HARTFORD, Conn. — Police have charged a Connecticut woman with animal cruelty for allegedly leaving her dog outside to die in frigid temperatures, reports CBS affiliate WFSB. The dog was found frozen to death on New Year's Day, according to an arrest warrant.

Police wrote in the warrant that officers found the frigid canine, named BJ, after a neighbor reported it. They wrote that when 50-year-old Michelle Bennett was told by an officer that there was a dead dog in her backyard, she replied, "Yeah I know."

Local animal advocates told WFSB that the dog is believed to have been left outside for about a month without food or water. The dog appeared malnourished and had feces on it, the station reports.

WFSB 3 Connecticut

Police said Bennett claims the dog belongs to her stepbrother, who was arrested and incarcerated earlier in 2017 on unrelated charges. Bennett allegedly said the dog was left at her place.

She also told police, according to the warrant, that even though the dog lived at her residence, it wasn't her responsibility.

"Someone was supposed to come feed the dog for her every day," an officer wrote in the warrant, noting that the suspect said she had "no clue" who that person was.

Bennett was arrested on Thursday and was appointed a public defender. A judge has barred her from owning pets as the case proceeds.

She is facing a misdemeanor animal cruelty count, but a judge said Monday the charge may be upgraded to a felony.

© 2018 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Follow WFMY News 2 on Facebook and Twitter

► Make it easy to keep up to date with more stories like this. Download the WFMY News 2 App now