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Man who pled guilty in death of dog changes plea

By WKTV News

(WKTV) - The Camden man who faced public scrutiny for allegedly failing to feed his estranged wife's dog has entered a new plea in the case.

Ian West originally pleaded guilty to aggravated cruelty to animals in the death of the dog, named Lainey. He was sentenced to five years probation. However, a presentence investigation by the probation department spurred the judge to add six months in jail to that sentence.

Because the offer changed, West had a chance to enter a new plea. He entered a not guilty plea. He now faces up to two years in jail if convicted at trial.

West was arrested in May 2013 and was accused of leaving the dog outside. Lainey weighed 15 pounds, when she should have weighed 45. The dog died a few days after being found.

West's attorney says this doesn't warrant a felony charge.

"Aggravated cruelty is not present, so I don't believe that a felony should have been charged," said West's attorney Frank Mellace. "I think he's overcharged, and that's why we're withdrawing the plea and, at this point, proceeding to trial."

Members of Lainey's Army -- an animal rights group named after the dog -- were in court Thursday morning. West's next court date to file motions is March 12.

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