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Humane Rescue Alliance

SE DC Woman Arrested for Cruelty to Animals Following Death of Chihuahua

Renee Short of Washington, DC, was arrested today by the Metropolitan Police Department and charged with one count of cruelty to animals following an investigation by Humane Rescue Alliance (HRA) humane law enforcement officers.

After responding to a call on June 1, 2018 in which the caller asked about a potential pickup of a deceased dog, HRA Humane Law Enforcement Officer Moyer found a deceased female Chihuahua-type dog in a plastic trash bag on a curb in SE DC. The caller stated that Short, the owner of the dog, had been told that the dog was sick and should be taken to a veterinarian. Short then went out of town. When the caller checked on the dog, they discovered that the dog was deceased.

When Officer Moyer arrived and found the bag containing the deceased animal, he opened the bag to discover a small dog in extremely emaciated condition, with ribs, hips and backbone easily visible, along with the strong odor of urine. The dog’s teeth appeared to have a large buildup of plaque.

On June 7, the dog was examined by a veterinary forensic pathologist, who confirmed that the dog was severely emaciated with minimal fat tissue as well as mild to moderate muscle wasting. The dog weighed 5.3 lbs. A bone marrow fat analysis was performed and revealed 36.4 percent bone marrow fat; lower than the normal average of 59.4 percent in dogs, confirming the chronicity of the emaciation. A foreign body was also found in the dog’s gastro intestinal tract, but no evidence of an obstruction. The pathologist reported that the ingestion of foreign material is commonly observed in dogs suffering from starvation.

On June 15, 2018, HRA HLE Officer Russell returned to the address and met with Short. Short stated that the dog had refused to eat for approximately one week, but continued to drink water prior to being found deceased. Officer Russell asked if the dog had been taken to a veterinarian when Short noticed the dog was ill.  She stated that she did not take the dog, but did call Animal Clinic of Anacostia and they recommended keeping the dog hydrated. 

 On June 20, 2018, Officer Russell went to Animal Clinic of Anacostia and spoke with the receptionist who was able to locate medical records for the dog. The last recorded weight for the dog was 8.8 lbs. on September 1, 2017, an ideal weight for the dog. When asked about phone conversations with Short, the receptionist advised that they do not make record of phone conversations, but if a client calls and explains that their animal is ill, they are trained to recommend that the client come in for an exam. The receptionist further stated that it is illegal for them to give medical advice over the phone. 

The dog’s weight at death was a 39.77% decrease from the healthy weight recorded in September, 2017.

Based on this information, an arrest warrant was issued for Renee Short, for animal cruelty related to one adult female Chihuahua type dog. Short was arrested after turning herself in to Metropolitan Police. Following the arrest, Short was arraigned, given a status hearing date and released. She was also given an order to stay away from animals.