The Okaloosa County Sheriff's Office has charged a Fort Walton Beach woman with animal cruelty after an extremely neglected dog was found at her Cloverdale Boulevard home. A PAWS animal control officer found the small dog suffering from hypothermia, anemia, and malnutrition - and near death on November 30, 2011.
The dog, named "Lagniappe" was seized due to her critical state. Dog owner 48-year old Ynid Marie Fitzwilliams said she was not aware the dog, which was about half its normal weight, was sick and she denied ownership, saying Lagniappe belonged to a male acquaintance. However, Fitzwilliams refused to provide a name or contact information. Court documents later confirmed she had owned the dog for years.
An Ex Parte Petition for Animal Cruelty Hearing took place January 10th, 2012 to determine if Fitzwilliams was fit to have custody of the animal. The defendant did not show up for the hearing. A warrant was issued for Animal Cruelty and the Sheriff's Office arrested Fitzwilliams on February 14th.
Deputy Laura Yanna says the dog, which ate ravenously after being taken in by PAWS, has since gained more than six pounds and her health has improved dramatically with good nutrition and veterinary care.
Information provided by the Okaloosa County Sheriff's Office