Owner facing arrest after dog found frozen to death, 3 others left out in extreme cold

INDIANAPOLIS -- An Indianapolis woman will face four counts of neglect of an animal after one of her dogs was found frozen to death and three others in dangerous conditions.

Indianapolis Animal Care Services was called to the 9100 block of Tansel Circle on New Year’s Day on a report of possible animal neglect.

The officer arrived to find a white/brindle pit bull mix wandering around inside an enclosed porch. According to the officer’s report, the dog did not have bedding and a bucket of water on the porch was frozen. The dog also appeared to have severe flea allergies. The temperature on Monday was 4 degrees, with a wind chill of -17 degrees, and there did not appear to be heat on the porch.

Behind the porch, the officer found a wooden dog house. Inside the house was the body of a large brown dog chained and frozen to the dog house.

The officer found two more dogs in the back yard – a female pit bull and a male brindle boxer mix. Neither dogs had bedding or flaps on their dog houses, and both were chained up.

Because of the temperature and the condition of the dogs, the officer began to load the remaining dogs into her van. While she was doing so, the dogs’ owners returned.

Rhonda Byrd, 52, told the officer that she had been sick, which was why the dogs were outside in extreme cold temperatures. She said they “rotate” the dogs being inside and outside. She also claimed not to know one of the dogs was dead.

The officer finished loading the dogs and cited Byrd for ordinance violations.

On Friday, Indianapolis Animal Care Services  said a summons was being issued for Byrd's arrest on four counts of abandonment/neglect of an animal, a Class “A” misdemeanor.

Class “A” misdemeanors carry a maximum penalty of up to 365 days in jail and a fine of up to $5,000.

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