JOLIET — The father and daughter charged with starving their puppy to death now face a felony count each of animal torture.
Mark Obidowicz, 42, and his 18-year-old daughter, Nicole Obidowicz, first were arrested in October on misdemeanor charges of animal cruelty in connection with the death of Kira, a black husky.
The charges were boosted to felony aggravated cruelty to an animal when they appeared together for a Nov. 17 court date, and on Thursday, State’s Attorney James Glasgow announced the father and daughter were indicted on a stiffer felony charge of animal torture.
If convicted, both father and daughter could end up pulling two to five years in prison on the Class 3 felony. They “intentionally starved the Siberian husky named Kira,” according to court papers.
“These allegations describe a horrible ordeal suffered by this husky, and we are preparing a vigorous prosecution of these charges,” Glasgow said.
Mark Obidowicz bought Kira as a 4-month-old puppy and gave her to his daughter as a gift. The daughter did not care for or regularly feed the dog, police said. She then moved out of their Crest Hill home at 1846 Springside Drive.
A state-licensed investigator for the West Suburban Humane Society said that while Nicole Obidowicz moved out, she kept her place of residence at her father’s home and did return there frequently.
Neither she nor her father fed the dog with any degree of regularity, said the investigator, who asked not to be named. The dog died Oct. 22 at about a year old, officials said.
Mark Obidowicz buried the dog in a nearby cornfield, the investigator said. With help from Joliet Township Animal Control personnel, the dog was exhumed for a postmortem examination by a veterinarian, the investigator said. The dog weighed 17.2 pounds when it was purchased as a 4-month-old, the investigator said. When it was examined as a 1-year-old three days after its death, it weighed a tenth of a pound less, she said.
The veterinarian’s examination also revealed feces on the dog’s coat and metal marks on its teeth, indicating it had attempted to chew its way out of its cage, she said.
In announcing the charges, Glasgow professed his love for animals and spoke of the importance of protecting them.
“There are a multitude of law enforcement studies and psychological treatises that clearly demonstrate the abuse of animals is a precursor to violence against human beings,” said Glasgow, who penned the animal torture statute. “This is why I made sure that a conviction for animal torture mandates a psychological examination with a report to the court regarding propensity for future abuse of animals leading to violent acts against people.”
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals lobbied Glasgow to pursue the upgraded charges of animal torture in the case. Dan Paden of PETA’s Domestic Animal and Wildlife Rescue & Information Department forwarded his organization’s Action Alert, which called for the public to contact Glasgow and ask for the more severe felony charge.