WESTERLY — A complaint made by several witnesses at a daycare facility has led to the police seizing a female adult German shepherd and four puppies, and officials said a woman who had recently moved to town from New York is now facing charges.
Westerly police arrested the woman, 21-year-old Azsa Carolnny Roundtree, on one count of unnecessary cruelty to animals. She was later released on bond, the police said, and is due for formal arraignment in Fourth Division District Court at a later date.
Westerly Police Chief Shawn Lacey said the charge stems from an investigation made shortly before 5 p.m. on Oct. 18 after multiple witnesses told officers that Roundtree had violently punched and kicked two puppies while in view of the daycare, which was letting out.
A responding officer spoke with the initial caller, according to a police report, and a second officer stopped an SUV with New York plates that Roundtree had started to drive away from the Beach Street parking lot where the incident was observed by onlookers.
“There were several witnesses, including one who said she had hit one of the dogs in the head several times and kicked the puppies like a soccer ball,” he said. Others said she had also grabbed the puppies by their neck and thrown them into her vehicle.
An investigation determined that Roundtree had recently come to the area following issues with an ex-boyfriend and she told the police she was at the lot to broker a sale of two puppies, but that the prospective buyer declined to move forward. The police said she was attempting to sell the puppies for $2,000 each.
In the back of her SUV, the police said officers found four puppies and two female adult German shepherds, which had been living in a crate in the SUV for some time, and they were all seized and taken to the Westerly Animal Shelter. One of the adult dogs was determined to belong to a Beach Street resident and friend of Roundtree and the dog was returned to its owner, the police said.
A police report said an evaluation of the dogs conducted by a veterinarian the following day determined that two of the dogs had suffered several bad bruises around their heads and bodies, and one had an open wound. The police said the injuries were consistent with either being struck by a human or getting into a dog fight, the latter of which there was no evidence.
Lacey said the department obtained a warrant and she was arrested after being stopped Sunday by Rhode Island State Police in Hope Valley for a traffic violation. He said the department would work to see the two injured dogs recover and all the dogs adopted to new homes.
“We do not intend to release the dogs back to her and will seek a court order if necessary,” Lacey said.