NORTH ADAMS — A North Adams couple is accused of neglecting their dog long enough for it to die of malnutrition.
Trista Williams and Jesse Leydet of Phelps Avenue were arraigned on animal cruelty charges in Northern Berkshire District Court on Wednesday.
Williams' mother, Bonnie Fletcher, reported to police Jan. 25 that the couple's dog, Tig, was deceased.
Fletcher told police that Williams entered addiction treatment Jan. 23.
It was not clear from the report how Fletcher was alerted to the situation concerning the dog.
At the scene, police met Leydet's ex-wife, Juda Leydet, who knew that Leydet had entered treatment for drug addiction approximately two days earlier.
Juda Leydet noticed in passing that the screen door was open. She reported possibly hearing a dog bark and calling Leydet's mother, who was unaware of anyone responsible for caring for the dog in Leydet and Williams' absence, according to a police report filed by North Adams Police Officer Kyle Cahoon.
Juda Leydet reported looking through a rear window, and seeing the dog, which did not appear to be breathing, lying in a crate "filled with feces." Upon receiving permission from Leydet's mother, Juda Leydet entered the home through an unlocked window and found the dog to be dead inside its crate.
Police were called to the scene, and officers reported that the dog appeared malnourished. There was a bowl of food and water near the crate, according to Cahoon.
The house did not have heat and was in "disarray," according to police. A pile of trash was stacked approximately 6 feet high in a mud room near the kitchen.
City officials were called to the scene and condemned the residence.
Williams, 24, pleaded not guilty to single counts of cruelty to an animal, a dog rabies vaccination violation, and a miscellaneous municipal bylaw violation.
Leydet, 30, pleaded not guilty to a single count of cruelty to an animal.
Both were released on personal recognizance by Judge William Rota and are next scheduled to appear for pretrial hearings on April 4.
Adam Shanks can be reached at email@example.com, at @EagleAdamShanks on Twitter, or 413-629-4517.