Madison County prosecutors charged an Edwardsville woman with aggravated cruelty to animals Tuesday after they say she allowed a dog to develop an infection because of dead, decomposing puppies in her womb.
Stephanie D. Watson, 29, allegedly failed to seek treatment for the dog’s infection, which developed after her puppies died, according to the Alton Telegraph.
“We will not waver in our commitment to protecting animals and holding abusers accountable,” the Madison County Prosecutor’s Office said on Facebook.
Assistant State’s Attorney Kathleen Nolan told The Telegraph that Watson was charged after police said she dropped the pregnant dog off at Alton Animal Control in April, saying she found the dog in a ditch by the road.
But after a police investigation, Nolan said Watson was the owner of the dog, whose name is April. Watson has not been located yet.
Hope Animal Rescues took in April, and a vet tech at the hospital where she stayed adopted her, Hope Animal Rescue posted on Facebook. The rescue is hiring a private investigator to track Watson down and is asking for donations to help fund the investigation.
April was not able to deliver her puppies due to their size, according to Hope Animal Rescues. Watson allegedly refused to get a C-section, as the group that offered to pay for the surgery would have also spayed her at that time. Watson allegedly wanted to continue to breed April.
“The dog was in delivery for days unable to pass the puppies,” according to the Facebook post. “Eventually all the puppies died inside of her, and she became (septic). It is at this point (Watson) broke the law. Her greed caused the dog to suffer.”
The rescue took April to a vet, spending more than $6,000 to save her life, according to the Facebook post.