“I’ve been in this business almost 20 years and I’ve never seen anything like that before,” Paws 2 Help veterinarian technician Karen Stiengel said in court Thursday about the day a dog named Bruno was brought into her care.
A Palm Beach County jury found Kathryn Portman guilty of abusing and abandoning Bruno.
Joseph Doering, an employee at Sands Hotel in Singer Island, brought Bruno to Paws 2 Help in January 2016 after he says he found Bruno alone in Portman’s hotel room.
“A room with a bunch of garbage, a mess, and a dog that was really badly malnourished,” Doering said in court describing Portman’s room. Portman reportedly stayed at the Sands Hotel on and off for nine months in 2015 and 2016.
Doering went into Portman’s room after she checked out and found Bruno. He tried caring for him but then took him the next day to the clinic.
“There was no fat on this dog whatsoever. There were body sores. There were maggots coming out of the ears,” Stiengel testified.
Bruno suffered from fleas and mites, an ear infection, and malnutrition, according to the probable cause affidavit from the arrest.
Bruno died later that day at Paws 2 Help and Palm Beach County Animal Care and Control began investigating.
"The dog was emaciated and was infested with external parasites," said ACC veterinarian Dr. Kristen Coates in a report. "The condition of this animal was so severe that even with intervention from a private veterinary hospital, it was too much for the pet to overcome and died."
The defense argued Doering was caring for the dog, rather than Portman.
“He brings the dog to this non-profit, that’s not an investigative agency and picks someone to blame,” said attorney Alexandra Menegakis.
This was not the first time Portman was accused of animal cruelty.
She abandoned two of her pets in 2013, according to reports and Palm Beach Animal Care and Control took them in. They both were adopted.
“She’s well known to Animal Care and Control,” State Attorney Dave Aronberg said.
Law enforcement arrested Portman in August 2016 for Bruno’s death. She failed to come to a court for a hearing in June and has been in custody since then.
Portman’s sentencing is scheduled for Nov. 3 and she’s likely to face one year in prison, according to Aronberg.