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Syracuse judge sets deadline for plea for woman who chained dog in attic to die

Coco was euthanized in February after attacking a worker.
Coco was euthanized in February after attacking a worker.

Melani Freeman, 40, was ordered by a judge on Monday morning to either plead guilty to a charge of animal cruelty or go to trial dating back to the widely publicized October case of Freeman allegedly chaining and abandoning a five-year-old dog to a pipe in the attic of a home on Genesee Street with no food or water reported

City Court Judge Theodore Limpert promised Freeman no jail time and she would be placed on probation for the misdemeanor, however the woman's attorney stated Freeman would most likely lose her job as a health aide if she pleads guilty.

If Freeman does not plead guilty on her next court date on March 31, a jury trial will be scheduled. Freeman faces a maximum of a year in prison. She has been charged with misdemeanor animal cruelty, improper confinement of a dog, failure to provide sustenance, and failure to provide medical help.

On October 11, Freeman moved out of her home and left the pit bull and boxer mix tethered by a short leash to a pipe in the attic. One week later, the landlord found the dog and called authorities. The dog had been living in feces and urine and, according to the City of New York Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (CNY SPCA), the dog was at least 25 pounds underweight.

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The dog named Coco was slowly brought back to health. As opposed to what Freeman stated that someone was supposed to have been caring for the dog, and that the dog had been ill, Coco slowly recovered.

Sadly, there has not been a happily ever after future for Coco. According to Paul Morgan, the executive director for the SPCA, Coco was humanely euthanized in February after she attacked a worker during a walk. Morgan stated Coco was too much of a liability to be made available for adoption.

Rest in peace Coco.

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