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Tallahassee man sentenced to 7 years in prison for aggravated animal cruelty

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Posted at 6:00 PM, Feb 13, 2019
and last updated 2019-02-13 17:04:53-05

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) - A 60-year-old Tallahassee man will spend seven years in state prison after his dog died of starvation and parasitic infection.

Virgil Riley, 60, was found guilty at trial of aggravated animal cruelty in December.

On Wednesday, Riley has been sentenced to seven years in the Florida Department of Corrections. 

He was arrested in April 2018 when animal control officers were called to an anonymous complaint at Golf Terrace Drive.

An examination revealed the dog was extremely under-weight, as its ribs and spine were visible through its fur. The dog appeared to be suffering from an extreme medical condition with brown liquid coming out of its uterus. 

The dog's condition began to worsen after arriving at the Animal Shelter and the staff had to euthanize the dog. 

After a necropsy exam, a doctor determined that the primary cause of the dog's death was starvation and long term parasitic infection with the pyometra and deceased fetuses as a contributing factor.


Tallahassee man arrested for animal cruelty after dog dies from starvation

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) - A 59-year-old man has been arrested for animal cruelty after his dog died of an "extreme medical condition."

Virgil Riley, 59, was arrested by the Tallahassee Police Department on Thursday.

On  Jan. 17, Animal Control Officers were called to an anonymous complaint at Golf Terrace Drive.

The complaint indicated there was dog in the yard with no bedding or water. The complainant also indicated there was a white dog that looked very thin. 

When Animal Control arrived, they made contact with Riley in the driveway of his home. He showed them the three dogs, which were on the screened porch. 

While talking to animal control, Riley suggested that he wanted get rid of one of the dogs due to health issues. Riley filled out an owner surrender form and released custody of the dog to animal control. 

The other dogs were determined to be in good health and Riley was issued a Notice to Comply for the German Shepherd to be taken inside due to cold weather. 

An examination revealed the white dog was found to be extremely under-weight as its ribs and spine were visible through its fur.   

The dog appeared to be suffering from an extreme medical condition with brown liquid coming out of its uterus. 

The dog also appeared to have a large mass or similar object in its inguinal area. The dog's condition began to worsen after arriving at the Animal Shelter and the staff had to euthanize the dog. 

On Jan. 18, an necropsy exam was done on the dog and the exam found the dog was very bony and in poor condition with almost no fat stores.  The dog was infested with live fleas and suffered from heartworms, hookworms, whipworms, and tapeworms.  

It appeared that the dog hadn't eaten in two to three days. There were also several dead fetuses in the dog's uterus, which may have led to an infection.  

Doctors said a dog with pyometra would usually vomit, have a poor appetite and drink a lot of water. According to doctors, without the proper care, most dogs would die within one to three days due to sepsis. 

The doctor determined that the primary cause of the dog's death was starvation and long term parasitic infection with the pyometra and deceased fetuses as a contributing factor.

When TPD talked with Riley on March 21, he said he gave one of his dogs to animal control because she was sick and could not care for her anymore. 

He later told officers that it was because the dog was "old as hell."

Riley also told officers that the dog was pregnant but suggested the dog could've eaten them since he didn't know what happened to them. 

Based on the evidence, Riley was arrested and charged Thursday with felony animal cruelty. He was transported to the Leon County Jail and his bond has been set at $5,000.