By Muhammad Atef | June 11, 2021

Brackenridge man charged with abusing, neglecting dog that died in his care

A Brackenridge man has been charged with abusing and neglecting a dog that died in his care earlier this year.

Humane Animal Rescue of Pittsburgh charged Nicholas A. Rose, 19, on Tuesday with a felony count of aggravated cruelty to animals as well as misdemeanor and summary counts of cruelty to animals and neglect of animals.

According to a criminal complaint, a Duquesne woman had given Rose her 18-month-old male pitbull mix, Onyx, to care for in late October while she was dealing with personal issues. The woman said she knew Rose through a friend of a friend.

The woman said Rose was evasive when she called several times to check on her dog, the complaint states.

The woman began hearing from friends that Rose was physically abusing and neglecting the dog. On Feb. 27, Rose allegedly told a mutual friend that the dog had died; that person told the owner the next day.

The woman called Duquesne police, who contacted the Allegheny County District Attorney’s Office, which contacted a humane officer to assist Duquesne police.

According to the complaint, Rose told the dog’s owner he did not know what happened, only that the dog had stopped eating and drinking. He tried to discourage her from retrieving the dog’s body for cremation, but she insisted.

When the owner went to Brackenridge, Rose told her the dog was buried in his relative’s backyard. He told her to wait in a parking lot on Brackenridge Avenue while he dug it up and brought it to her. Rose put the dog’s body, which had been buried in a garbage bag, in the trunk of her car.

According to the complaint, Rose and an unidentified male with him laughed at her as she was visibly upset and crying over the death of her dog. The woman said Rose kept saying to her, “I don’t know what happened. Don’t call the Humane Society on me.”

A forensic necropsy performed March 1 found Onyx was severely emaciated with prominent ribs, spine and hip bones, the complaint states.

The dog was given a score of 1 out of 9 on the Purina Body Condition Score scale.

Onyx had severe muscle wasting and no fat coverage, including around his internal organs; severely overgrown nails; urine and fecal staining on his fur; and numerous pressure ulcers about his body, a few of which were infected, the complaint states.

His stomach contained blood and small, gritty pebblelike items. His stomach lining and duodenum were noted to have gastric ulceration, and his gastrointestinal tract was empty of fecal matter.

The owner said Onyx, who she got as a puppy, had previously been healthy. Records from veterinary visits in July 2020 found no medical issues and that the dog was healthy at the time of those visits, according to the complaint.

Rose did not have an attorney listed in court records.

Rose is scheduled for a preliminary arraignment and preliminary hearing July 21 before Brackenridge District Judge Carolyn S. Bengel.

Brian C. Rittmeyer is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Brian at 724-226-4701, or via Twitter .

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