MANSFIELD -- A 25-year-old Mansfield woman has been charged with animal cruelty after allegedly leaving a puppy overnight Jan. 27 at an outside kennel at the Richland County Dog Shelter.
Jamila Cobb, of 137 Blymyer Ave., was served a summons on Monday by the Richland County Sheriff's Department and will appear in Mansfield Municipal Court on Feb. 11 on the first-degree misdemeanor.
The 4-month-old black lab-mix puppy was left at the 810 N. Home Road facility just after 5 p.m., about 30 minutes after the shelter closed. It remained in the kennel until the next morning with no food or water as temperatures fell to 18 degrees overnight and winds reached up to 15 mph.
Video cameras at the shelter recorded the event, which was reported to the RCSO on Jan. 28 by Deputy Dog Warden Missy Houghton. That footage allowed Cobb to be identified.
Cobb reportedly told deputies she understood she had made a mistake. According to the sheriff's department report, Cobb said the puppy was in an apartment she was trying to move into and take over the rent for a friend who had recently gone to jail.
"She stated that she is scared of dogs and she did not have the means to take care of the animal so she took it to the Dog Warden's office," the sheriff's report said.
According to state law, no person shall, "impound or confine an animal without affording it, during such confinement, access to shelter from wind, rain, snow, or excessive direct sunlight if it can reasonably be expected that the animals would otherwise become sick or in some other way suffer."
Houghton said last week, "While we understand that when someone finds a stray, they can't always keep it or some people would prefer to dump their dogs here when we aren't open, we ask that people kindly use some discretion, common sense and decency.
"Our outdoor kennels are not designed to provide much shelter from the elements and we are lucky this puppy was not suffering any negative effects from the weather when we found him and brought him in," Houghton said.
Houghton said the outdoor kennels are not "entirely weatherproof."
"They have a make-shift roof, but they are open on the bottom and wind gets in. And they are not entirely enclosed," Houghton said.
She said a volunteer recently suggested they could add dog houses inside the kennels.