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Dog with cancer suffered for years from neglect

Ronald Rhinesmith is charged with animal cruelty for neglecting his cancer-ridden dog.
Charlotte County Animal Control / Facebook

A Punta Gorda man has been charged with two counts of animal cruelty after his dog was discovered suffering from extreme illness and neglect, according to NBC2 and Charlotte Count Animal Control's Facebook page.

Ronald Rhinesmith, 46, was released on bond after answering to one charge of animal neglect causing cruel death with pain and suffering and animal abandonment.

Cricket, Rhinesmith's female dog, was seen out loose and a witness immediately called Punta Gorda Police because of the dog's horrific condition. The dog was in rough shape. She was emaciated and had a large mass that caused her eye to be closed and her face to be deformed. Cricket had pus oozing from her ears, eyes and mouth and was infested with fleas and a skin infection. She had trouble walking.

When the police arrived at Rhinesmith's home, the smell of infection just about knocked them over. Cricket was taken to the local veterinarian where the vet stated she was in excruciating pain and had been suffering from cancer for years. She was diagnosed with oral neoplasia and was humanely euthanized.

Rhinesmith claimed he was trying to get the money to have the dog euthanized.

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