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Verona woman will serve time for dog abuse

By LEXIE O'CONNOR

VERONA, N.Y.(WKTV) - A Verona woman pleaded guilty to two counts of animal cruelty Tuesday for mistreating two of her dogs, one of them named Sapphire was left with wounds from a collar tied too tight. Bridget LaClaire, 48 of Verona will serve 10 weekends in jail along with paying an over $3,000 fine to cover the extensive veterinarian fees after the dog was rescued back in August.

The dog's current owner Kim Strong, animal rights supporters, even Sapphire were at Verona Town Court for LaClaire's appearance.

After the sentencing Strong thanked the judge, saying the case sets a precedent for abusers.

"Because a first time woman offender got a really severe penalty and that usually doesn't happen," said Strong. "People don't take these cases seriously and the judges don't."

Strong adopted the white pit bull a month ago from the Rome Humane Society. Sapphire now weighs a healthy 64 lbs compared to the 19 lbs he was rescued at. Aside from physical scars left from the chains that were embedded in his neck, Sapphire does have emotional scars of separation anxiety, but his owner says he is a big love.

"When the Town of Verona took care of him they spoiled him absolutely rotten and that's awesome," said Strong. "That he could come out of such horrible neglect and just be the love that he is."

Strong says Bridget LaClaire is a local nurse and she will be calling the State Board of Health to try and get her RN license taken away and make sure they know what LaClaire did to a dog.

Sapphire does have his own facebook page where he posts about his new experiences called "Sapphires New Life."

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