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Woman faces animal cruelty charge


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A dog locked in a room in a mobile home without food for at least three days was rescued, and its owner was arrested, police said.

Cara M. Baez, 28, was taken into custody on a charge of cruelty to animals, a Class A misdemeanor.

Relatives of Baez, who owns the mobile home in the 2800 block of Lamplight Lane, notified Columbus Animal Care Services on Friday about the 2-year-old masti-bull, a hybrid of a bulldog and a mastiff, police spokesman Lt. Matt Myers said.

Before receiving calls from the family, Candlelight Village residents also contacted animal control officers. But when they went to the home, there didn’t seem to be any living thing in the mobile home, Myers said.

About 10 a.m. Friday, animal control and police officers were waiting at the home for a search warrant so they could enter to see if a dog was inside. The owner then drove up and invited the officers inside to check on the dog, Myers said.

Upon entering, the officers immediately noticed the trailer had no electricity and found the dog locked in a back room.

“The canine was extremely thin, the floors were covered with feces, and no water or food was provided,” Myers said. “It looked like the dog, which was sick and weak, had tried to chew his way outside of that room.”

An investigation indicated there had been no heat to the trailer for at least three days, and the owner had been living recently in Anderson, Myers said.

The outdoor temperature at the time the dog was found was about 3 degrees.

While Baez claimed three other occupants had agreed to care for the canine, she told officers those occupants had moved out earlier in the week, Myers said.

She told police the dog was in bad health during her last visit five days earlier but said she didn’t have a way to get the dog to the vet, Myers said.

He noted that if the woman had transportation to shuttle between Anderson and Columbus that Monday, she also had a way to seek medical care for her pet.

As she was taken into custody, Baez repeatedly told the officers she couldn’t believe she was being arrested, Myers said.

The dog was taken to C.A.R.E. Inc. animal shelter in Columbus for treatment, according to police.

“I don’t know if the dog is going to make it,” Myers said. “Now, if a pet owner cannot provide essentials, there are animal shelters and other places who will care for your pet. You don’t just leave a dog in a trailer without food, water or heat in these frigid cold conditions.”

Shortly after her booking, Baez was released from the Bartholomew County Jail on a $5,000 surety bond, jail officials said.

Criminal charges, if any, will be determined by the office of Bartholomew County Prosecutor Bill Nash.

If convicted, Baez could face a year in prison and a fine of up to $5,000.

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