The former owner of a golden retriever named Henry, who in May was left at a Newport Beach animal hospital while stricken with a 42-pound malignant tumor, was arrested Wednesday after she didn't appear in court to face criminal charges in the case.
Sherri Haughton, 52, of Irvine was scheduled to be arraigned Jan. 13 in Orange County Superior Court on four misdemeanor charges stemming from Henry's condition, but she did not attend the hearing. A warrant was issued for her arrest, authorities said.
Authorities tried to contact her at her former Newport Coast address but found that she no longer lived there. Newport Beach officers arrested Haughton about 12:30 p.m. Wednesday in Irvine, according to Police Department spokeswoman Jennifer Manzella.
Orange County prosecutors in December accused Haughton of one count of animal cruelty, one count of animal abandonment, one count of failing to care for an animal and one count of interfering with an investigation — all misdemeanors.
If convicted of all charges, she would face a maximum sentence of two years in jail, according to the Orange County district attorney's office.
Newport Beach animal-control officers launched an investigation into Henry's situation after Haughton took him to an animal hospital with the massive tumor on his right side. The growth nearly doubled his body weight and impeded his ability to walk.
According to investigators, when Haughton got to the hospital with Henry on May 12, she told employees she had found the dog on the beach.
Animal-control staff took custody of Henry and he received thousands of dollars worth of veterinary care, which was paid for by donations.
Officials said the tumor started small but when left untreated grew to a size that made immediate treatment necessary to save Henry's life.
Deputy Dist. Atty. Jennifer Malone contended during a news conference in December that by giving false information to the animal hospital, Haughton held up the investigation of the dog's situation and delayed Henry's treatment. Malone said there was evidence that Haughton had taken the dog to a vet and was aware of his condition but did not pursue treatment.
Henry's tumor was removed in June. The now-8-year-old is living with a foster family and doing well, according to police.