New Eagle couple charged with injuring dogs, endangering child

March 26, 2014
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This puppy, named Sadie Bell by her rescuers, is being treated for a fractured leg. At right, Trooper is receiving treatment for stab wounds.
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This puppy, called Trooper by his rescuers, is receiving treatment for stab wounds.

A New Eagle couple accused of leaving their 2-year-daughter unattended with two pit bull puppies, stabbing one animal that bit the child on the lip and injuring the other were arrested on warrants Wednesday night.

Kimberly Watts, 26, and Danny Roosevelt Watts, 25, both of 135 Union St., were arraigned Wednesday night before District Judge Ethan Ward on charges of endangering the welfare of a child, cruelty to animals and disorderly conduct filed by Monongahela police stemming from an incident at their home Saturday. They were each placed in Washington County jail on a $5,000 percentage bond.

Monongahela police Chief Brian Tempest said his officers were called about 3 p.m. to the couple’s home for a report of a 2-year-old girl who had been bitten on the lip and forehead by a dog. The girl was taken to an area hospital, where she received stitches to her lip.

When police initially talked with Kimberly Watts, she told the officer the dog bit her daughter in the lip area and she grabbed a knife and stabbed the dog because that was what she “was taught to do.”

The male pit bull puppy had several cuts on its head, stomach and back. Police also spotted a second puppy, which was limping badly.

Danny Watts told police the second puppy was injured while tussling with the other dog. Tempest said officers were later told by a witness that Danny Watts threw the puppy against a wall.

“Watts told the witness to lie to police,” Tempest said.

During a follow-up interview with Kimberly Watts, Tempest said she told police a different story. She told police she saw the dog biting the girl on the lip. When Watts yelled at the puppy, it ran to a back room. She then grabbed the knife and went to the room, where she started stabbing it.

“The dog was nonaggressive,” Tempest said.

Humane officer Cathy Cunningham responded and took custody of the two puppies. Both were taken for emergency veterinary care.

The male, named Trooper, is doing well and recovering from five stab wounds, Cunningham said Wednesday. The female, named Sadie Belle, underwent surgery Wednesday on a broken elbow in one of her legs.

“They could find two stab wounds in his head and eye area, one at an elbow and two in his back,” Cunningham said of Trooper. “He also suffered two broken ribs.”

“Sadie Belle has a badly fractured elbow and most likely a damaged growth plate,” Cunningham added. “It is alleged she was thrown against a wall with significant force.”

Cunningham noted that Trooper was stabbed after, not during, the biting incident.

“Puppies do not attack,” Cunningham said, “You do not leave small children unattended with any animal at any time.”

The puppies are between 13 and 14 weeks old. Trooper is in quarantine with Cunningham so she can attend to his injuries. Sadie will also be with her after surgery. She said neither Trooper nor Sadie Belle is aggressive,

“They are typical puppies. They do not know what aggression is,” Cunningham said. “Their behavior had been scared initially but they are coming around nicely.”

Cunningham is a volunteer humane officer with C.R.I.C.A.A.T. The nonprofit corporation is taking donations to offset the medical expenses for the two puppies. Donations can be sent to P.O. Box 117, Washington, Pa. 15301.

A preliminary hearing for the couple is set for April 8 before District Judge Mark Wilson.

Kathie O. Warco has covered the police beat and transportation for the Observer-Reporter for more than 25 years. She graduated from Duquesne University with a degree in journalism.

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