POLICE: Let German Shepherd “Rugby” Deteriorate, Never Sought Professional Care.
BY: STAFF REPORT | BocaNewsNow.com
BOCA RATON, FL (BocaNewsNow.com) (Copyright © 2022 MetroDesk Media, LLC) — West Boca Raton resident Michael Camelia is facing an animal cruelty charge after his German Shepherd mix, “Rugby,” was found near death. A Veterinarian with Palm Beach County Animal Care and Control determined the dog was in such bad shape that “humane euthanasia” was the only option.
Rugby was found in a garage on Woodchuck Lane in December of 2019 by the property owner. Camelia was a tenant in the home. The owner called Animal Care and Control and refused to let Camelia access Rugby until officers responded. When they did, Camelia allegedly told them that he took Rugby for regular veterinary appointments, but was told by non-medical personnel that the dog was suffering from “dog wasting disease.” An Animal Care and Control Veterinarian examined Rugby and made the following notes:
“Rugby presented weak, dehydrated, and emaciated. His body condition was so poor, that most of his skeletal features were visible under his skin. The lack of food material in his intestines, decreased amounts of subcutaneous/organ fats, and severe muscle wasting showed that Rugby suffered from chronic malnutrition. Although Rugby had signs of heart and lung disease that could have contributed to a decreased appetite, it is possible that lack of appropriate food availability also played a role in his overall condition. The presence of dirt within the oral cavity could be a sign of pica (ingestion of non-food items due to poor nutrition).”
The Veterinarian also wrote:
“Even so, veterinary care should have been sought when a change in his appetite or body weight was first noticed. Rugby was undoubtedly suffering as his body started to breakdown its own fat and skeletal muscle for energy and proteins. Even if food was provided, it should have been obvious that Rugby was not receiving appropriate nutrition. Veterinary care would have been necessary to either treat the underlying condition contributing to his lack of appetite, provide appropriate nutritional support, or discuss quality of life, humane euthanasia.”
ACC Investigators questioned why it appeared Rugby wasn’t fed or taken for emergency medical care when Camlia should have determined that his dog was clearly in need of expert attention.
“While any reasonable person would look at their family pet and see that they could not eat or drink, and that they were wasting away to just bones, Michael Camelia chose to do nothing but wait to see if Rugby would die. Based on the above facts probable cause exists to charge Michael Camelia with one count of animal cruelty, F.S.S. 828.12.2 and one count of animal cruelty, F.S.S. 828.13.”
Camelia was booked into the Palm Beach County Jail and released on $3,000 bond. It was not immediately clear why Animal Care and Control waited more than two years to arrest Camlia.
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