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Chained dog in St. Regis Falls leads to aggravated cruelty to animals charge

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ST. REGIS FALLS - A Hogansburg resident was arrested Monday night following an investigation into a report she had chained a pit bull outside for so long the collar became embedded in the dog’s neck.

Malone-based state police charged Shawna A. Bero, 29, with aggravated cruelty to animals, a felony. The dog belongs to her boyfriend, Mackenzie D. Durant, 30, who has been serving time in the Franklin County Jail since November, according to Troop B Public Information Officer Trooper Jennifer Fleishmann.

While the dog, named Mary J., was in Bero’s care, she was being fed but remained chained up outside, Fleishmann said. Over time ice began to build up between the links of the collar area of her chain, causing it to tighten and essentially embed itself into the dog’s skin.

On Jan. 1, Bero noticed that the four-year-old pit bull had a swollen head and was acting ill, according to Tpr. Fleishmann. She called a family member of Durant’s in Lake Placid for help. Susan L. Durant then immediately drove to Waverly to get the dog and brought her to the Lake Placid Animal Hospital to get checked out.

It was there a veterinarian discovered the chain had become embedded approximately 5 centimeters into Mary J’s neck, Tpr. Fleishmann said, causing the animal hospital to report “obvious” animal cruelty to the state police in Ray Brook.

The case was moved to the Malone station when details of Bero’s actions and location were discovered.

The vet in Lake Placid concluded the collar had been embedded for a lengthy period of time and was the reason the dog’s head had begun to swell, Tpr. Fleishmann said.

Surgery to remove the chain was successful, and the dog is now doing well and staying with a Durant family member, according to an investigator at the state police barracks in Malone.

Bero had also been caring for a Siberian husky at the town of Waverly residence, but that dog was found in good condition, Tpr. Fleishmann said. Due to the circumstances with pit bull, the husky was also seized and taken to the Malone animal shelter.

Tpr. Fleishmann said Bero was cooperative with the animal abuse investigation and was issued an appearance ticket for 7 p.m. March 18 in Waverly Town Court.

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