A city woman has been arrested for letting her puppy languish 11 days with a broken leg before finally surrendering it for care, authorities said.
Elizabeth Moshier, 25, of 1339 Fourth Ave., was charged by the Schenectady County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals on Tuesday evening with a misdemeanor animal cruelty count and released.
She is accused of failing to follow up after taking the dog to be evaluated. It wasn’t until Aqueduct Animal Hospital followed up later that the dog was surrendered and received the care it needed.
Veterinarian Matthew Pike, who first saw the dog Oct. 22, said Moshier left after hearing the cost, saying she would speak with her mother about raising the funds.
In the meantime, Pike donated pain medication for the puppy, who had apparently never seen a veterinarian. The clinic also had never seen Moshier before.
The clinic never heard back. A follow-up call a week later revealed that Moshier had never followed through with any other clinic, Pike said.
“Everyone who was with that dog for two weeks let it walk around the house with an obvious broken leg and did nothing about it,” Pike said.
The clinic called the SPCA, touching off an investigation and leading to the arrest.
The SPCA on Wednesday was using the case to get the word out about programs available for families who may not be able to afford care for animals.
The organization has links on its Web site, SchenectadySPCA.org. They can also give advice over the phone at 755-9517.
Exactly how the injury occurred is not clear; however, the charge refers only to neglecting to get the puppy adequate veterinary care, not causing the injury.
Moshier surrendered the dog to the clinic Nov. 2, and the puppy has since gotten the operation it needed, including two pins to set the leg.
The 6-month-old pit bull has now been named Gracie, and she is doing well, Pike said. She also has a new owner and home, Pike said — a friend of the clinic has taken ownership.
“She has a wonderful temperament,” Pike said. “She’s just a happy, happy puppy.”
SPCA spokesman David Dean said Wednesday the issue of pet care has become all the more problematic since the recession began.
Pet owners, he said, should plan ahead for large unexpected pet bills by becoming aware of grant or payment programs or even insurance policies.
“[Moshier] did a lot of things right,” Dean said. “She went to the vet and sought out treatment. ... We believe that where the problem occurred was when she stopped doing anything. If the vet had not called her to find out if the animal had been treated, the puppy wouldn’t have gotten help.”
Locally, the Animal Protective Foundation, which runs a shelter on Maple Avenue in Glenville, saw 410 pets surrendered by their owners in October, spokeswoman Marguerite Pearson said Wednesday.
That number, however, is in line with monthly totals over the past three years, she said. Adoptions have been sluggish of late, but the year on a whole has been on par with previous years. The foundation also offers a low-cost spay and neutering program that Pearson said may be keeping the number of surrenders down as well.
The shelter also offers advice through its Web site, AnimalProtective.org, or by phone at 374-3944.
Unexpected medical bills can be a reality for pet owners, Pearson noted, something that must be figured in when considering getting a pet.
“The bottom line is, a pet is a responsibility,” she said.