Springfield Gardens woman charged with animal cruelty for allegedly starving her puppy to death in 2017

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A Springfield Gardens woman has been indicted on animal cruelty and other charges stemming from the 2017 death of her one-and-a-half-year-old Yorkshire Terrier, according the the Queens DA’s office.

Shawna Austin, 26, of 146th Street, was arraigned Friday before Acting Queens Supreme Court Justice Barry S. Kron on a four-count indictment. Justice Kron released Austin on her own recognizance and ordered her to return to court on Nov. 18.

According to the charges. Austin took her dog Khloe to a veterinary clinic on Long Island on Aug. 27, 2017. The dog was in highly critical condition and died less than eight hours after Austin brought her in.

When questioned, Austin allegedly told detectives that the dog had not eaten in several days. She also claimed that she thought the dog died as a result of high blood pressure. A necropsy performed by a licensed ASPCA forensic veterinarian revealed that the dog, who weighed less at the time of her death than she had weighed at a previous puppy check-up, had gone without food and was ungroomed for several weeks to a month, according to the charges. The forensic examination determined that the dog’s emaciated condition stemmed from a lack of adequate nutrition, and it was the malnutrition that caused her death.

Additionally, the veterinarian discovered traces of plastic and digested blood in the dog’s stomach, all signs that the animal had the capacity, drive and desire to east, but had not received food.

“The defendant allegedly starved her dog and failed to adequately care for the pet,” Acting Queens District Attorney John M. Ryan said. “The tiny animal’s fur was severely unkempt and the animal’s stomach only contained blood and pieces of plastic — no food whatsoever. The dog died a horrible death.”

Austin allegedly listed a relative’s name on documents she filled out pertaining to the dig’s treatment at the veterinarian clinic in an attempt to distance herself from the alleged abuse, according to the charges leading her to be charged with falsifying records. 

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