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Queens woman starved her Yorkshire terrier to death, prosecutors say

2019-09-10

A Queens woman starved her little Yorkshire Terrier to death — making the pup so hungry that she ate pieces of plastic in a desperate attempt to survive, prosecutors said Monday.

Shawna Austin, 29, of Springfield Gardens, was indicted on animal cruelty and other charges after a forensic examination determined her 1 1/2-year old dog, Khloe, died of malnutrition, the Queens DA’s office said.

Austin took Khloe to a veterinary clinic in Long Island on Nov. 27, 2017, prosecutors said. The pup’s fur was unkempt, and her stomach contained only blood and bits of plastic.

Eight hours later, Khloe died. “The dog died a horrible death,” said acting Queens DA John Ryan.

Austin told detectives that Khloe hadn’t eaten for several days, and she thought the dog died as a result of high blood pressure.

But a necropsy showed Khloe weighed less than when she came in for a check-up as a puppy, and that she hadn’t eaten for several weeks, maybe months.

The traces of plastic and digested blood in her stomach showed “that the animal had the capacity, drive, and desire to eat, but had not received food,” prosecutors said in a statement.

Austin also filled in a relative’s name on documents at the veterinary clinic to distance herself from the pup’s alleged abuse, prosecutors said.

Austin, who was arraigned Friday, was released on her own recognizance.

Her uncle, David Credle, was shocked Monday night to hear of the allegations.

“You’re kidding me. That dog was Shawna’s baby. We babysat that dog,” he said. "She wouldn’t have starved that dog. She loved that little thing.”

Credle, who has three dogs of his own, said he would have taken Khloe if he knew of any abuse.

“She put ribbons in her hair and she bathed her in her own tub. She was crying when that dog died. Shawna worshiped her," Credle said.