Dana Jones puppy nearly sliced in half Edinburgh, IN Bartholomew County August 5, 2008

Woman says leather harness to blame for injuries.

The woman who told officials that she found a dog wandering the streets nearly sliced in half is responsible for the animal's injuries, police said.

(Photo courtesy of WISH-TV)  Edinburgh resident Dana Jones, 35, the owner of the dog that sustained a gash around its abdomen, has been arrested on a charge of animal cruelty.

Police say Jones concocted the story about finding the dog because she was afraid of getting in trouble.

Authorities started focusing on Jones on Tuesday after she contacted animal control workers claiming she had a tip about the person who hurt the pup.

When an Edinburgh police officer asked her to verify some of the information she provided, Jones broke down, Police Chief Pat Pankey said.

"She said she couldn't do it anymore, that she wanted to confess," Pankey said. "The dog was actually hers."

Here's what Jones told police:

She put a harness on her 7-month-old puppy, Bartholomew, to keep him from jumping too much.

Jones left the dog outside in the rain last week, and the leather harness tightened. The harness cut through the puppy's skin, causing a deep cut that encircles his midsection.

        (Photo's courtesy of WTHR)

She couldn't tell officers when was the most recent time she checked on her dog, Pankey said.

"She said that every time the dog would lunge, it would cut farther into him," he said. "She was afraid she would get in trouble, so she concocted this story and transported the dog to animal control."

Jones told animal control workers July 29 that she had found the dog on the street near her home, 807 S. Pleasant St., and wanted to make sure he got medical treatment.

In the meantime, the extremely thin dog, which workers named Benjamin, was nursed back to health.

And the community rallied around the dog. More than 150 people have called to adopt the dog, interim animal warden Emily Williamson said.

An Edinburgh police officer spent the past week canvassing the neighborhood where Jones said she found the puppy and was investigating the couple of tips the department received.

Getting more tips on a case of animal cruelty than on a case of child abuse is typical, Pankey said.

But it was a tip by Jones herself that led police to an arrest, he said.

"She knew that she had done wrong and was showing remorse," Pankey said. "But that doesn't help the pain and agony the dog went through."

The puppy is Jones' only pet, Pankey said.

Williamson said she would have to examine the harness Jones had on the dog to confirm that it could cause such a deep cut.

"I would have to see what it looks like on the dog and see if it could do that," Williamson said. "Either way, it wasn't good for the dog."

Jones was arrested on a charge of animal cruelty, a Class B misdemeanor. She was taken to the Bartholomew County jail, where she was released on $3,000 bond.

Money from a reward fund set up Monday for the person who led police to an arrest will be donated to the shelter, fund coordinator Dana Jackson said. The balance of the fund is unknown.

Edinburgh resident Dana Jones, 35, the owner of the dog that sustained a gash around its abdomen, has been arrested on a charge of animal cruelty.

Update 8/27/08:

Changes to Indiana's animal neglect law will prohibit filing animal cruelty charges against the owner of a puppy nearly sliced in half, Bartholomew County Prosecutor Bill Nash said.

Edinburgh resident Dana Jones, 35, the owner of a dog who sustained a gash around its abdomen, was arrested in early August on a misdemeanor charge of animal cruelty.

However, Nash said that due to changes to animal neglect statutes in 2007, he cannot bring animal cruelty charges against Jones.

In a letter to appear in Wednesday's Republic, Nash wrote that 2007 legislation specifically defined "neglect," limiting what can be considered criminal neglect of an animal.


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