Fort Wayne couple facing animal cruelty charges in puppy's death
A Fort Wayne couple faces felony cruelty to animal charges after letting a dog starve to death locked away in a bedroom.
Court records say officers serving a search warrant at the home of Cameron Marcum and Chelsey Ormsby found the decomposed body of the dog named "Tito" last October. The couple, both 25, told officers the dog had died about six weeks earlier.
The dog's body was found under a child's bassinet in the room, but the body was so badly decomposed, veterinarians were unable to determine a cause of death. One of the dog's teeth was found to be fractured. Officers found blood and scratch marks on the wall of the bedroom and the door handle was chewed on.
Marcum admitted to police he could hear the dog barking and scratching at the door, but did not feed it or let it out. According to the probable cause affidavit, Marcum said the dog was "Chelsey's responsibility and that he should have taken care of it when he told her to."
Ormsby told police Tito had been about a year old and was the last of a litter of puppies born to another dog at the home but no one bought him and the couple stopped feeding him.
A live dog, "Mamas," was found in the home, but Marcum said that dog was fed and let outside. That dog was taken to a shelter where it was found to have fleas, hair loss, scabs on its skin and low body weight, but quickly regained weight at the county shelter.
Ormsby told investigators the couple put Tito in the bedroom after he began fighting with Mamas over food. The couple noticed in June of last year that the dog had been losing weight.
Asked why they stopped feeding Tito, investigators say Ormsby told them "they didn't like him anymore."
She told police she would occasionally give Tito water and he would drink a lot, but knew that he was scratching the walls when he wanted fed. In August, she says the couple let Tito out of the bedroom and he "appeared so excited to be out," but collapsed due to weakness. Ormsby refused to take the dog to a veterinarian.
A veterinarian confirmed to police the dog likely suffered as he starved to death and due to the fractured tooth.
Both Marcum and Ormsby face a felony and misdemeanor charge of cruelty to an animal and a charge of harboring a non-immunized dog. Each suspect is facing six months to three years in jail.
Small children were also found in the home by officers. The Department of Child Services took the children and is working on placing them in new homes.