October 9, 2008

Mitigating Circumstances?

Marc Comtois

I don't know anything other than what's reported below, but this strikes me as heavy-handed, no?

A 20-year-old woman pleaded not guilty to animal cruelty charges this morning after authorities accused her of muzzling her two pit bulls and abandoning them in an apartment before she went to a hospital to give birth.

Judge Jeanne E. LaFazia in District Court, Warwick, ordered Diana Tetrault to have a mental-health screening and released her on $2,000 personal recognizance, according to a clerk.

Tetrault is scheduled to return to District Court on Oct. 24 for a pretrial conference.

Johnston’s animal control officer found one of the pit bulls leashed to a closet door in Tetrault’s second-floor apartment on Sept. 26, according to police Maj. Ralph Bubar III. At the time Tetrault was in Women & Infants Hospital after having given birth.

The other pit bull was caged in the kitchen at 28 Osgood Ave., he said. Neither animal had food or water, he said.

At the time, residents in the apartment house said they hadn’t seen anyone visit the second-floor apartment since the morning of Sept. 23.

The two dogs remain in the custody of the Johnston Police Department, which placed them at the Providence Animal Rescue League.

The Department of Children Youth and Families received notification of Tetrault’s arrest and the alleged abuse.
{emphasis added}

Gee, where were her priorities?

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As a dog owner I'm inclined to believe her when she says she didn't do it. I suspect there's more to this story than we're hearing now.

Posted by: Greg at October 9, 2008 11:21 AM

And, the two dogs had been "muzzled" with electrical tape wrapped around their mouths. "Emergency" or no, if this woman and/or her family can't take proper care of the two family pets, then I fear for how the new baby will fare in that household. Neighbors, better keep the DCYF number on speed-dial..

Posted by: Chris at October 9, 2008 1:38 PM

Chris, Where'd you get that duct tape info?

Posted by: Marc at October 9, 2008 2:11 PM

The detail about the tape was in a few of the initial TV news reports (WJAR and ABC6 both mentioned it, as I recall). One of the dogs had been able to get the tape off its mouth in the interim, but the other still had it on when the dogs were found.

Posted by: Chris at October 9, 2008 3:00 PM

Is it rational or safe for a woman to bring a newborn home to an apartment with two pit bulls that apparently need muzzling and have been mistreated? The majority of deaths caused by pit bull maulings are in children under 3.

Is it not good for the local or state authorities to investigate this? I have fear of Big Pit Bull more than fear of Big Brother. I think it is slightly amusing that some see this a Libertarian issue and not a legitimate animal control issue. Parents love their kids but I have known of many people whose overriding love for their dog(s) keeps them from handling dangerous dogs sensibly.

Posted by: bluetickdog at October 11, 2008 3:19 PM
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