Woman charged with animal cruelty insists she took care of dog

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Authorities say they found this dog tied up behind LaMikka Marshall’s house in late May,

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — One day after being arrested for animal cruelty, a Memphis woman claims she’s a loving pet owner who didn’t intend for her dog to suffer.

LaMikka Marshall is adamant that she’s a loving dog owner who cares about her pets, but Memphis Police and Animal Services claim the condition of the dog says otherwise. Now, she’s facing an animal cruelty charge, and wants a chance to say her piece.

Authorities say they found a dog tied up behind Marshall’s house in late May, with no food or water, and open wounds in both ears. The veterinarian who examined the dog said wounds were consistent with weeks or even months of neglect.

Marshall says the dog’s ears became irritated when a friend was watching it while she was out of town for a few days.

“It wasn’t weeks, no. We was only gone out of town for like four days," she said. "When we came back about two days later, that’s when the pound people came."

Authorities insist that time frame doesn’t add up. Memphis police responded because of a citizen call about a dog that was tied up and in bad shape, but Marshall claims she’s a loving dog owner who would never intentionally let a dog become unhealthy.

"I don’t mistreat my animals. I’ll take care of them," she said. "We didn’t have our other dog for that long but we still cared and loved for the animal.”

The dog was nursed back to health and sent to a partner facility in Massachusetts earlier this month.

Marshall's brother, Larry Marshall, said the people who called authorities may have had good intentions, but he wishes they had checked with the family first.

"Not just, 'Well we’re going to call the pound.' We didn’t torture the dog or nothing like that,” he said.

As summer heats up around Memphis, Animal Services urges pet owners to use caution when caring for pets, or even employ the golden rule.

"If you don’t feel like it’s safe or appropriate for you as a person to sit outside in the direct sun with no access to shade or no access to water, then it's not appropriate for your pet," said Alexis Pugh with MAS. “This isn’t an environment that I want to stay in, why on earth would I leave my pet in that.”

MAS said the dog has been adopted from his new shelter.

 As for Marshall, her next date in court is set for July 30.

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