A Powhatan County woman has been charged with felony animal cruelty in the death of her former boyfriend's pit bull, after she told authorities that she hanged the 10-month-old puppy from a tree outside her home with an extension cord.
Yasmine Burton, 21, of the 4600 block of Bell Road, also was charged with grand larceny for allegedly taking the animal from her former boyfriend's home in Dinwiddie County, said Powhatan Deputy Commonwealth's Attorney Robert Cerullo.
Burton went to the Powhatan Sheriff's Office on Friday to report that she was "dog-sitting" her former boyfriend's pit bull, named "Choppo." She said it grew sick over the past two days and began acting strangely before dying, Cerullo said. "She just wanted to let someone know," the prosecutor said.
Animal control officers responded to Burton's home to investigate and found the dog's remains in woods away from the house, Cerullo said.
Suspicious about the circumstances, the officers interviewed Burton about the circumstances of the dog's death. She then advised she had been in a long-term abusive relationship with her former boyfriend and took his dog to "get back at him," the prosecutor said.
After bringing the animal to her home, Burton told investigators she put the dog on a chair, strung an extension cord from a tree to the dog's neck and then kicked the chair out from under the dog, causing it to hang. She said the dog died after she let the animal down, Cerullo said.
Authorities are waiting on the results of a necropsy on the dog to confirm its cause of death.
"All we have is her statements ... and the fact there is a deceased dog," Cerullo said. "This is what she's saying has happened, so we're still investigating that part of it. And we're still attempting to locate [her former boyfriend] to talk to him about it."
Burton is being held on $5,000 bond at Piedmont Regional Jail. She is scheduled to be arraigned Nov. 27 on the charges in Powhatan General District Court.