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Owner of emaciated dog charged

NATCHEZ — The owner of an emaciated dog that was seized and taken to the Natchezdams County Humane Society in early January was arrested and charged Wednesday with aggravated cruelty to animals, Natchez police officials said.

Natchez Police Department investigator Scott Frye said Jimell Debasil Warfield, 52, of Old Washington Road, was arrested Wednesday on a charge of aggravated animal cruelty and was issued a $500 bond.

According to Mississippi law, aggravated animal cruelty is considered a misdemeanor charge for the first offense and a felony for subsequent offenses committed within a 5-year period.

“By our records we show that this is a first offense, so he was charged with a misdemeanor,” Frye said.

The dog, called Heaven, was black and severely underweight with missing patches of hair on her back when she was taken from a residence between Holden Drive and Old Washington Road to the Humane Society on Jan. 10, Shelter Manager Lena McKnight said.

Frye said a criminal investigation against the owner of the dog was a slow process as the dog had to be examined by a veterinarian to ensure that she was underfed and not underweight because of other illness.

McKnight said Heaven started to gain weight within a week of being brought to the shelter and now has a prospective parent that could adopt her soon.

“She has already been spoken for,” McKnight said. “We’ve waited until she could get enough weight on her to do her spay surgery and now we’re talking with someone to see if they are ready to take her home.”