A Wewoka woman says the local animal shelter that impounded her missing dog has left it with hundreds of ticks. She says the city is to blame, but she's the one being charged with animal cruelty.
Ruth Gordon says her Alaskan Husky ran away when she was trying to give her a bath. Since then it ended up in the hands of the city, which she says grossly neglected her dog.
Sixteen-month-old Esmeralda loves sitting on the couch in the air condition. Her owner Ruth Gordon can't imagine life without her.
"Esmeralda is our spoiled rotten dog. She is my constant companion. She is the one thing that in the day time I know that I’m not going to be alone," Gordon said.
But Esmeralda did leave the family alone when she got away last weekend. Gordon says a woman found her at Sonic and tried to keep her until the police got her. The city then took the dog and put her in the pound. It's where Ruth says her dog got hundreds of ticks.
“I don’t think she’s ever had a tick before and I had never seen that many ticks anywhere," Gordon said.
She got Esmeralda back Friday but the problems were far from over.
“She still has them, we would push through her fur where we could see these little things sticking up here and I had these really fine tweezers and I would just grab the head and pull them out."
The family says they've spent hours removing the ticks, but the city says the blame isn't on them. Wewoka Police Chief Keith Barkhimer says Esmeralda was taken to the shelter in horrible condition and was malnourished. It was so bad that Gordon received a citation for animal cruelty.
“If what I did is considered animal cruelty then I’m not sure exactly what that is," Gordon said.
Ruth says the animal shelter is in desperate need of cleaning. We went by there and saw other dogs covered in ticks.
“I would rather my dog be loose running on the street than ever being placed in that facility again," she said.
Gordon plans to fight the charge, she says her dog did have hookworms before it ran away, and that they did call police to report it missing, the police say there's no record of that call.
Barkhimer says Gordon faces charges for letting the dog run free and animal cruelty, she is due in court on August 14.