Hidalgo County Sheriff’s Office arrested Teresa Borjas Ortiz, 75, of rural Edinburg last week on a charge of cruelty to a non-livestock animal, according to court documents obtained by The Monitor.
The charge stems from an investigation that began June 10 when a neighbor filed a complaint “about a malnourished … German Shepherd (that) had very little to no hair and open wounds to its body and legs,” the report stated.
Hidalgo County Animal Control dropped off the dog, a two-year-old pup named Sansa, at Palm Valley Animal Center on June 10, and shelter employees noticed she was not eating or drinking.
Since the dog was not surrendered by the owner, PVAC received permission from the county’s animal control to release her into the care of a rescue organization that offered to pay for specialized care.
On June 11, a representative of the rescue took Sansa to Pet Doctor 911.
According to Sansa’s medical records obtained by The Monitor, she was unable to rise under her own power, a condition known as sternal recumbency.
Medical staff observed an infection in her ear canals (otitis externa), discoloration of her gums, which was noted as mild jaundice, and a skin infection that caused hair loss on 80% of her body.
She was described as “quiet” and “depressed” in the medical documents.
After a skin scrape, Sansa was diagnosed with demodectic mange, which is a parasitic mite in hair follicles. She also had an intestinal tract infection and hookworms, which are intestinal parasites that feed on animals’ blood.
Sansa was also heartworm positive.
From June 11 to 15, Pet Doctor 911 noted that Sansa had a low temperature. She was too weak to eat, so they used a syringe to feed her. Sansa couldn’t stand for more than 5 minutes without assistance, they wrote.
On June 15, even assisted feeding wasn’t working.
“Patient not eating,” according to the tech notes. “Attempted to syringe feed, but food just ran out of mouth no attempt to swallow.
“Patient is weak, extremely lethargic.”
Documents noted that she defecated and urinated, but didn’t get up to do either.
At 4:14 a.m. on June 15, Sansa went into cardiac arrest. Staff attempted to revive her with chest compressions,and administered atropine and epinephrine. They gave her CPR for five minutes, but it didn’t work, according to the document.
HCSO received a copy of the dog’s medical records on June 28, which “shows that Sansa passed away from malnourishment which led to cardiac arrest,” according to court documents.
Ortiz’s charge of cruelty to non-livestock animals is a Class A misdemeanor. If convicted, she faces up to a year in jail and up to a $4,000 fine.