SPCA Calls This 'One Of The Most Heinous Acts Of Animal Cruelty We've Seen'

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) – A New York woman is accused of letting two puppies and a kitten starve to death when she left them alone for more than two months without food or water.

Irema Johnson, 31, of Mount Vernon was charged with three counts of animal cruelty Tuesday, Ernest Lungaro, enforcement director for the Westchester County SPCA, said.

Johnson told police she and her four children left their apartment in February to deal with a family emergency, Lungaro said.

Police found the animals’ bodies on April 27.

“The puppies were left in a crate in the apartment with no food or water. The living area was filled with garbage and animal feces. The kitten was left loose in the apartment with no food or water as well. The animals subsequently died of starvation,” said Lungaro.

Johnson could have called a shelter or arranged for a neighbor to feed the animals, Lungaro said.

“This is one of the most heinous acts of animal cruelty in my tenure at the SPCA of Westchester,” said Executive Director Shannon Laukhuf.

“Dying from dehydration and starvation is a drawn-out and painful death. There were other options Ms. Johnson could have taken such as calling an animal shelter or eliciting the help of family and friends in order to have prevented this terrible tragedy.”

The SPCA urges anyone with information about animal abuse or neglect to call its confidential hotline at 914-941-7797.

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