Woman arrested accused of animal cruelty after dog nearly drowns

FOX 35 News at 5 p.m.

- People say they stopped Marilynne Jones from drowning her dog, Gracie, in the waves at Lighthouse Point Park. Police arrested Jones and rushed Gracie to the vet. Now, Jones is behind bars, charged with felony animal cruelty. Her dog Gracie is safe - recovering at a veterinary clinic. People are left wondering why anyone would do this to a dog they all describe as quiet and sweet.

Marilynne Jones, 70, made her first appearance in Volusia County Court. Now, little Gracie is homeless - alone in a cage at the Ravenwood Veterinary Clinic, while the staff nurses her back to health. Police brought her in Wednesday, she was trembling and scared. "She was quite cold, she was conscious but very distressed," says Dr. Katie Malensek, at the Ravenwood Veterinary Clinic.

Gracie had water in her lungs, giving her pneumonia. They had to put her in their hyperbaric chamber and give her I-V fluids. Finally, Dr. Malensek says she started to improve. "She was very tolerant of everything we were trying to do to help her and you can see it today - she's a sweet loving girl. Perfectly fine with us cleaning and brushing her. She's just a lovely lovely dog."

Witnesses say Jones was walking in the water with her dog. The dog appeared to be frantically trying to get out of the waves, but Jones was keeping it there. They said she was even laughing as she did it. Other people on the beach saw what was happening and stepped in to stop Jones

"They grabbed the dog, it was lifeless and unconscious. That's when they initiated CPR," says Capt. Tammy Marris, with the Volusia Co. Beach Patrol, and she says Jones didn't seem to care. "She seemed very unaffected by the incident. She did start becoming combative towards our officers at one point."

They all want Gracie to find a good new home with someone who will love her. "I have such a passion for animals. I can't imagine a situation where any person would harm an animal," Dr. Malensek says.

"Our only hope," Capt. Marris says, "is that this dog lives a healthy life after this and isn't too traumatized by the incident. Is well taken care of."

Gracie is being cared for at the Ravenwood Clinic while the case against Jones proceeds. Jones is being held on $1,500 bond.

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