The former owner of a dog who was abandoned at a Newport Beach vet clinic with a 42-pound tumor is facing criminal charges.
During a press conference on Wednesday, prosecutors said they have charged Sherri Haughton with two counts of animal cruelty, one count of animal abandonment and one count of interfering with an investigation. All are misdemeanor charges.
The charges stem from a May incident when Haughton brought Henry, an 8-year-old golden retriever, to the vet, claiming she found the dog on the beach. The dog had a massive tumor on his right side, weighing 42 pounds.
Local animal-control officers looked into Haughton’s story and, according to investigators, it didn’t add up.
It appears Henry was her dog and she had taken him to a vet, was aware of his health issues but neglected to help him.
“When we adopt a pet into our home, it becomes more than a pet, it becomes the center of our family,” Deputy Dist. Atty. Jennifer Malone said at the press conference. “We need to keep in mind we have certain responsibilities to care for our pet. At no point should a dog be suffering like that.”
Prosecutors also pointed out there were a number of local services for owners who can’t afford medical bills, including bringing their animal to a shelter or applying for assistance with animal-welfare organizations.
Veterinarians were able to remove the malignant tumor and Henry is currently in a foster home where he is recovering and receiving treatment to keep his cancer from coming back.
He did make an appearance at the court house for the conference, wearing a black bandanna that said “ho, ho, ho.”
“Henry is doing great,”Jennifer Manzella, the spokesperson for the Newport Beach Police Department, told This Dog’s Life. “He’s a happy guy, playful and affectionate. Now that he can get around without the tumor impeding him, he’s also a lot more energetic.”
If found guilty, Haughton could face up to two years in jail.