Woman accused of letting dogs die

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JONESBORO, Ark. – A warrant sent authorities to a home in Sage Meadows to retrieve several starving dogs but not before two died.

The reports begin just before 11 a.m. Tuesday morning, with events transpiring at the 4200-block of Sage Meadows Boulevard – the home of Tonja L. McDaniel, 46. Officers were dispatched and received no answer at the door. They were then led to the backyard by a witness, where they discovered a horrific sight to even the most cold hearted, the report details.

A small dog was lying motionless on the ground with the dog struggling to breathe. It did not respond to the officers touch. It was also very emaciated – starved and malnourished. The officer retrieved the dog and took it to his vehicle to take to a veterinarian. While transporting the dog, it stopped breathing in the officer’s patrol unit. The dog died.

Several other dogs were found at the scene, including another emaciated small white dog.

Later that day, police returned to the home to try to make contact with McDaniel but she would not come to the door. Officers noted in the report seeing her in the kitchen area of the residence, visible from the front door, displaying “hand/finger gestures.” A small dog, inside of the residence with McDaniel, was also observed and believed to be emaciated.

Wednesday, authorities returned with a search warrant. With animal control present, police once again could not get McDaniel to come to the front door. She was detained at the back door of the residence and placed in handcuffs.

Animal control searched the residence once it was secured and discovered three malnourished dogs along with another dog which was lying dead in a box.

McDaniel told an animal control officer she, and the dogs, had a “stomach virus.”

McDaniel was arrested for animal cruelty from the previous day along with four other animal cruelty charges for the dogs in the residence. Her court date is set for Nov. 21 at 1 p.m.

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