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WOMAN DENIES GUILT IN GREYHOUND CRUELTY

A Southampton Street woman remained free on bail Wednesday after pleading not guilty to misdemeanor animal abuse charges linked to a dog that weighed only 40 pounds when seized by the Erie County SPCA last month.

Ida M. Thomas, 44, was ordered by City Judge James A.W. McLeod to return to court May 5 on animal cruelty charges. If convicted, she faces a possible one-year jail term and a $1,000 fine.

Gina Browning, an SPCA spokeswoman, said Samson, a 5-year-old retired racing greyhound that reportedly weighed 80 pounds when Thomas adopted him in June 2004, is doing well at the SPCA's Town of Tonawanda facility.

Browning said Thomas was charged with the criminal offense after acquaintances of hers brought the dog to the SPCA March 12 to be euthanized and said Thomas had been out of town for a month and left no food for the starving dog.