Brookville Man Faces Felony Count of Animal Cruelty for Allegedly Starving Dog

ROSE TWP., Pa. (EYT) – A Brookville man is facing a felony charge of aggravated cruelty to animals for allegedly starving his dog.

According to court documents, Jefferson County Pa. Humane Control filed the following criminal charges against 44-year-old Russell Park, of Brookville, in Magisterial District Judge Gregory M. Bazylak’s office on Thursday, January 19:

– Aggravated Cruelty to Animals – Torture, Felony 3
– Neglect of Animals – Vet Care, Misdemeanor 3

According to a criminal complaint, Humane Society officers were contacted by the Jefferson County dog warden on January 10 concerning a stray emaciated dog.

The warden took the female boxer to the Animal Hospital of DuBois for emergency care. After receiving photographs of the dog and finding out the warden’s opinion on the physical condition of this dog, officers agreed to take this as a humane case, the complaint states.

The owner was identified by the warden as Russell Park, of Brookville, Jefferson County, the complaint notes.

Bella, the emaciated boxer, was released from the care of the Animal Hospital of DuBois on January 13, after spending three nights in their care. Blood work performed by a doctor did not show any medical reasons for Bella to be emaciated, the complaint indicates.

A doctor from the Animal Hospital, the dog warden, and the humane officer have all agreed that the dog’s body score was a 1. Bella’s ribs, spine, and hip bones are fully visible. She has hair loss on her rear back area due to severe flea bites. Bella is unstable when she walks due to no muscle in her hind end, according to the complaint.

A body score of 1 is classified as emaciated, a 0 is a deceased dog, the complaint notes.

According to the complaint, Park has “no explanation for Bella’s condition other than that she is 11 and was ill around Thanksgiving.”

Bella has no veterinarian history, no current shots, and was not seen by a veterinarian when she was ill at Thanksgiving, the complaint states.

Also living in Park’s home are three other dogs. One male boxer is 12 years old and is Bella’s brother. He is of normal weight for his age. A lab mix, 8 years old, is also of normal body weight. A two-year-old German Short Hair is thin, but is within its breed standard, the complaint indicates.

On January 17, Bella was seen by Dr. Rapp, of the Punxsutawney Animal Hospital. Dr. Rapp also body-scored Bella with a score of 1 and stated that her blood work was consistent with a starved dog, the complaint notes.

On January 18, a humane officer took Bella to the DuBois Animal Hospital for a recheck of her weight. Bella gained 11.6 pounds in six days, and her care has consisted of proper food given in small amounts and fresh water available at all times, the complaint states.

Park faces a preliminary hearing on March 9, at 9:30 a.m. with Judge Bazylak presiding. 

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