Minnesota woman accused of throwing puppies in trash - My29 WFTC Minneapolis-St. Paul

Minnesota woman accused of throwing puppies in trash

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ST. PAUL, Minn. (KMSP) -

A St. Paul woman is facing a single charge of animal cruelty after two malnourished puppies were found in a Dumpster behind the Scenic Hills Animal Hospital, one of which was dead and had several injuries.

The manager of the clinic found the two puppies on the morning of May 7 while taking out the recycling. Criminal charges state that one was obviously dead when found, and there was blood in the bottom of the Dumpster. A second puppy was laying quietly next to the dead one.

When St. Paul police arrived to take a report, the manager told them the puppies had not been there when she closed the lid the night before at 6 p.m. Meanwhile, staff retrieved both puppies and began to care for the live one, which was moderately underweight. The University of Minnesota Veterinary Diagnostics Laboratory then conducted a necropsy on the dead dog.

Charging documents state that veterinarians determined the dead puppy was significantly emaciated, and part of its tongue appeared to have been eaten away by rodents. Although no official cause of death could be determined, examiners noticed several healing fractures, including 6 ribs -- four on the right and two on the left.

Investigators asked the management of the Creek Point Apartments, located up Burns Avenue, if they were aware of any recent animal complaints and learned that a month earlier, one tenant had complained that another resident was beating two puppies. The complaint named 47-year-old Anna Bertha Robole as the abuser, and apartment staff confirmed that she violated her rental agreement by keeping two dogs in her apartment.

Police interviewed the tenant who made the complaint and learned Robole brought home two 10-week-old German Shepherd/Huskie mix puppies one day, and she witnessed Robole kick one of the dogs and lift it off the ground by its collar, choking it. The tenant said she also saw Robole kick the dogs to get them in and out of her first-floor patio door, and that the lighter-colored dog bore the brunt of the abuse.

The tenant told police she saw the puppy that later died limping and favoring one of its rear legs for about a week, but when she approached Robole to say she had skill with dogs, Robole stopped speaking with her until May 7. At that point, Robole allegedly informed her that she was upset with management and would move out that weekend. When showed a photo of the puppies, the tenant confirmed they were Robole's.

Another witness to the alleged abuse came forward after an article ran in the paper -- a man who said he saw Robole kick the dogs in their heads, legs and hips while visiting his father at the complex. He also claimed to have seen one of the dogs with tape around its mouth, and his father had seen both dogs with bound mouths. When he asked Robole about it, she allegedly told him the tape was to keep the dogs from chewing and wrecking the carpet. He said that he saw Robole with both animals on the afternoon of May 6.

Management sent Robole a violation notice and told her she must pay $250 for having unauthorized pets and pay $35 a month for each animal until she provided them written notice that the dogs were no longer in her apartment. When officers searched that apartment, they found an area of carpet that appeared to have been damaged recently, a roll of duct tape, and a hand-written note with the Humane Society's phone number and hours.

Robole voluntarily came to the St. Paul Police Department for an interview on June 10, and she told officers she wanted to take care of the issue because her name was all over Facebook. When she was shown a photo, she confirmed that it showed the two dogs she put in the recycling bin. She also admitted that she should not have placed them there, but insisted that both were alive when she left them and had hoped they would get veterinary care.

When the officer informed her of the fractures discovered on the dead dog, Robole denied she would be that cruel and later claimed that her son's dog had bit or tugged on the puppy. When asked why he was underfed, Robole responded to say she fed the dogs Alpo three times a day and claimed they did not put on weight. She also admitted that she could not afford to care for the dogs; however, she said the Humane Society would not take them without their vaccinations as neither had ever received veterinary care.

Robole is now facing one count of animal cruelty, which carries a maximum sentence of 2 years imprisonment, a $5,000 fine, or both.

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