Case Snapshot
Case ID: 12286
Classification: Neglect / Abandonment
Animal: dog (pit-bull)
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Monday, Sep 10, 2007

County: New Castle

Charges: Misdemeanor
Disposition: Alleged

» Justin L Scarborough
» Lacinda E Stelzig

A mother and son from Bear were charged with cruel neglect after the family's pet pit bull was found dead from heat stroke on September 10, 2007, still chained to a corner fence post in the rear yard of their Wellington Woods home.

John E. Caldwell, executive director of the Delaware Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals , said Justin L. Scarborough, 23, and his 48-year-old mother, Lacinda E. Stelzig, both of the first block of Wellington Drive, were each charged with cruel neglect, a misdemeanor offense, and released on $100 bail.
Caldwell said the SPCA received an anonymous tip Monday from a concerned citizen that the dog was in the backyard panting heavily. When cruelty investigator John Saville went to the home shortly before 3 p.m. Monday to investigate the complaint, he found the year-old white pit bull named Onyx chained in the rear yard with a 16-pound tow chain. The canine was dead.

Saville transported the animal to a veterinarian, who performed a necropsy that revealed the dead dog's body temperature was 109.4 degrees. The average temperature of a dog is between 99 and 101 degrees, Caldwell said. The necropsy further revealed that the heat had "effectively cooked a large portion of the dog's muscle mass and organs," Caldwell said. "Fly eggs were found in the dog's mouth." An investigation determined that the dog had no water in its gray plastic bowl, which was empty except for "a small amount of sand and gravel." Caldwell said the temperature that day was 89 degrees.

If convicted of cruel neglect, the suspects could each face a maximum of up to two years in jail and a fine of up to $2,300.


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