Pawtucket woman charged for abusing pet dog 

An indictment, information, or complaint is merely an allegation. A defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.  


PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Attorney General Peter F. Neronha announced that a Pawtucket woman has been charged in Providence County Superior Court for abusing her 16-year-old pet poodle following her arrest by the Pawtucket Police on March 22, 2023. 

On May 12, 2023, the Office of the Attorney General charged Dawn Abbenante (age 57), by way of criminal information, with one count of unnecessary cruelty to animals, death resulting, and one count of failure to provide a dog with adequate veterinary care. 


As alleged in the criminal information, on March 14, 2023, Ocean State Veterinary Services (OSVS) contacted the Rhode Island Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) about a deceased poodle named Diamond that was brought in for cremation. According to statements by OSVS staff, and supported further by photo evidence, Diamond was in an extreme state of neglect prior to her death, suffering from large abdominal tumors, significant hair loss and matting, overgrown nails, as well as appearing to be covered in fecal matter.  


As further alleged, investigators contacted the person who brought Diamond into OSVS for cremation. She told police that the dog belonged to her boyfriend’s mother, the defendant. When asked, she reported that Diamond had not received veterinary care in more than two years. 


SPCA Investigators, in conjunction with Pawtucket Police, then sought a warrant for the defendant’s arrest and took her into custody on March 22, 2023. 

The defendant is scheduled for a pre-arraignment conference on July 19, 2023, in Providence County Superior Court.