Dog Found in 'Severe State of Neglect;' Owner Arrested

Overgrown nails pressing on the dog's paw pads caused a limp, according to veterinarians.

A Kent woman is facing a misdemeanor charge of animal cruelty after officials came across a 5-year-old dog who was suffering from a skin condition, extremely overgrown nails, severe flea infestation and more, officials say.

Members of the Putnam County SPCA arrested 67-year-old Bridget A. Joyce, of Towners Road, according to a statement released Friday. 

A Town of Kent dog control officer found Taffy, an adult, female Pomeranian, "at large" on Towners Road in the Lake Carmel section of the town Sunday. The SPCA was contacted for assistance, and the animal was taken to the Carmel Animal Hospital. Physicians there said the dog was in a "severe state of neglect."

They discovered extensive alopecia, also known as hair loss, severe flea infestation and severe malodor. When officials removed the dog's harness, which was reportedly too tight, patches of fur came with it.

"The nails on its paws had overgrown to the point that they turned under and were pressing on the paw pads when it walked, causing one limb not to be used by the dog due to the pain of its weight on the paw," the SPCA said. "The dog’s skin showed severe seborrhea oleosa, a condition causing the skin to thicken and become scaly, oily and crusty. This results in an extremely uncomfortableand painful skin condition."

"The skin also showed extensive lichenification with deep fissures (a skin lesion that occurs in an area of chronic irritation, resulting in elephant-like skin). The dog also exhibited severe dental disease."

The findings prompted SPCA officials to treat the case as a criminal one.

"In New York State, animals are looked at as property," the SPCA told Patch. "In cases of abuse, the dog remains the property of the arrestee until the court proceedings decide whether it will be returned to Ms. Joyce or awarded to the Putnam SPCA  It is held in our custody and is comfortable at this time at a private shelter, still receiving veterinary treatment for the skin conditions."

Joyce is due Feb. 20 in Town of Kent Justice Court.

Toshya Noonan February 01, 2013 at 10:19 PM
The laws in NY State have to change and punishment for animal cruelty and neglect need to be treated as a serious crime in every state, country and around the world!
Barbara February 02, 2013 at 02:46 AM
Unless Bridget A. Joyce is mentally ill and now in a hospitak for such a condition, she should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. What needless suffering this poor dog went through! She should not only get time in jail but hefty fines to be paid to the shelter!
Ann Fanizzi February 02, 2013 at 10:12 AM
The options that SPCA or the Putnam Humane Society for fostering or ownership have been greatly reduced by a proposed rule adopted by Hunters Glen, a condo community in Southeast, to limit the number of dogs and cats and to exact fees (over $120) and fines as much as $40 a month, in the event that the owner fails to comply with registration requirements. What do you all think of this effort to separate us from our companions who need us desperately and who we need also?
Joan K February 04, 2013 at 01:21 AM
This woman should not get the dog back. Let her get a stuffed toy dog because that seems to be all she is capable to care for.


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