A Fort Wayne man accused of allowing his family’s basset hound to starve to death in February has been charged with animal cruelty.
Justin A. Bauer, 31, carried his dog, Miles, in a box to Fort Wayne Animal Care & Control on Feb. 14 and told employees that he had died overnight, according to a probable cause affidavit.
The dog was taken out of the box and examined by an animal care specialist who immediately noticed the dog had staples in his scrotal area where he had been neutered two years before, according to the affidavit.
The following day, an animal control officer went to Bauer’s home to speak with him about the dog’s death. Bauer said Miles was both an indoor and outdoor dog but spent most of his time in a recliner in the garage.
Bauer said he had noticed Miles had stopped eating a few days before and was planning to take the dog to a veterinarian, but he died before he could do so, court documents said.
The officer asked that Bauer and his wife be further interviewed at Animal Care & Control.
Bauer’s wife told the officer that Miles had been purchased about four years ago from a breeder in North Manchester and was neutered in July 2011. She said she did not recall the clinic telling her to bring the dog back two weeks later to have the staples removed, and thus, they had not been removed, court records said.
The woman said her husband and four children were responsible for feeding the dog. Justin Bauer said Miles had recently stopped eating but would not have gone without food for more than two or three days at a time, the affidavit said.
On March 11, a necropsy concluded that the dog had died of starvation and had been in a severe state of dehydration before his death.
The necropsy report said the dog’s small and large intestines were empty, his ribs and vertebrae were easily visible and there was generalized muscle loss in his head area, according to the affidavit.
A warrant was issued Tuesday for Justin Bauer’s arrest on a misdemeanor charge of animal cruelty. His wife had not been charged as of Wednesday afternoon.
Attempts to contact Bauer were unsuccessful Wednesday.
With several organizations in the community dedicated to assisting pet owners who are struggling to afford their pets, it’s difficult to understand how animal neglect continues to be an issue, said Peggy Bender, community relations and education specialist at Fort Wayne Animal Care & Control.
If they are in need of assistance, pet owners can also contact Animal Care & Control, local veterinarians or other organizations – such as the Fort Wayne Pet Food Pantry – that assist with referrals to help find food for pets, Bender said.