LIMA — A Spencerville woman who allowed a dog in her care to starve to death was sentenced Monday to 25 days in jail and two years on probation.
Cassandra Smith, 54, of Spencerville, told Allen County Common Pleas Court Judge Jeffrey Reed she believed the dog — named Sidney but later referred to as “Daisy May” in court documents — was losing weight because she was suffering from a case of worms.
Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Rebecca King-Newman said that according to veterinarians, the dog likely had not been fed for nearly three months prior to its death.
Smith entered a plea of no contest Oct. 26 to a fifth-degree felony charge of cruelty to a companion animal. With that plea, Smith did not admit guilt in the incident but did acknowledge the truthfulness of the facts as outlined in the indictment returned by a grand jury against her.
In court Monday, Smith told the judge she was caring for Sidney at the request of a friend who ultimately died.
“I’m sorry this happened. I wish I would have had the money to take care of her and take her to the vet,” Smith said.
Prior to handing down a sentence, Reed noted he had received numerous letters from “concerned people” surrounding the case.
“I don’t get this many letters in some cases involving the death of a human being,” the judge said.
King-Newman said the state’s position was that Smith should serve some term of incarceration, and Reed complied with that request. He said a prison sentence was not an option under Ohio law but did remand Smith to serve 25 days in the county jail. Her attorney, Chima Ekeh, asked that the sentence be suspended in light of his client’s “significant health issues” and due to the recent acknowledgment that positive tests for coronavirus had been present in the jail.
Reed checked with jail officials and determined Smith could be safely housed for the duration of her sentence. Upon her release, she will be required to perform 40 hours of community service as part of her probation.
On July 3, Allen County Chief Humane Agent Nick Marando removed a female black Labrador from Smith’s home and transported the dog to Kessen Veterinary Clinic in Delphos. The dog weighed only 33 pounds when she should have weighed more than 60.
“She was so dehydrated that the veterinarian could not draw blood from her veins,” Marando said in a statement provided by the SPCA.
Given the name of Daisy Mae by shelter staff, the dog initially started to gain weight but in the early morning hours of July 12 lost the battle and had to be euthanized.
The Ohio SPCA on its Facebook page stated that Allen County Prosecuting Attorney Juergen Waldick “is on our side and is taking this case very seriously. … The wheels of justice are beginning to move.”