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Dog found cold, emaciated; Watertown man charged

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A Watertown man is facing a cruelty to animals charge for allegedly allowing a pit bull to freeze and starve outside his home, according to city police.

Rodney L. Simpson, 48, of 512 Jefferson St., was charged Thursday and is ordered to appear in City Court.

After an officer responded to an anonymous tip about dogs being left outdoors in the cold, a 3-year-old female dog, named Laynie, was found chained under the front porch, near an empty water bowl and a dish containing frozen food, police said. It was 12 degrees outside, police said.

Laynie had sores and appeared malnourished, with ribs and backbone “visibly pronounced,” the officer reported.

Another pit bull, estimated to be age 14, was found dead in a garbage bag at the rear of the house, police said.

A third dog found inside the house was believed to be in good health, police said.

Laynie was not taken to the Jefferson County dog pound, county dog warden Todd L. Cummings said. Mr. Simpson took the dog indoors, he said.

Mr. Simpson allowed two dogs indoors occasionally but they were kept outdoors because they fought with the third dog, Mr. Cummings said.

Mr. Simpson is not accused of causing the old dog’s death, which occurred Wednesday, Mr. Cummings said. He was told he had 72 hours to dispose of the carcass.

Police said Mr. Simpson assumed care of the dogs a year ago for a person who moved away. He was cited March 12 with failure to license the dogs, and he corrected that situation April 30, Mr. Cummings said.

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