Lee County Domestic Animal Services cited a pet owner Saturday with failure to provide necessary veterinary care after her dog died from injuries the woman said it suffered after escaping its yard.
Shawn Boardman failed to provide care for her West Highland white terrier, Bailey, after the 12-year-old dog returned home March 30 after being missing for several hours, officials said.
Boardman had stated her dog's mouth was glued shut when it returned to its home at 8336 Marx Drive in North Fort Myers. She also claimed it was limping, appeared to have been beaten, and possibly had broken ribs. She did not seek veterinary care for the dog nor did she call police or Animal Services to report the incident, officials said.
Bailey died that night.
Boardman's mother called a newspaper and the story was featured in a column. From this information Lee County Domestic Animal Services located the owner through the Property Appraiser's online records. An investigation by LCDAS and the Lee County Sheriff's Office did not produce any viable information leading to suspects in the case.
Bailey's body was exhumed from a shallow grave on April 10 and her remains were sent to the University of Florida Veterinary Forensic Lab for a necropsy. The necropsy results showed no evidence of glue in or around the mouth of the dog, no broken bones, nor signs of abuse, Animal Services said in a prepared statement released Monday.
The actual cause of death could not be determined due to the amount of time that had passed before the body could be retrieved for testing.
"This tragic incident should serve as an important lesson to pet owners about the importance of seeking immediate medical care whenever a pet is sick or injured," said Suzanne Vazzana, LCDAS veterinarian in the statement.
"Veterinary care is also mandated by Florida State Statute and Lee County Ordinance," said Glenn Johnson, LCDAS operations manager.
"A cause of death could also have been determined if the incident had been reported to authorities immediately," he said in the statement.
Fines for failure to provide care can be up to $500.
LCDAS encourages anyone who is aware of the abuse or neglect of an animal to report it immediately to their agency at 239-533-7387 (LEE-PETS). The Lee County Animal Care Trust Fund is also available to assist sick and injured animals for owners receiving public assistance.
Boardman could not be reached for comment.
Source: Lee County Domestic Animal Services