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Authorities: Rottweiler died of flea infestation

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Published:   |   Updated: March 21, 2013 at 06:03 AM

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A Rottweiler that officers found dead Thursday at a Tampa home died from severe flea infestation, officials said.

Officers searching 2614 E. Genesee St. for a wanted juvenile found the dead Rottweiler and a terrier in severe distress, Tampa police said.

Both dogs were emaciated and infested with fleas, and neither had shelter or available food and water, police said. The Rottweiler's chain was so short that he wasn't able to rest his head on the ground, police spokeswoman Andrea Davis said.

"There was no shelter. There was no water. Summer here in Florida (is) obviously very hot, the sun beating down on those dogs it's very inhumane," she said.

The Rottweiler died of flea anemia, said Marti Ryan, spokeswoman for Hillsborough County Animal Services.

"That means the fleas are parasites, and they literally draw the blood and they take out the balance of red blood cells and the ability for oxygen to be transported," Ryan said.

Keith George, 40, and Lacresia Harris, 34, who lived at the home, were arrested on two counts each of cruelty to animals and improper confinement of animals.

Harris was released from jail after posting $5,000 bail. George, who also faced a drug charge, was released after posting $7,000 bail.

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