of up to 2 years in jail.
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.