UPDATE: After police originally stated no charges would be filed in this case, Edward E. Whitley Jr. has now been charged with cruelty to an animal and false informing.
MARION, Ind.– The cause of death for a pregnant Marion dog found dead in a cage in the woods can’t be determined, officials say.
A man found the dog, named “Lady,” along the river near River Blvd. and Vine Street on Jan. 3.
“As soon as I lifted the blanket, what I saw broke my heart I started crying. I set the blanket back down and had to walk away for a minute,” said Michael Edwards.
The cage was covered with a blanket and had a bowl of food inside.
On Jan. 8, Lady was delivered to Purdue University’s Small Animal Hospital. A necropsy, or autopsy on a small animal, was conducted on Jan. 9. The tests were completed on Friday.
They found the dog was a 3.5-year-old pit bull mix who was pregnant; her six feti were not full term. Officials did not find any cancers, microscopy toxicity diseases or bone fractures.
There is no standard to determine hypothermia in a dog, so they are unable to say if the dog froze to death. The necropsy findings were inconclusive as to when the death occurred, so the hospital reported the cause of death to be undetermined.
Marion police interviewed the two people who last had possession of Lady. Officers determined their statements are consistent with the hospital’s findings. The owners said the dog died within their home, and they requested someone remove Lady from their home.
Lady was cremated and her remains will be returned to the Marion Police Department. No criminal charges will be filed in this case.