Saturday, September 16, 2006 � Time: 9:30:02 PM EST
Veterinarian says Jake was abused
By Mark Leberfinger, firstname.lastname@example.org )
A veterinarian didn't hesitate when asked a question about a dog he
Based on his experience and to a reasonable degree of veterinary
certainty, was Jake neglected or abused?
"Oh, yes. Yes. Definitely yes," Dr. Nour Hassane of the Veterinary
Hospital of Altoona said Friday. "It was like somebody doesn't care
about this dog or was very busy and didn't keep up with the dog."
The dog, called Jake by its owners and Doogie by the founder of a dog
protection organization, is at the center of a criminal case.
The dog's owners have not been charged with a crime. Steve and Lori
Arnold deny abusing or neglecting Jake. They say the 19-year-old
German shepherd/black labrador mix suffered from arthritis and was
given aspirin periodically for pain.
The only charges have been filed against Dogs Deserve Better founder
Tammy Sneath Grimes. She is charged with stealing the dog. She has
refused to give the dog back, police said.
Grimes says she took the dog to keep it from dying. It had laid on the
ground for three days before Grimes came to Freedom Township at a
Jake was dehydrated, malnourished and weak, Hassane said. The dog's
spine and hips had deformities.
"You can see the skin but you can't feel the muscles. He couldn't
stand on his four feet. I tried to help him stand on his back legs,
but he would fall back down," Hassane said.
Freedom Township police have no evidence that the dog was abused; they
haven't been able to see the dog, Police Chief John Reilly said.
"We probably could do something but it would be very hard to prove
because I don't have the dog. I can't even get the medical records. We
are basically at a standstill," Reilly said.
Neglect or abuse is at the heart of Pennsylvania' s cruelty to animals
law. It is a summary offense punishable by a fine no more than $750,
up to 90 days in jail or both.
Neglect is failure to provide necessary vet care, shelter, water or
food, said Humane Officer Tina Walter of the Humane Society of
"In a neglect case, we usually have to give a warning unless the dog
is in imminent danger. It's very difficult to fight in these cases
unless we have a warning," Walter said.
In Jake's case, police and the Central Pennsylvania Humane Society say
they had no abuse complaints about the dog before Monday's incident.
A neighbor says she called the society twice � Saturday and Monday �
without results. A society spokesman said a complaint was received
over the weekend but couldn't be substantiated because of a lack of a
Issuing warnings or citations isn't the normal first step in dog
cases; educating the owner is.
"People may not know or understand what they need to do. Common sense
is not so common. I had a woman whose dog was outside in 90-degree
heat without shelter or water; she didn't think it was wrong," Humane
Officer Joanne Smith of the Elk County Humane Society said.
Pennsylvania' s Dog Law does not cover abuse or neglect issues. The
law's focus is on licensing, rabies vaccinations and kennels, state
Agriculture Department spokesman Chris Ryder said.
"It's a local issue, a police or SPCA/humane society matter," Ryder said.
State dog wardens work with police or humane officers on neglect or
"But we don't have the authority to cite," Ryder said.
Mirror Staff Writer Mark Leberfinger is at 946-7462.