Indianapolis woman charged in abused dog's death

Nick survived surgery, but succumbed to a sepsis infection.
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An Indianapolis woman faces charges in a horrific case of animal abuse. Christine Benjamin is accused of torturing her dog by allowing the animal's collar to become embedded in his neck.

Animal Care and Control officers were called to Christine Benjamin's home where they found a black Lab mix with a deep laceration to the neck from an embedded collar.

Benjamin - who called the dog "Cocaine" - surrendered the animal to AC&C and was issued a care and treatment citation, a civil violation. However, the dog, nicknamed "Nick" by rescuers, has since died from his injuries, and Benjamin, who is in her late seventies, faces multiple charges of animal neglect filed by the Marion County Prosecutor's Office.

Doctors who operated on Nick found the collar was embedded up to three inches and was contacting the trachea.

Dan Shackle with Animal Care and Control said it was the worst case of its kind he had ever seen.

After surgery, an animal rescue group volunteer took the dog home for recovery. Shackle said he was surprised the dog survived the surgery, and seemed to be doing well. However, Shackle said the dog developed sepsis, an infection, and died.

"I'm very thankful for the person who did speak up so at least his final days he was on pain medication and more comfortable and he wasn't laying there hurt," said Tara Harris, director of the Every Dog Counts rescue. "He was very loved by all of us in his life and he really touched the hearts of thousands of people that saw his story on Facebook. So hopefully he could feel that love in his last days."

Benjamin faces charges of torturing or killing a vertebrate animal, a class D felony, and Animal neglect, a class A misdemeanor.

If you believe animal abuse is happening in your area, please contact Indianapolis Animal Care and Control at 317-327-4622.

The Marion County Prosecutor's Office thanked Every Dog Counts, a local rescue group, for their help in caring for Nick.