NORTH CAROLINA -- Columbus County Animal Control seized a total of 8 dogs in two separate incidents Wednesday and issued 27 criminal summons for cruelty to animals, according to a release.
16 warrants were issued for failure to vaccinate for rabies. More charges and animal seizures are expected as the investigations are ongoing. All charges are a class one misdemeanor, and each Class 1 misdemeanor charge carries a maximum penalty of 120 days in jail and a discretionary fine.
According to the Columbus County Animal Control Manager, Joey Prince, the first seizure took place on Old Lumberton Road just north of Whiteville. Five dogs were taken for cruelty to animals.
The animals were grossly underweight and appeared to have been without food for at least a week. Prince said they had an average rating of 2 on the Body Condition Score. A 5 is optimal.
The owner of the dogs, Charles Alexander Ellis Jr., 33, is due in court May 16.
In the second case Ashley Wilson and Andrew Wilson of Herbert Norris Road in Tabor City received 11 criminal summons each for cruelty to animals and as well as 8 warrants for arrest each for failure to vaccinate for rabies.
Animals were found with only fetid water, and some of the kennels did not appear to have been cleaned in weeks. Neighbors had called and filed complaints about two of the dogs, which lead to the discovery of the other allegedly mistreated animals.
In addition to 8 dogs found, 2 goats and a pig were found in similar circumstances. The first appearance court date for this case will also be May 16th.
“The intake of this many animals over those we normally process in, as well as the impending additional animal intakes from these investigations expected this week, has strained the space and resources of an already full shelter,” said Animal Control Director Joey Prince. “I have, as of yet, no determined how we are going to handle this many animals.
Those wishing to help are asked to make donations of food and materials to the Columbus County Animal Shelter at 288 Legion Drive in Whiteville.
(WWAY - April 12, 2017)