Dog News

Woman Who Left Starved Dog in Trash Found & Charged

by Melanie

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11.5.14 - Woman Who Left Dog in Trash Found & Charged


Earlier this week we told you about a severely starved dog found in a garbage can in New Stanton, Pennsylvania.  We’re happy to tell you that she’s slowly recovering, and that her former owner has been located and is charged with animal cruelty.

Nathan Binnie was on his rounds as a trash collector when he came to a can that he didn’t immediately heave into the truck.  Inside was a skeletal shepherd mix.

“It was just one of those cans I didn’t pick up and just throw in my truck,” he said. “You could see every bone. [The dog was] shivering and shaking. It was just horrific.”

He fed her his lunch as he waited for authorities to pick her up and take her to a shelter.  She was brought to the Humane Society of Westmoreland County.  The 10-month-old dog was in such bad shape, vets couldn’t even draw blood to start a full work up on her.

The dog’s name used to be Mia, but the HSWC has been calling her Fawna since she was taken in.  A petition was created calling for charges to be brought against her former owner, who was reported to have moved to Texas on October 27th.


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Thankfully, Fawna was microchipped and owner Nikki Baker was tracked down.  She is facing charges of animal cruelty and disorderly conduct.  She admitted to leaving her intentionally starved dog in the garbage can so she could go to Texas to be with her boyfriend.  She is now in the Greensburg, PA area, staying with a friend.

Investigators searched through Baker’s phone and read conversations she had with her friends after Fawna’s story went public.

“By reading through the messages and things of that nature, she had intentionally misled people that were offering to help when it came to taking care of Mia, the dog,” said Trooper Stephen Limani.  “She acknowledged the fact that at some point in time, she realized what she was doing, she fully knew it was wrong, and still she put a dog, her dog, in a garbage can.”

The woman’s daughter, Brittany Prinkey, lives next door to the trailer where her mother had been starving the dog, and has been being harassed about what happened

“People have been throwing stuff at my house, at my car, threatening me, telling me I should die. I should be put in a trash bag and left to suffocate without food and water,” Prinkey explained.  “I never thought my mom would be able to do something like that. It’s my mom. I never thought she would do something like that.”


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Prinkey is not a suspect, and investigators confirm that Baker acted alone.  The mother and daughter are estranged, and Prinkey says the last time she had seen the dog in July, she was healthy.

“I’m super upset with her. I just don’t understand how someone could do that,” Prinkey said.  “I didn’t have any involvement with what my mom did. I didn’t even know I was on the application. I was informed later that I was down as a second contact – I wasn’t an owner.”

Baker listed her as a contact when she adopted the dog in April.  Prinkey found out what happened to poor Fawna when she was called at work on Thursday.

“I was so upset, I felt like I was going to throw up. I was so sick to my stomach about everything,” she said.  “I couldn’t believe it. That garbage can is right over there. I didn’t hear anything. No one heard anything. No one knew. It’s disgusting.”

Meanwhile, humane agent Janet Dillion says Fawna has gained eight pounds so far, and has received sweaters, toys, and treats donated from Burton’s Pet Store.  Hundreds have already inquired about adopting her, and when she is healthy enough, she will go to the home that’s best for her.


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For the good news update on Fawna, click here.