Officers from the Delaware Division of Public Health (DPH) Office of Animal Welfare (OAW) arrested a Milford woman on Tuesday, July 23, 2019, following the death of a dog that was tethered outside of a home during dangerously hot temperatures, according to officials. The dog’s owner, 36-year-old Kimberly Sterling, was charged with one count each of cruelty to animals, failure to vaccinate for rabies and failure to obtain a dog license.
The OAW Delaware Animal Services (DAS) unit, which enforces statewide animal control and cruelty laws, responded to a report of a dog tethered outside in the heat on Thursday, July 18, 2019. Upon arrival, officers found a dog tethered outside as described. The dog was tangled in the tether, had visible injuries, and appeared to be suffering from heatstroke, officials said. Officers were unable to make contact with anyone in the home.
Because the dog was in imminent danger, the officers cut the tether and rushed the dog to medical treatment. The dog died while en route. At that time, two other DAS officers had arrived at the residence where the dog resided and was able to make contact with the owner. During their investigation, officers learned the dog had been tethered outside for several hours, according to officials. In addition, there was no evidence of shelter, shade, or water present for the dog. While on the property, officers also observed a second dog inside the residence, which was removed for medical evaluation and is being held pending the outcome of the cruelty case.
Sterling was also arraigned on Tuesday, July 23, 2019, and released on her own recognizance pending a court hearing.