Watertown Police last week charged a resident of the city, Rita A. Thomas, 42, of 613 Bronson Street with animal cruelty. According to a startlingly brief note found in the law enforcement daily blotter report the woman was issued an appearance ticket at her residence on Friday, September 13.
The police report states Ms. Thomas has been charged with "intentionally over-driving and overloading her pit bull dog by allowing her dog to suffer through a complicated pregnancy for four days in which the dog was delivering stillborn puppies. The defendant did not seek veterinary care for the dog during this period of time allowing her dog to expire," at around 3 o'clock in the afternoon on Monday, September 9. She will answer the charge on September 25 in Watertown City Court.
It is not clear who found the dog or who called the police. The report as seen on local news source "Newzjunky" and in the Watertown Daily Times, is simply a copy of the blotter note with no further investigation or added details and easily missed by the casual reader. However, upon further investigation more information was located on the Facebook page of a fairly new, local animal rescue group.
"Ninja's Against Animal Cruelty" or NAAC, is a grass-roots organization comprised of three friends who rescue and locate homes for displaced animals, find foster care for animals in need, and assist the community in combating an increasing number of animal cruelty cases in the area.
In an interview today, NAAC members told this writer their hope is to network with local animal agencies, providing assistance and complimentary services where they are needed. Although the group is still in the developmental stage, its founders have already rescued a number of animals and are rapidly gaining momentum in the form of a growing number of supporters within the community. Clearly there is a need for the interventions they provide, and then some.
A member of the rescue says she is familiar with the situation in the case of the Pit Bull mother dog, known as "Zelda," and resides in the same neighborhood where the alleged episode of cruelty took place. She posted on the group's Facebook page about what she observed, including her encounter with the Jefferson County animal control officer who responded to the scene and found the deceased dog in the front yard of the home at 613 Bronson Street, a stillborn puppy still attached to her body. There are also allegedly other animals involved in this case, however details are still being pursued at this time. An update will be forthcoming as soon as possible.
The picture of "Zelda" used in this article was taken by a member of the rescue group while the Jefferson County animal control officer was present.
Meanwhile, NAAC and supporters are vowing to appear in city court on September 25 when Rita A. Thomas answers the charges, to encourage justice be served in the memory of Zelda, aka "Justice."
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