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Woman pleads no contest to animal cruelty for letting puppy starve to death

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A Daly City woman pleaded no contest to felony animal cruelty charges Monday after leaving a puppy locked inside a crate until it starved to death in November, San Mateo County prosecutors said.

Janice Sonnirea Mathis, 26, left a 3-month-old Chihuahua named “Baby” in a crate in her mother’s backyard until two children found it dead, according to the district attorney’s office.

Mathis brought the emaciated carcass, covered in urine and feces, to the Peninsula Humane Society for disposal on Nov. 9, 2016. She admitted to being the animals’ sole owner.

A necropsy discovered that Baby died of starvation, and there was no underlying illness involved.

Mathis was sentenced to 18 months of supervised probation followed by 18 months of court probation as well as one day in county jail, which has already been served. The court has also ordered that Mathis serve 40 hours of community service, prosecutors said.

She’s prohibited from possessing weapons or ammunition, owning or possessing any animal, employment that involves handling animals or visiting websites related to illegal animal activity. The court also ordered Mathis to pay $400 in restitution and related fines as well as a $100 per month probation fee.

Mathis was out of custody on $50,000 bail at the time of her sentencing Monday.

Defense attorney Francoise Espinoza did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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