Local contests charges on death of dog | VailDaily.com

Local contests charges on death of dog

Veronica Whitney
Preston Utley/Vail DailyMariana Mastandrea and daughter Milly. Mariana has been cited by Minturn Police for animal cruelty and neglect.

MINTURN- Though she just came back from her spring break, 10-year-old Milagros Mastandrea said she is depressed. In February, she lost her puppy during a surgery. Then, police interviewed her about the dog’s death and her mother was cited to appear in court for animal cruelty. Two weeks after her 4-month old Walker hound, Winter, died during surgery for a broken leg, Minturn Police Officer Marsha Rich summoned Mariana Mastandrea, Milagros’ mother, to appear in court on April 13.”I thought it was April’s fools day and (Rich) was joking me,” said Mastandrea, 43, of the day Rich brought the summons to her house. “I’m afraid that after this ridiculous summons, the Humane Society might not let Milagros have another dog,” Mastandrea added.’Someone hurt the dog’Sheila Fitzpatrick, the veterinarian who treated the dog, said she has no doubt Mastandrea didn’t hurt the puppy, but she said she believes somebody did.”We found in the autopsy severe trauma to the chest wall, and this was the cause the dog couldn’t take the anesthesia,” Fitzpatrick said. “Somebody had to kick the dog very hard. And the surgeon said the injury to the elbow was not the typical one when a car has hit a dog. It could have taken like a baseball bat blow to inflict that injury.”Mastandrea said her dog sustained a fracture in its front leg and that it needed a surgery, which was scheduled for Feb. 22. After running several tests on the dog, Fitzpatrick decided to do the surgery. A while later, they called Mastandrea and said the dog had died as soon as they applied the anesthesia due to a heart problem. “(The police) is trying to point the finger to someone to blame somebody because they seem to be bored in that little town,” Mastandrea said. “I have never even had a ticket in my life.”Officer Rich said her concern is that the person who hurt the dog is at large. She also said the summons is fair.”The summons was issued because she didn’t take care of the dog in a prompt manner,” said Rich, who found out about the dog through an anonymous tip. “I was asked to go by her house because they knew the dog was injured, and that the owner of the dog wasn’t doing anything about it.”Rich said she charged Mastandrea because she didn’t take the dog to the veterinarian after she sustained an injury to its paw weeks before the broken leg happened. “I still think someone hurt the dog,” Rich said. “But (Mastandrea) should have taken the dog to the vet after the first injury.”Mastandrea said she didn’t realize the dog was limping the first time because it had limped occasionally since she brought her home.Case concernsMore than anything, Mastandrea said she’s concerned about the way police dealt with the case.”The police seems to be too idle and use taxpayers’ money to persecute innocent people,” she said. “I’m concerned with the lack of common sense and psychology knowledge of Marsha (Rich) interviewing my 10-year-old daughter just three days after her puppy died and making her feel as if we were guilty of our puppy’s injury.” Rich said she interviewed Mastandrea’s daughter with her permission.”I talked to anyone who had known that dog and seen that dog,” Rich said. “I interviewed everybody to put the best case that I can build. My concern is that this dog died as a result of neglect.”Char Quinn, director of the Humane Society in Eagle County,did some work on the case. She said she believes Rich did a good job. “Under Colorado law, it is logic what Marsha (Rich) did,” she said. “I also don’t believe Mariana (Mastandrea) hurt the dog. Marsha is still investigating. It’s unfortunate we can’t figure out who hurt the dog. Somebody who does this kind of thing continues to do them. People who abuse animals are more than likely to abuse spouses and children as well.”Those with any information on the incident can call Char Quinn at 328-PETS.Vail, Colorado

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