DURHAM — A Durham woman pleaded guilty Tuesday to misdemeanor cruelty to animals, five months after sheriffs deputies discovered a bone-thin pit bull-boxer puppy illegally tethered outside her home.
Laquita Renee Brown, 34, of 1402 Wyldewood Road received a 15-day suspended sentence and one-year probation as part of a plea agreement with prosecutors, according to the Durham County Sheriffs Office.
She also was ordered to pay more than $1,200 in restitution and is banned from owning dogs in the future. The Animal Protection Society of Durham estimates it spent more than $1,700 caring for the dog, now named Remy, since deputies brought her in July 12.
She was suffering from severe malnutrition, said Shafonda Davis, executive director of the APS. I dont know how long it had been since she had had food or water.
The case began when the sheriffs Animal Services Division responded to 2811 Owen St. on July 11, according to the Sheriffs Office. A neighbor had called about a dog tethered outside for days in 100-plus degree heat with no food, water or shelter.
The day Remy was brought to the APS, she weighed only 16.7 pounds, according to the Sheriffs Office. A week later, she had put on nearly six pounds. Today, she weighs 41.9 pounds, almost a little chubby, Davis said.
Davis said she has seen stepped-up enforcement since the county put Animal Control under the Sheriffs Office July 1, following a critical investigation into then Durham County Animal Control.
The Sheriffs Office has received 568 animal abuse calls since July, issuing 180 written warnings and 33 civil penalties, said Lt. Brendan Hartigan. Ten penalties were for violations of the countys tethering ordinance, which prohibits tying up a dog outdoors unattended. Three cases, including Tuesdays, have brought criminal charges.
Remy is now available for adoption at the APS of Durham, at 2117 E Club Blvd., but Davis said shelter staff are looking for someone experienced in handling sensitive dogs. Shes a joy, Davis said, but is skittish and it is recommended she only go to homes with children over 10 years old. Anyone interested in adopting Remy should visit during business hours, call 919-560-0640 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.