By Patti Weaver


    (Stillwater, Okla.) — A 30-year-old Stillwater man accused of failing to provide necessary food, drink and veterinary care to prevent suffering and death of his puppy has been ordered to appear in court on March 19 for a preliminary hearing on a felony charge of animal cruelty.
    Andre Desean Gaines’ puppy was euthanized by Animal Welfare “to end her suffering as it was believed she would not survive,” Stillwater Police Detective Rachel Bruce alleged in an affidavit.
    Gaines’ girlfriend said, “the reason the puppy was not taken to the veterinarian was due to the family not having the money to afford the bill for care,” the affidavit alleged. Gaines remains free on $10,000 bail, court records show.
    “In an interview with Andre Gaines, he reported he had been adequately feeding the puppy and did not know why she was so thin. He asserted he had never taken any of his dogs to a veterinarian and was confident in his own ability to nurse the dog back to health when she became ill.
    “He claimed he had vast experience raising dogs and had no need for a veterinarian to provide care or vaccinations for his animals. Gaines claimed the puppy was acting normally on the morning of 2/22/2023, prior to Animal Welfare contacting him at approximately 11:33 hours.
    “However, video and photographs of the puppy taken on 2/22/2023, established she was in severe distress. Gaines had no plan to seek veterinary care for the puppy on 2/22/2023 and without intervention from Stillwater Animal Control, she would have continued to suffer,” the affidavit alleged.
    When the puppy was found on the front porch of Gaines’ residence, she was in extremely poor condition, the affidavit alleged.
    She was “significantly underweight with her ribs, spine and hip bones protruding. Her abdomen also appeared distended. Her breathing was labored, and she was unable to stand under her own weight. While Animal Welfare officers handled her, she cried out in pain,” the affidavit alleged.
    After the puppy was euthanized, “A necropsy was performed on the puppy, due to the suspicion of extreme neglect by the caregiver,” the affidavit alleged.
    Dr. Valerie McElliot of the Oklahoma Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory “documented the female puppy was between four and six months old. She reported she had little to no fat on her body. She reported the puppy had severe histoplasmosis, which she reported was a fungus found in the soil.
    “She reported the puppy was emaciated and had a large amount of fluid around the abdomen, which she advised may be from a significant hook worm infection and anemia. She advised the puppy had not had adequate nutrition for a period of time longer than three or four days,” the affidavit alleged.
    “According to Dr. McElliot, if the puppy would have been dewormed properly, the puppy would not have had the issues she saw upon necropsy. She advised the hook worm infection could kill a dog, but a round worm infection would not result in death.
    “Dr. McElliot addressed a bone marrow fat quantification test that was performed. She reported the result as 9.87%. The normal range for this test was reported to be 65%-95%. This test demonstrated how grossly emaciated this puppy was upon necropsy,” the affidavit alleged.
    “Upon surrender of the animal, Andre Gaines reported the puppy had only been in her current condition for three or four days. As reported by veterinary professionals, the weight loss was a prolonged period of not receiving adequate nutrition, much longer than three or four days,” the affidavit alleged.