Man Who Abandoned Dog Faces Animal Cruelty Charges

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A man faces charges of animal cruelty after he allegedly abandoned a dog in Watertown.

On Nov. 7, 2019, a Prentiss Street resident found a malnourished dog on her doorstep in East Watertown. The resident contacted Watertown Animal Control officer Karen O’Reilly, who began an investigation into the case, said Watertown Police Lt. James O’Connor.

“The Animal Control Officer took custody of the dog and described the dog as ‘every bone of his body was visible to the eye,'” O’Connor said. “The dog had a hunched back, probably due to malnutrition.”

The dog, a 4-year-old Maltipoo named Duncan, was taken to a vet and weighed 6 pounds, 5 ounces, and had health issues due to lack of food, O’Connor said. By January, Duncan had been adopted by a family, and reportedly weighed 10 pounds.

The dog was identified by a microchip which came from Long Beach, Calif., but O’Reilly determined the registered owner had moved to Waltham.

“Through the investigation, it was discovered the owner had passed away,” O’Connor said. “Custody was taken by the roommate, who was also the alternate contact of the dog.”

Waltham Animal Control also confirmed that the roommate took ownership of the dog, O’Connor said, and the roommate was tracked to Dewey Street in Watertown, which is around the block from where Duncan was found.

“The Animal Control Officer made several attempts to contact the (new) owner and when she did succeed in contacting the owner, he denied ownership,” O’Connor said.

O’Reilly then contacted the family of the deceased man, and Waltham Animal Control, both of whom confirmed that the roommate had taken custody of the dog after the man’s death, O’Connor said.

On Feb. 18, the Watertown Police took on the case and filed charges in the Waltham District Court for two counts of cruelty to an animal (a felony charge), O’Connor said. One count was for failing to care for the dog and teh second for failing to alert Animal Control that the dog was missing or abandoned.

The 39-year-old Watertown man was summonsed to Waltham District Court on the charges.

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