Charges pending in dog starvation

WINNSBORO (Jan. 26, 2017) – A Winnsboro woman will soon be facing charges after County officials were forced to euthanize a dog that she had allowed to virtually starve to death.

“The dog was in dreadful condition,” Bob Ennis, Director of Fairfield County Animal Control told The Voice Tuesday. “We did all we could. We had the vet (Dr. Robert Chappell) come out, we gave it medication. We gave her a blood transfusion – her blood count was in terrible shape. But in the end, we had to put her down.”

Acting Chief of Public Safety Maj. John Seibles said Tuesday that a warrant had been signed on Katera Latrice Alexander, 28, for a charge of animal cruelty. Seibles said his office was giving Alexander the opportunity through this weekend to turn herself in, after which time if she had not done so the warrant would be served.

According to the incident report, a delivery driver alerted Public Safety on Jan. 13 of an apparently malnourished, weak and distressed dog tied up on the front porch of Alexander’s home in the 300 block of Forest Hills Drive. Just after 5:30 p.m., a Public Safety officer found the dog – a brown female pit bull, approximately three- to four-years old – cowering under the front steps of the home. The dog was tethered to the front porch by a length of cable, approximately 15-feet long.

The dog was emaciated, the report states, with the outlines of vertebrae, ribs and hip bones pressing through the skin. A bucket for water sat on the porch, but it was turned over on its side and empty. There was no food bowl available for the dog, the report states. Instead, there was a milk jug with a hole cut into the top sitting on the porch near the dog’s house. Inside the jug, according to the report, was what appeared to be milk with a layer of grease floating on top.

When Alexander arrived home a short time later, the report states, she told the officer that the dog had been sick for more than a month and would not eat. The officer then produced a pack of crackers and offered them to the dog, who devoured them almost instantly. The dog quickly went through a second pack, “so it appeared to be very hungry,” the report states. The dog also lapped up a large amount of water when the officer filled her water bowl.

Alexander reportedly told the officer that she had given the dog deworming medication, but that it did not help. She showed the officer an empty box of worm medicine, which she said had “just run out.” Someone told her, she said, to give the dog milk and grease as a remedy, but the officer noted that it did not appear as though the dog had consumed any of the concoction. Alexander also told the officer that she had not taken the dog to a veterinarian “because she could not afford it,” the report states.

When the officer asked Alexander to show him the food she had been feeding the dog, she said she did not have any. She had only been feeding the animal table scraps, she said. She also told the officer she suspected her neighbors, who had also been feeding the animal, may have poisoned the dog.

Alexander agreed to allow Fairfield Animal Control to pick up the dog and take it to the Adoption Center, but by the time the County took possession of the animal it was too late. The County euthanized the dog on Sunday.

Seibles said Dr. Chappell’s report stated that the dog suffered from “obvious animal neglect,” and was “severely anemic” as a result of malnutrition.

“When an animal is that malnourished,” Ennis said, “it affects the internal organs. We gave it medication, but there was no improvement and the dog became lethargic. It was in just dreadful condition.”