YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) — A woman who pleaded guilty to leaving a dog locked in a closet while she went on vacation, leading to the dog’s death, was sentenced Wednesday in Mahoning County Common Pleas Court to six months in jail.

Rayne Dunmire, 22, received the sentence from Judge R. Scott Krichbaum on a fifth-degree felony charge of cruelty to companion animals.

As part of her sentence, Dunmire is also barred from having any animals.

The jail sentence is part of a five-year term of probation. Judge Krichbaum said he thought a maximum one-year term of prison would be more appropriate, but if that happened, he said, then Dunmire would not be eligible for probation and he would have no way to monitor her activity.

The five years of probation is the maximum probation Dunmire can receive. She pleaded guilty Nov. 2 and has been free on bond since her indictment this last summer.

Dunmire was charged after humane agents served a search warrant on June 22 at her home in the 200 block of East Boston Avenue and found a German Shepherd dead in the attic.

The smell was overpowering when the dog was found. Temperatures at the time were in the 90s.

A post-mortem examination of the dog found the dog died of neglect.

Dunmire was on vacation in Colorado when the dog was found. Her attorney, Michael Kivlighan, said Dunmire made arrangements for her kids to stay with relatives and thought those arrangements included care for the dog.

However, Kivlighan said the relatives did not care for the dog, and when Dunmire found out 11 days into her trip the dog was not being cared for, she headed home.

“Maybe they’re trying to shirk their responsibility, but she is taking responsibility,” Kivlighan said.

Through tears, Dunmire apologized, saying she made a “mistake” and cared very deeply for the dog. She said she misses him horribly.

“I did love my dog, and I really thought my family and my kids were going to help me,” she said.

“I will suffer for him being gone,” for which Judge Krichbaum replied, “I hope so.”

Judge Krichbaum said Dunmire should have been checking in regularly by phone to make sure the dog was being taken care of.

“You have to make sure they’re doing it,” Judge Krichbaum said.

The judge, who is also a dog lover, said dogs are “one of God’s greatest creations,” but they are also completely reliant on the care and attention they receive from their owner for their well-being.

“They can’t survive without you, and I guess the situation your dog was in, that proves that,” Judge Krichbaum said.

After Dunmire is released from jail, if she violates her probation, Judge Krichbaum said he would not hesitate to put her in prison for the entire one-year term she is eligible for.