Trials & Litigation

Prosecuted for Dog's Death on Res Ipsa Theory, Woman Argues Lack of Necropsy Is a Case-Killer

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The owner of a Florida store selling healthy pet food for dogs and cats couldn’t have intended for her 5-year-old Akita to die one weekend in April 2009 when she left it alone at the shop for the weekend as she traveled with other canines.

But that’s what happened, and Carla Ann Thomas, 31, is now on trial in Pinellas County Court in a misdemeanor animal abandonment case, reports the St. Petersburg Times.

Thomas, who says she left the dog with plenty of water on Friday, regularly had it fast for one day a week due to a skin condition, so hence she didn’t leave any food. She planned to return on Sunday, but her landlord got there first and found the dog in the shop, dead.

A responding police officer concluded that the totality of the circumstances contributed to the dog’s demise, noting that the shop was hot. It appears from the article that the Akita may have overturned what the officer described as two small bowls of water, the newspaper recounts.

Assistant State Attorney Dana DiSano argued that Thomas, who maintains her innocence, did not make provisions for the dog’s care while she was gone over the weekend.

But Thomas, through her lawyer, Assistant Public Defender James Maskowitz, contends that the state can’t prove its case.

“No necropsy, no clue, not guilty,” Maskowitz said.

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