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February 25, 2014

Dog allegedly starved; McAlester man charged

McALESTER — A McAlester man has been charged with cruelty to animals for allegedly starving his dog.

James Bryon Powell, 52, of McAlester, pleaded not guilty on Feb. 14 in Pittsburg County District Court to one count of cruelty to animals, a felony, according to court records.

According to a court affidavit filed in the case, McAlester police officer Matthew Miller officer was called to Powell’s home to assist Animal Control officer James D. Smith after Smith was called on a report of a dog that appeared to be neglected.

At Powell’s home, Smith and Miller found a white pit bull dog standing inside a fenced area, the affidavit states.

Miller reported in the affidavit that while 20 feet from the dog, “the skeletal structure of the dog’s ribs and hip bones were easily visible from that distance.”

According to the affidavit, Miller had prior training and experience as an animal control officer.

Miller stated in the affidavit that he also observed “the space between the ribs was sunk in” and that the dog’s condition was an indicator it was either being starved or not receiving adequate veterinary treatment.

Miller also found the animal had several sores on its legs and hind-end and “appeared to be weakened and would lay down after taking a few steps,” the affidavit states.

Tuesday, the dog was still being held at the Pittsburg County Animal Shelter. The dog appeared timid and friendly, had sores on its body, and its ribs and hip bones were visible

Powell was still being held at Pittsburg County Jail on Tuesday in lieu of $15,000. If convicted of the charges against him, he faces fines of up to $500 and five years in prison.

Powell is set to appear in court for a preliminary hearing conference Thursday at 9 a.m.

Contact Jeanne LeFlore at jleflore@mcalesternews.com.

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