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Woman accused of starving dog is let off by court of appeals

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According to Thursday's publication of the Oregonian, a 28-year-old woman from the Portland area will face no repercussions for starving her dog, thanks to the Oregon Court of Appeals.

In 2011, Amanda L. Newcomb was convicted of animal neglect and then sentenced to a year of probation and prohibited from owning animals for five years. This week, thanks to a decision reached by three judges, that conviction and sentence was tossed aside.

On Wednesday, Judges Timothy Sercombe, Darleen Ortega and Erika Hadlock determined that Newcomb's dog, who had been described as "emaciated," was simply property; an animal-cruelty investigator with the Oregon Humane Society, following up on a tip, had seized the starved dog without a warrant from the authorities, and because the judges classified the pet as "property," the seizure of the dog, without a warrant, violated Newcomb's rights.

The investigator who took the dog from Newcomb's property in late 2010 turned the dog over to the shelter's veterinarian, who ran tests and concluded that the dog had been purposefully deprived of food. The dog was provided with food at the shelter and quickly began to put on weight.

This week's ruling will likely make the investigation and prosecution of animal cruelty cases more difficult going forward.

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