Granite City couple accused of starving dog

A Granite City couple faces misdemeanor charges alleging that they starved their dog.

A neighbor brought a malnourished dog to an emergency animal clinic in Collinsville on Oct. 24 after it showed up at her home. The dog, a female laborador/beagle mix, was emaciated, covered in fleas and had post-partum health issues relating to birthing puppies five weeks before.

Police went to the home of Monica Swafford and Harold Denninger the next day, and Swafford signed over rights to the dog and her puppies to Granite City Animal Control.

Both Swafford and Denninger have since been charged with animal cruelty, a Class A misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in county jail. The charges allege that Swafford and Denninger knowingly starved the dog or failed to provide the dog adequate food.

“I want to thank the neighbor whose actions possibly saved the life of this poor dog and her puppies,” said Madison County State’s Attorney Tom Gibbons. “Pet ownership is a responsibility that my office takes very seriously. People who abdicate that responsibility and treat their pets with such cruel disdain need to know that they will be prosecuted.”

The dog and her puppies are now in the care of a rescue organization. There is no court date scheduled yet.

Elizabeth Donald: 618-239-2507, @BNDedonald