Dog starved while in Melbourne woman's care

Woman charged with animal cruelty

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MELBOURNE, Fla. - Melbourne police have arrested a woman on animal cruelty charges after a terrier mix was found dead.

Sheanitha Lashay Mills, 33, was arrested after the dog was found in a severely emaciated state with matted wet fur, Local 6 news partner Florida Today reports.

On Thursday afternoon, a Melbourne officer met with Brevard County Animal Services and Enforcement after Animal Services went to Mills' home to pick up a stray.

Officers found a small black dog named Luke laying in the middle of the back yard. According to the report, Luke was a terrier mix about 1 to 2 years old.

Luke was found laying on his side, with a chain running from his collar to a tie down in the yard. Luke couldn't get out of the elements; the overnight low was 52 degrees. It was raining and had been since the night before, Florida Today reports.

The dog was taken to an animal hospital,  where Luke was evaluated and it determined he died from "severe starvation/malnutrition and exposure to the elements."

The animal services officer interviewed Mills in front of her home. At first she said Luke was a stray, but later said she owned the dog for about three months. Police say she knew Luke was tied up in her back yard with no shelter.

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