Woman convicted for animal abuse may face prison time under new state law

Woman's dog froze to death after she left it outside in below-zero temperatures

Jim Melwert
October 02, 2018 - 3:24 pm
Cecelia Johnson, 64, was convicted of aggravated cruelty to animals, a felony under a state law that is just over a year old.

Montgomery County District Attorney's Office

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NORRISTOWN, Pa. (KYW Newsradio) — A Norristown woman is the first in Montgomery County to be convicted under a new state law that brings stiffer penalties for animal abuse or neglect. 

Cecelia Johnson, 64, was convicted of aggravated cruelty to animals, a felony under a state law that is just over a year old.

Johnson let her pit bull, Cam, freeze to death in her backyard.  

The day it was found, prosecutors say the high temperature was 15 degrees, and the low was -2 degrees.

On Jan. 6, the dog was frozen solid, according to authorities, and wedged between the fence and its doghouse as though it was trying to burrow somewhere to find warmth. An empty food dish and a water bowl were also frozen solid outside.

When they questioned Johnson about the dog, she told them it had been two days since she’d let it inside.

In 2017, four complaints were filed to police about the dog being left outside.

Prosecutors say Johnson was visiting her adult daughter who has Down syndrome in the hospital and left the dog outside.

She could face up to 10 years in prison.