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St. Paul woman charged with leaving two puppies in dumpster

Posted by: Updated: July 2, 2014 - 2:47 PM
One puppy, named Scrappy, survived. Here is a picture of Scrappy posted about a month ago on the veterinary clinic's Facebook page.

One puppy, named Scrappy, survived. Here is a picture of Scrappy posted about a month ago on the veterinary clinic's Facebook page.

A St. Paul woman turned herself into police for allegedly leaving two puppies in a dumpster because the case was getting too much attention on Facebook, according to charges filed in Ramsey County District Court.

Anna B. Robole, 47, voluntarily spoke to police on June 10 about allegations that in May she left two puppies in a dumpster behind Scenic Hills Animal Hospital, 1939 Burns Avenue. The puppies, one dead and the other alive, were found by veterinary staff about 10:15 a.m. on May 7. Both puppies were malnourished. The dead puppy, which was lighter colored, was "significantly emaciated" and had healing fractures in its ribs.

Robole was charged Tuesday with one count of animal cruelty. She was charged via summons, and has not been booked in the county jail.

According to the complaint: The police investigation led to an apartment complex less than a block down the street from the veterinary clinic. There, authorities learned that two tenants, one tenant's son and an apartment manager had seen or been made aware of Robole's alleged abuse of the puppies. The abuse apparently was never relayed to the police or animal control.

Robole had lived in the building with the two puppies. On April 3, one tenant complained to management about Robole's alleged abuse of the dogs, the charge said. Management sent Robole a notice informing her that she had to pay $250 for having unauthorized pets and an additional $35 monthly charge for each pet until she got rid of the puppies.

The complaining tenant later told police that she saw Robole kick the puppies and lift one by the collar. The lighter colored puppy was particularly targeted, the tenant told police, and began limping for a week.

Another tenant told police that he last saw the puppies on May 6. He told police that previously, he had seen tape around both puppies' mouths, and that Robole told him it was to keep them from chewing her carpet. He also witnessed Robole kicking the lighter colored puppy, which began to limp, the complaint said. The tenant's son told police he witnessed Robole kick the puppies in the head, legs and hips.

A search of Robole's apartment and car on May 9 yielded damaged carpeting, a roll of duct tape and a hand-written note with Robole's name on it and the Humane Society's phone number and hours, according to the complaint.

Robole went to the police department's Eastern District office on June 10.

"Robole said she wanted to take care of this because her name was all over Facebook," the complaint said."Robole said the dogs were alive when she put them in the dumpster and she admitted she should not have placed them there."

Robole denied duct taping the puppies' mouths, and said that the healing rib fractures in one puppy was from her son biting or tugging on the dog, named Cody. She told police she fed the dogs three times a day but that they didn't put on weight.

"Robole admitted she had financial problems and could no longer care for the dogs," the complaint said. "She hoped that someone would find them in the dumpster and save them. When asked if she thought the dog would be alive had she gotten veterinary care for it, Robole responded, 'Yes.' She continued to deny causing other injuries to the animals."

A necropsy on Cody could not determine a cause of death, but showed that four of his right ribs and two of his left ribs had healing fractures. Part of his tongue and lips were missing, likely due to post-mortem rodent activity, the complaint said.

According to the veterinary clinic's Facebook page, the surviving puppy, Scrappy, recovered.

By Chao Xiong

chao.xiong@startribune.com

Twitter: @ChaoStrib

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