VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — A Virginia Beach woman was charged with animal cruelty after a dead dog was found in an apartment Sunday morning, police say.
“The conditions were very concerning and raised concerns to the point of view it was a willful death or natural causes,” said Meghan Conti with Virginia Beach Animal Control.
Virginia Beach Animal Control says someone called 911 around 11:30 a.m. about a dead dog in an apartment on Colonial Arms Circle.
Police say the dog appeared to be emaciated and was found dead in a kennel inside the apartment.
“You look at a normal, healthy looking dog and you look at a dog that is not in a healthy condition and that’s what started to raise concerns for the officers,” Conti added.
The dog was taken to Virginia Beach Animal Control for a necropsy to determine the cause of death.
The owner, 21-year-old Hannah Leannpaige Davis, has been charged with felony animal cruelty. She has been released on bond.
Davis says the dog died unexpectedly due to a medical condition she was unaware of and she is heartbroken over the loss. She believes she was wrongly charged by police.
“I think there is more than she is stating,” Conti said.
Davis says the mixed breed dog was four-years-old and she had Dakota since she the dog was a puppy. She told 10 On Your Side’s Jason Marks she was surprised at the charge and doesn’t want to be painted as a dog killer. Officers say it could have been avoided.
“It is always concerning because owners always have an option,” Conti said. “If you can’t care for your animal anymore, signing your animal over is always an option. We are an open admission shelter, which means that you can bring your animal here and you are not charged anything to release your animal to animal control.”
10 On Your side has learned Animal Control has been to Davis’ apartment before. Officers were there two weeks ago on another cruelty investigation. In that case, Davis wasn’t charged, but sources tell WAVY News that she did sign over a dog to Animal Control.
Davis will be in court Thursday for an arraignment.
Stay with WAVY for updates to this developing story.