New Jersey man charged after dog found abandoned in cold at Iowa airport

DES MOINES, Iowa – A 24-year-old New Jersey man is facing criminal charges after police say he abandoned his dog at an Iowa airport over Christmas.

Charles Simon Bigsen, of Newark, faces misdemeanor violations of animal neglect and animal care, according to Polk County court records.

The Animal Rescue League of Iowa told FOX Weather that their animal services officers responded to a call on Dec. 29 about an American pit bull terrier tied up outside the Des Moines International Airport. According to a police report, the dog was left with no food or water.

Temperatures were in the mid-30s when the dog was found. An airport worker had covered the dog with a blanket and sat with her until the police arrived.

Airport workers told officers that the dog could not board a cross-country flight home with Bigsen because he did not have a kennel. Bigsen then left the airport with the dog but returned alone and went on to board their flight, police said.

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The 1-year-old female dog was later found tied up outside the airport. She has since been surrendered to the Animal Rescue League and renamed Allie. Once the dog receives her spay surgery, microchip and other needed veterinary services, she will become available for adoption.

According to a police report, authorities were able to make contact with Bigsen on Jan. 2 who told officers that he had been living in Des Moines since April of last year. He said he had given his dog to a friend and then got the dog back in September.

Bigsen claimed he had paid an extra $50 for his dog to fly with him, but when he got to the airport, he was told she needed to have a carrier, police said.

"… he had gone outside with the dog and had asked two males and two females if they wanted the dog and all people had told him ‘no,'" a police report obtained by FOX Weather states.

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Police said Bigsen told officers that he "couldn't miss his flight," so he tied the dog up and got on the plane.

Allie is just one of the 10,000-plus pets the league cared for last year. Click here if you want to help Allie and the hundreds of other animals in the league's care get a fresh start in the new year.

FOX Weather attempted to reach out to Bigsen for comment and has yet to hear back from him.