Parkersburg woman sentenced to 1-5 years in prison for animal cruelty

PARKERSBURG, W.Va. (WTAP) – Kristara Fields of Parkersburg was sentenced to one to five years in prison after pleading guilty to animal cruelty.

In early January of 2022, Wood County Humane Society officers responded to a call of “severe animal neglect and cruelty” according to the criminal complaint.

In October of 2021, humane officer, Dan Hendrickson said he was called about the dogs and planned to take them away.

“The dogs were a little thin. A little ‘ribby.’ The house was a little bit of a mess. It was obvious they weren’t going out to potty on a regular basis. We could slightly see the backbone of the ribs of both dogs,” Hendrickson said. “Kristara met me there. We talked about the situation. I wanted her to sign the dogs over to the shelter. She begged me to let her keep her dogs, she would take care of them, she would do whatever she had to do to keep her dogs.”

A few months later, Hendrickson would get another call about Fields.

“When I knocked on the door, I could barely hear one dog bark,” Hendrickson said.

Two dogs were found inside the home on the 17-hundred block of Andrew Street in Parkersburg, one was seriously malnourished and the other was found dead. At the time, Fields said she was taking care of her grandmother as the sole caretaker.

“She has a grandmother who is ill and as a result of her illness – at the same time period – Ms. Fields was required to be the only sole caretaker of her grandmother,” defense attorney, Bill Merriman said.

Fields said she thought she contacted someone to watch the dogs during the two months she was away. Prosecuting attorney, Charlotte Dauphin said Fields never followed up to make sure someone was watching the dogs.

“She says that she thought she had a friend setup to care for her dogs. It says that in the pre-sentence report many, many times,” Dauphin said. “However, it never says that she tried to check back.”

Hendrickson said this was one of the worst cases he’s seen in his career.

“It’s the most pitiful thing I have seen in the 14 years I have been doing my job,” Hendrickson said. “At any time you could’ve contacted me to sign those dogs over to the shelter and you knew that.”

Fields must pay over $1,500 to the Humane Society and will get the maximum 15 years to not own a pet. Fields said she will not own a pet ever again after what happened.

Dauphin said the surviving dog is healthy and has a new home.