Woman jailed for animal neglect

July 23, 2009 12:49:43 PM PDT
A woman was sentenced in San Mateo County Superior Court this morning to four days in county jail and two years' probation for misdemeanor animal cruelty charges that emerged after authorities found her dog emaciated and with maggots living in its infected ear.

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Betty Lockett, 56, and her husband Donald Lockett, 57, were arrested in January when the Peninsula Humane Society in San Mateo received a phone call stating there was a neglected dog at the Locketts' home, Chief Deputy District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe said.

The German Shepherd, then 10 years old, looked like it was 20, according to Peninsula Humane Society Director Scott Delucchi.

Wagstaffe said the animal was resting on the garage floor when authorities arrived.

The dog, named "Raven," had "open sores around his clouded eyes," and was emaciated with tufts of hair missing, Wagstaffe said.

A bandage covered his left ear, which was infected and had maggots living in the canal of the ear, according to Wagstaffe.

The couple reportedly said they were financially strapped and didn't think a veterinarian could help their dog. They allegedly said they did not want to euthanize the dog because they wanted him to die at home naturally, Wagstaffe said.

The dog was placed into custody of the Peninsula Humane Society and euthanized almost immediately, Delucchi said.

"It was one of the worst cases we had seen in terms of a dog having such severe injuries and still being alive," Delucchi said.

"Sadly, all we could do was relieve the dog of that suffering. There was no amount of care or medical treatment that was going to save that dog," he said.

Both the husband and wife were initially charged in connection with the incident, but in a June plea deal with prosecutors, charges were dropped against the husband and the wife pleaded no contest to misdemeanor infliction of cruelty to an animal, Wagstaffe said.

"Evidence pointed predominantly to her as the caregiver," Wagstaffe said of why charges were dropped against the husband.

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