NEW LEBANON — A dog froze to death after a Stephentown man allegedly left the animal in extreme cold temperatures and without food or water, officials said.
Andrew Tuthill, 33, was charged Tuesday with aggravated animal cruelty, a class E felony; abandonment of a disabled animal, a class A misdemeanor; and third-degree bail jumping, a class A misdemeanor, according to court documents. He was also ticketed for failure to provide shelter for dogs, a violation under the state Agriculture and Markets Law.
Tuthill’s dog, Scrappy, was found frozen to death in a metal crate with no food, water or heat in the backyard of a New Lebanon home, according to court documents. Tuthill is accused of abandoning Scrappy after moving to another residence in Stephentown, which led to the animal abandonment charge.
Tuthill was charged in New Lebanon on Nov. 29 with driving while intoxicated, an unclassified misdemeanor; but he did not show up for his scheduled court appearance, police said. A New York State Police trooper found Scrappy at 1:30 p.m. Tuesday while executing a bench warrant for Tuthill’s arrest for failing to appear in court.
Tuthill is facing another driving while intoxicated charge in Stephentown in Rensselaer County. He is held in Columbia County Jail on $10,000 cash bail.
The cause of the dog’s death was not determined as of Friday evening.
“A necropsy was requested on the dog and we’re awaiting those results,” Columbia County District Attorney Paul Czajka said Friday.
Scrappy was a small, shaggy-haired dog between 10 and 15 pounds, Czajka said, adding he did not know the pet’s breed or age.
Temperatures peaked Monday at 23 degrees Fahrenheit, said Ingrid Amberger, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Albany. The low was 6 degrees.
Temperatures reached 27 degrees and dipped to 5 degrees Tuesday, she said.
Below-freezing temperatures make humans and animals more susceptible to hypothermia and frostbite, Amberger said, adding a dog’s size and health are factors in how long they can survive outside.
“These are really cold temperatures,” Amberger said. “The wind we’ve been having makes it even colder. Add wind, and humans and animals become more susceptible to frostbite. We always recommend leaving pets inside.”
When temperatures drop below freezing, or 32 degrees, pets need to be brought inside the house to provide them with a safer environment, said Ron Perez, the president and CEO of the Columbia-Greene Humane Society.
The state does not have a law mandating pets be brought inside, but other laws require owners to provide proper shelter to their animals, Perez said.
The Columbia-Greene Humane Society handles several cases of pets left outside in the cold each year.
To report instances of animal abuse, call state police at 518-851-3111 or the Columbia County Sheriff’s Office at 518-828-3344.
To reach reporter Amanda Purcell, call 518-828-1616 ext. 2500, or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org, or tweet to @amandajpurcell.