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Woman high on cough syrup repeatedly stabs dog, police say

January 4, 2013 |  8:50 am

Approximate location of incident shown in black.

A 42-year-old Glendale woman faces animal cruelty charges after she allegedly stabbed her Shiba Inu dog several times around its eyes while she was high on cough syrup, authorities said.

Merry Jane Clift pleaded not guilty Wednesday to one felony count of animal cruelty after the alleged attack on her dog, Huckleberry, on Dec. 28, according to a Los Angeles County Superior Court criminal complaint.

The dog, which is in stable condition and “doing quite well,” is under quarantine at the Pasadena Humane Society, where the eye wounds were treated, spokeswoman Ricky Whitman said.

“It's a very sad situation,” she said, adding that the dog was in a safe area away from the public.

Animal control officials are looking for a behaviorist to work with the dog, which appears to be depressed and withdrawn due to the trauma, Whitman said. She added that animal control officials were working with the dog, which she described as “very nice,” to make sure its stay at the shelter was as comfortable as possible.

“The dog will not be returned to this woman,” she said.

Clift was arrested about 2:14 a.m. Dec. 28 after police arrived at a building in the 100 block of Carr Drive. A neighbor told police Clift was banging on her apartment door and begging residents to kill her, according to Glendale police.

When police walked into the apartment building, they noticed a trail of blood to Clift's apartment. Then a small brown dog stumbled up a set of stairs and stopped in front of the officers, who noticed several deep cuts on its face.

Clift, meanwhile, was sitting on the hallway floor of her apartment, police said.

There, police say, officers allegedly found a bloodied kitchen knife with a 10-inch blade and blood throughout the apartment.

Clift allegedly told officers that she had slept only two hours that night when she woke up and began stabbing her dog in the face with the knife.

She claimed to be going through a difficult time due to child custody issues, but later recanted her story and claimed not to remember what happened due to a psychotic episode, police said.

Clift was arrested on suspicion of animal cruelty and was taken to Glendale Adventist Medical Center, where hospital officials discovered a possible dog bite on her left arm, police said.


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Map: Approximate location of incident shown in black. Credit: Los Angeles Times Mapping L.A.