Charges Being Upgraded in Dog Starvation Case

WINNSBORO – Charges against a woman accused of starving her pit bull to the point that the County was forced to euthanize the animal are in the process of being upgraded, the Sixth Circuit Solicitor’s Office said this week.

Katera Latrice Alexander, 28, of Forest Hills Drive turned herself over to police on Jan. 29. She was initially charged with a misdemeanor of cruelty to animals, first offense. Alexander was later released on a $1,000 personal recognizance bond and was scheduled to stand trial in Municipal Court at 11 a.m. on Feb. 20.

But the Solicitor’s Office said Monday that the charge against Alexander will be upgraded to a felony and the trial will be moved to General Sessions Court. A time and date for the trial had not been scheduled at press time.

Under the lesser charge, Alexander faced the potential of not more than 60 days in jail or a fine of not less than $100 and not more than $500, or both, if convicted. Under the felony charge, however, Alexander could face jail time of between 180 days and five years, and a fine of $5,000 if convicted.

According to Chapter A of the state’s ill-treatment to animals statute, “Whoever knowingly or intentionally overloads, overdrives, overworks, ill- treats any animal, deprives any animal of necessary sustenance or shelter, inflicts unnecessary pain or suffering upon any animal, or by omission or commission knowingly or intentionally causes these things to be done, for every offense is guilty of a misdemeanor . . .”

According to Chapter B of the same statute, “Whoever tortures, torments, needlessly mutilates, cruelly kills, or inflicts excessive or repeated unnecessary pain or suffering upon any animal or by omission or commission causes the acts to be done for any of the offenses is guilty of a felony . . .”

On Jan. 13 a Public Safety officer responded to a call of a malnourished dog tied up on the front porch of Alexander’s home. The female pit bull was, according to the incident report, so badly emaciated that vertebrae, ribs and hip bones could be seen pressing through the skin. No food or water was available for the animal. Instead, there was a milk jug containing what appeared to be milk with a layer of grease floating on top.

While Alexander reportedly told the officer that the dog had been ill for more than a month, she said she had not taken the animal to a vet because she could not afford to do so. Because of the dog’s illness, she said, the animal would not eat; however, the dog immediately consumed two packages of crackers offered to her by the officer and drank a large amount of water once the officer filled her bowl.

Worming medication had failed to help the dog, Alexander reportedly told the officer, so the milk and grease was provided as a home remedy. According to the report, the dog had not consumed any of the concoction. Alexander had no food for the dog, the report states, but had been feeding the animal table scraps.

Alexander allowed Fairfield County Animal Control to pick up the dog and take it to the Adoption Center, but according to Bob Innes, Director of Animal Control, the dog’s physical condition was beyond recovery.

“We did all we could,” Innes said. “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. When an animal is that malnourished, it affects the internal organs. In the end, we had to put her down.”

The County euthanized the pit bull on Jan. 15. According to Maj. John Seibles, acting Chief of Public Safety, Dr. Chappell’s report that the dog suffered from “obvious animal neglect,” and was “severely anemic” as a result of malnutrition.

 

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