Owner who abandoned dog with 42-pound tumor sentenced after pleading guilty

A Newport Coast dog owner pleaded guilty to animal cruelty charges for dropping off her dog at an animal hospital and claiming she found the golden retriever with a 42-pound tumor as a stray. Sherri Haughton, 52, of Irvine was sentenced on Thursday to probation.

According to the Los Angeles Times, Haughton will serve three years informal probation and has been ordered to perform 56 hours of community service, pay $7,346.21 to the Newport Police Department’s Animal Services and Pick A Pet Foundation for veterinary care and to attend a 16-week animal neglect prevention program. In addition Haughton is banned from possessing, owning or caring for any animals.

Haughton claimed to have found Henry the golden retriever wandering alone in the sand on May 12. The dog had a huge tumor on his side.  He could barely walk and wasn’t able to even life his leg to urinate. And that’s the story Haughton told a veterinary hospital when she brought the dog in, but she never returned.

Prosecutors stated Haughton could have arranged for Henry’s proper care and avoided the animal cruelty charges. Even if she was unable to afford the surgery for her dog, it would only have cost her $81 to surrender him to the Newport Beach Animal Control who then would have made the decision to operate on the friendly pooch. Authorities also discovered that Haughton had been told by a veterinarian earlier her dog needed care for the tumor, but she obviously never heeded the professional advice. Instead she took the dog to the animal hospital and allegedly claimed it was not her dog.

Seven-year-old Henry was transferred to the Newport Beach Animal Control where he underwent surgery to remove the tumor one week later in June. Later it was determined the tumor was malignant. A few weeks later Henry died peacefully. According to his foster family, the dog experienced love and care from the day he entered their home. Valerie Stromburg, the Newport Beach Animal Control officer who fell in love with Henry was his foster mom.

“No animal should be abandoned by its owner when they are suffering,” Valerie said in a statement. “Henry was thrown out like trash by Ms. Haughton, but one person’s trash is another person’s treasure. Henry will always be my treasure and he will never be forgotten.”

(Photos of Henry with 42-pound tumor via Newport Beach Animal Control)

Rest in peace Henry. You were loved.

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