Prosecutors charge owner of neglected dog



Posted on January 29, 2013 at 3:47 PM

Updated Thursday, Dec 5 at 5:08 AM

SPOKANE, Wash. -- Prosecutors charged the owner of a neglected and injured dog on Tuesday morning. Richard Lafountain has been charged with Second Degree Animal Cruelty and Confinement in an Unsafe Manner according to SCRAPS employees.

“We have interviewed the owner and been told how this injury occurred,” said Nancy Hill, the Executive Director of SCRAPS.

Lafountain admitted to SCRAPS that he is responsible for the animal’s injuries, but initially lied about the dog being his.

Lafountain said a relative gave him the 1-year-old husky mix when it was a puppy, but he could not afford to take care of it. He said he kept the animal outside attached to a chain.

SCRAPS released pictures of the badly neglected dog over the weekend. The agency was originally told the dog was found Friday near Bridges Road in Deer Park.

Vets believed a choke chain had been wrapped around the dog’s neck and that became embedded in his skin over time.

The dog went through surgery over the weekend, and SCRAPS said its wounds are improving.
The animal protection operations manager at SCRAPS said she has never seen this kind of neglect before.

“Typically a collar or chain is placed on a dog when they are a puppy and still growing,” Manager Nicole Montano said. “These collars aren’t very apparent, especially if the dog is an outside dog and has minimal contact with people."

Lafountain now admits a neighbor made up a story about finding the animal near Bridges Road.  He says he hadn’t had contact with the dog for several weeks, and when he finally went outside to care for it, he realized the chain was completely embedded in the animal’s neck.

He said he consulted a neighbor about the dog’s condition, and the neighbor suggested he get immediate care for the dog. Lafountain said he could not afford the vet bill, so they lied about finding the dog on the side of the road.

Lafountain faces jail time and at least a $1,000 fine if he is convicted of his charges. He said he was not aware he could face legal trouble.

The SCRAPS Hope Foundation and private donations paid for the dog’s treatment. SCRAPS employees said the dog already has a new home and an owner who can work with the dog’s special medical needs.