Frozen puppy's owner charged

February 18, 2009|By ERIN JULIUS

HAGERSTOWN -- Animal abuse and neglect charges were filed Wednesday against the owner of a puppy who was found frozen to a tree Jan. 30.

The puppy, named Duncan, lost a large patch of hair when the area residents who found him tied to a tree got him loose, a Humane Society of Washington County spokeswoman has said.

Christopher William Lorshbaugh, 18, faces four misdemeanor charges, including abandoning an animal, depriving an animal of necessary sustenance, inflicting unnecessary pain and suffering on an animal, and unnecessarily failing to provide the animal with necessary veterinary care, proper drink, shelter or protection from the weather.

Duncan, a shepherd mix who now is just over 8 weeks old, is staying at the Humane Society of Washington County for now, spokeswoman Katherine Cooker said.


Lorshbaugh surrendered the puppy, she said.

Duncan is on antibiotics, treatment for sarcoptic mange, a skin condition that is transmittable to other animals and humans, Cooker said. Humane Society officials hope Duncan will be adopted when the skin condition is under control, she said.

"In spite of everything, he's doing really well," Cooker said.

Duncan has been playing with his toys and eating all of his food, she said.

Duncan's case received national attention and a lot of people have expressed interest in adopting him, Cooker said.

Duncan was found alone late on the night of Jan. 30 in a wooded area behind the North Spring Apartments off Haven Road in Hagerstown's North End. Humane Society officers responded to a call from those who found the puppy and took him in overnight.

The high temperature in Hagerstown Jan. 30 was 36 degrees and the low was 23 degrees, according to, a Web site maintained by local weather observer Greg Keefer.

According to court records available online, Lorshbaugh's address is listed as 1401 Haven Road, #C32.

Conviction on the charges carries a maximum penalty of 90 days in jail, a fine not exceeding $1,000 or both, Cooker said in a press release. Conviction on a charge of abandoning a domestic animal carries a fine not exceeding $100.

"This young puppy could have died from exposure and hypothermia if the good Samaritans who found him hadn't come along," Paul Miller, executive director of the Humane Society of Washington County, said in a press release. "Under no circumstances should anyone abandon an animal, especially a young animal like this to the elements."

The Humane Society of Washington County is at 13011 Maugansville Road in Hagerstown.

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