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Monday, Jan 7, 2013County: Portsmouth City
Defendant/Suspect: Adriane C. Mason
A Portsmouth man convicted of animal cruelty after a dog starved to death will serve six months in jail, a Circuit Court judge ruled this week.
Adriane C. Mason, 35, was indicted by a grand jury on the misdemeanor charge last April.
The female pit bull mix named Dynasty was discovered by PETA volunteers last winter when they were going door to door to deliver straw bedding for outdoor dogs.
They had just knocked on the door of the home in the 4200 block of George Washington Hwy. when they heard a sound coming from around the corner, according to Kara Cooper, the prosecutor in the case.
In a crate they saw one living dog and the emaciated body of Dynasty.
Cooper said the volunteers called police, and shortly afterward Mason arrived. He signed both dogs over to PETA, she said.
She said a veterinarian testified during the trial that the dog was so severely starved her last reserve of body fat was almost depleted. There also was no evidence of food in the dog's system, and it appeared that the dog had attempted to eat straw.
Cooper said the other dog was slightly malnourished, but not enough to determine whether it was being deprived of food. That dog has been adopted.
Mason was given a 12-month sentence Tuesday, the maximum for the crime, with six months suspended. He will serve three years' supervised probation upon his release and cannot have a pet during that time.
A first offense of depriving an animal of food, drink, shelter or emergency veterinary treatment is a misdemeanor.
His lawyer, Nicholas Renninger, said his client "regrets the incident that occurred and, of course, does not condone the needless suffering of any living creature."
He said the dog had been injured and was not eating before Mason took her in. The attorney said his client was attempting to help the animal.
The judge also ordered Mason to pay about $450 in restitution to PETA to cover veterinary expenses for the two dogs.
Daphna Nachminovitch, PETA's senior vice president of cruelty investigations, was pleased with the results of the case.
She said the organization sees a lot of neglect and a fair number of malnourished dogs. But it is not that often that they find dogs that have starved to death, she said.
"It was a prolonged, agonizing death for her, and there's nothing that can be done to bring her back but to try to get justice for her," she said.
- Virginia Pilot - Feb 13, 2014
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