Norristown woman accused of letting dog freeze to death

Authorities announced the arrest of a Norristown woman accused of letting her dog freeze to death.

According to investigators, 64-year-old Cecelia Ann Johnson left her dog, Champ, outside during the first week of January in sub-zero temperatures.

"This dog Champ suffered as he froze to death just because his owner did not take him inside on one of the coldest nights of the winter. She left him outside without food, without water and without adequate shelter," Montgomery County District Attorney Kevin R. Steele said. "Treating an animal so inhumanely is a serious crime, and we are going to seek justice for Champ's death."

Norristown police say they received an anonymous call about a dead dog outside of a residence in 1200 block of Swede Street. Officers responded just before noon on January 6 and located the deceased dog lying on the ground between his doghouse and a neighboring fence outside. According to authorities, the overnight low the previous night had been minus 2 degrees with a wind chill of negative 20 degrees and Montgomery County officials had instituted a "Code Blue" alert regarding the dangers of being outdoors in such weather.

According to the DA, the necropsy report listed the cause of death as "hypothermia due to prolonged exposure to low ambient temperatures" and manner of death as "non-accidental (neglect)." The DA added the report also noted that the dog had been underfed and was dehydrated from lack of available water due to "freezing environmental temperatures."

Johnson is charged with felony Aggravated Cruelty to Animals as well as Cruelty to Animals and Neglect of an Animal, which are both misdemeanors.

Bail was set at $10,000 unsecured and Johnson was released. A preliminary hearing is scheduled for April 19.