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Punta Gorda man charged with heinous animal cruelty for neglect of dog

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Charlotte County Animal Control is calling Ronald Rhinesmith's dog one of the worst cases of animal cruelty and neglect they have ever seen; or at least the terrible condition of the dog falls into the top five categories reported Fort Meyers' nbcnews.com.

"...It's very evident that there is something very wrong with this dog" ... adding that "the photos will make you cringe," stated Animal Control officers.

The Punta Gorda Police Department were notified by a concerned neighbor last week about a very sick dog named "Cricket" roaming loose in the neighborhood. Authorities soon found the dog at Rhinesmith's home at 2404 Jerry Ave. What they found was shocking and heartbreaking. Cricket was emaciated and had a large mass on her face which had caused her eye to shut and her face to become deformed.

Experts say Cricket's condition was so severe that on a pain scale of "1" to "4" with "4" being the worse, that the dog's pain was rated as a "4" for an extended period of time. When asked why Rhinesmith didn't take Cricket to the veterinarian to be humanely euthanized, Rhinesmith stated he didn't have the money.

According to nbc2.com, Animal Control Officer, Reannon Juergensen stated:

"There's other options, there's other avenues that you can take out there, that way your animal doesn't have to suffer, he opted not to do any of them and just left her there."

Besides having cancer, Cricket was emaciated and infested with fleas. Cricket was diagnosed with aggressive oral neoplasia which are large proliferating masses with teeth inside the masses. Tragically, Cricket's condition is beyond help, and the dog was humanely euthanized to stop her pain.

Rest in peace Cricket.

Rhinesmith was charged with "Causing Cruel Death Pain Suffering of Animals and Abandonment of Animals" after the investigation concluded that his negligence caused Cricket to suffer. He has since bonded out of jail.

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