Case Snapshot
Case ID: 19285
Classification: Neglect / Abandonment
Animal: dog (non pit-bull)
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Prosecutor(s): Jeff Hall
Defense(s): Thomas Davis
Judge(s): Richard Kuhn Jr.

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For more information about the Interactive Animal Cruelty Maps, see the map notes.

Friday, Feb 10, 2012

County: Oakland

Charges: Felony CTA
Disposition: Alleged
Case Images: 1 files available

Alleged: Olivia Cortes

Case Updates: 2 update(s) available

Oakland County Animal Control is investigating a case of animal cruelty against a 10-month-old yellow Labrador puppy named Marley whose lower leg was missing its flesh, "leaving nothing but exposed bone," according to a police report. Marley was rushed to emergency surgery at the Oakland Pet Adoption Center in Auburn Hills to amputate his left front leg Friday, February 10.

"This is an unspeakable act against a very sweet puppy," said Dr. Jeffrey Fortna, veterinarian for Oakland Pet Adoption Center. "Fortunately, the prognosis is good and Marley should make a full recovery in about two to three weeks."

On January 26, Waterford Township Police were called to a residence on Jay Street on an unrelated issue when an officer noticed an injury to Marley's front left leg. The officer informed the owner she must seek medical attention for Marley. The owner promised to get Marley the help he needed. That care never happened.

Then on the evening of February 10, Waterford Police were once again called to the residence on an unrelated matter. Marley's owner was not present, but other family members were. The officer noticed the owner failed to get Marley proper medical care. Waterford Police then notified Oakland County Animal Control, who responded to the scene.

"Animals don't have anyone to defend them," said Waterford Township Police Chief Dan McCaw. "When you see people abusing an animal, please report it to your local authorities."

At this time, the cruelty case remains under investigation by Oakland County Animal Control, pending charges against Marley's owner. Meanwhile, the Oakland County Pet Adoption Center is seeking donations to help defray the costs of Marley's emergency surgery and subsequent care. Oakland Pet Adoption Center hopes to find Marley a loving home once he has fully recovered.

"Marley is very social, great with kids, cats and other dogs," said Deputy Christopher Klebba, the Oakland County Animal Control officer that responded to the call on Friday.

Those who wish to donate to help cover Marley's surgery and after care costs, please call (248) 391-4100.

For more information, please visit or call (248) 391-4100.

Case Updates

When a yellow Laborabor pawed at the door of a house, a police officer saw a streak of blood.

"When the dog was walking, it was leaving a blood trial," Officer Jerry Niedjelski testified Wednesday during the preliminary exam of Olivia Cortes.

A judge ordered Cortes, 31, to stand trial on one count of killing or torturing an animal. Authorities said she failed to get adequate car for the dog, named Marley, and its leg was so badly injured that it had to be amputated.

Niedjelski said he was called to Cortes' Jay Street home Jan. 26 to perform a welfare check on the children living there. Cortes answered the door, he testified, and then he spotted Marley, who had a bloody bandage around its left paw.

He said Cortes told him that the dog recently cut its paw on glass.

"I told her she needed to get the dog checked out," Niedjelski said.

On Feb. 10, Niedjelski went back to the house for another welfare check after Cortes' soon-to-be ex-husband reported that the children may have been left home alone.

Niedjelski said there were three or four children between the ages of five and 12, and they were home alone. Marley came limping around a corner, a sight Niedjelski called "unnerving."

This time, the foot was not bandaged. The officer said he saw "bone and raw meat." Marley began eating dead flesh from its foot.

Niedjelski contacted dispatch and asked for an Oakland County Animal Control officer to come to the house.

Brian Covert, a staff veterinarian for Oakland County, said Marley had no viable or living tissue from its left wrist down.

"It was just skeletal components," he said.

Answering questions posed by Oakland County Assistant Prosecutor Jeff Hall, Covert said the injury probably happened two to four weeks earlier and got progressively worse. He said the dog would have been in pain and should have been taken in for medical care after it was first injured.

He couldn't discern the exact nature of the original injury, but said if a main artery had been cut, a bandage wouldn't be enough to keep tissue from dying.

Covert put Marley on pain medication and antibiotics. Its leg had to be amputated.

Thomas Davis, attorney for Olivia Cortes, asked both witnesses if they knew whether Cortes attempted to treat the dog. They said no.

At the conclusion of the hearing, Hall told Judge Richard Kuhn, Jr. that Cortes should be bound over as charged.

"It's unacceptable that the dog had to suffer for that amount of time," he said.

Davis said there is no evidence that Cortes ever meant to harm the dog or prolong its suffering.

"There's no evidence before this court ... that Ms. Cortes failed to treat the dog," he said.

Davis previously told The Oakland Press that Cortes tried to treat Marley with bandages, antibiotics and hydrogen peroxide.

Kuhn bound Cortes over to Oakland County Circuit Court on one count of killing/torturing an animal, which carries a maximum penalty of up to four years in prison.

After Cortes left Waterford, the Oakland County's Fugitive Apprehension Team picked her up in Akron, Ohio, and brought back to the area to face the animal cruelty charge.

Marley was adopted by Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson. He then turned the dog over to his daughter, son-in-law and grandchildren.
Source: Daily Tribune
Update posted on May 17, 2012 - 6:12PM 
Police are looking for a Waterford woman who is accused of neglecting her dog's wounds, forcing his leg to be amputated earlier this month.

A warrant for Olivia Cortes, 31, was signed Tuesday on charges of felony animal torture of Marley, a 10-month old Labrador retriever who gnawed his leg to the bone after a cut went untreated for at least two weeks.

Marley is recovering from surgery. After being neutered, the pup likely will go home with County Executive L. Brooks Patterson and his daughter Mary Warner, who has two young children. Warner said the dog's name held special meaning to her father. Her niece, daughter of Brooks Stuart Patterson, who died in 2007, is named Marley.

"He's a good-looking dog," said the elder Patterson. "He could use a little TLC."

Cortes, a medical professional, may be in Ohio or Canada, where Oakland County Animal Control officials believe she has family. She is only the second person in the county to be charged with felony animal abuse since case law on animal torture was established by Oakland County courts in a 2010 case brought by Animal Control.

"This dog lost its leg," said Mike Zehnder, director of public services for Oakland County. "Usually it's a misdemeanor. I'm not settling for a misdemeanor."

On Jan. 26, Waterford police were called to Cortes' residence on Jay Street on a child welfare check. An officer told Cortes that the dog's wound needed to be treated. Cortes agreed.

Then, on Feb. 10, Cortes' husband, Christopher Cortes, called police for help in retrieving their children from the home.

Cortes told police he and his wife were divorcing, and she had given her brother a note for him relinquishing her rights to their children. Officers came to the home, but Cortes wasn't there. They found Marley and called Animal Control. He was taken to emergency surgery that night.

According to Animal Control reports, on Feb. 17, Cortes' employer told police that she called into work, and that was the last time they heard from her.

Waterford Police Chief Dan McCaw said those with information can call police anonymously at 248-674-2677 or 248-673-0351.
Source: - Feb 29, 2012
Update posted on Mar 18, 2012 - 5:00PM 


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