Dog owner charged in deaths
Workers found the decomposing bodies of two dogs in locked cages.
By ROBIN STEIN
Published February 4, 2007
LARGO - A 22-year-old woman whose two dogs died of starvation after being locked in a cage for several weeks with no food or water is facing criminal charges, the Pinellas County Sheriff department said.
Andrea Stout, 22, was arrested on charges of animal cruelty Wednesday morning at her mother's house in Largo, a day after deputies had been called to the horrid scene at her apartment.
A pair of workers at the BeachWay Condominiums in Seminole said they had gone into unit 1207 only planning to change the air filter and do routine maintenance. Instead, they called authorities after finding a locked cage filled with feces, urine and the decomposing bodies of two dogs, sheriff's spokesman Jim Bordner, said.
There was some food piled a few inches from the cage, but it was out of reach for Dior, a 10-month-old Maltese, and Dolche, a 1-year-old Maltipoo, who had been locked inside with no water or food, Bordner said.
An investigator from the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, who was called to the scene, estimated that the dogs starved to death three to four weeks earlier.
The scene was so gruesome, Bordner said, that it was only when a forensics team examined the remains that they realized it was not one dog, but two.
When Stout was taken into custody the next morning, authorities said she "knew the dogs had died," because they were already dead Jan. 1, the last time she had been at her apartment.
According to the deputy's report, Stout said she had spent the rest of the month at her mother's house and told her family she had given the dogs away.
Bordner said investigators found several fliers inside the apartment that had been left outside on the doorsteps in January by the condominium's management company, suggesting that someone had been in the apartment at some point.
"She said she had so much going on that she forgot about the dogs," Bordner said.
Stout was booked on two counts of animal cruelty at Pinellas County jail just before 11 a.m. Wednesday morning, and released at 6:40 p.m. on a $20,000 bond. She could not be reached Thursday afternoon for comment.
[Last modified February 3, 2007, 21:08:51]
[an error occurred while processing this directive]