DURHAM, N.C. (WNCN) – A 32-year-old Durham man faces felony animal cruelty charges after the sheriff’s office said he left a dog and four puppies to die in an apartment when he was evicted.
On Oct. 14, a Durham County deputy was called to help apartment management enter a padlocked apartment on Rochelle Street.
Once the door was opened, the deputy reported “a strong odor of decomposition and feces.”
The deputy initially found two dead animals, the sheriff’s office said.
Animal Services was called to the scene and officers then found three other dead animals.
The adult dog and four puppies were all too badly decomposed for a cause of death to be determined, the sheriff’s office said.
Along with the bodies, moldy food and decaying feces were found through the apartment.
Officials attempted to locate the resident, identified by the sheriff’s office as Markeem Carlton Owens, but were unable to contact him.
The sheriff’s office said an investigating deputy spoke before a Grand Jury who indicted Owens on five counts of felony animal cruelty and 10 other animal-related misdemeanors.
Owens was taken into custody on Monday and given a $10,000 secured bond.
The Durham County Sheriff’s Office said there are resources available to help pet owners facing hardships.
“There is never an excuse to abandon a pet inside a residence. The Animal Protection Society of Durham is here to help,” the sheriff’s office said in a release. “The Animal Protection Society of Durham at the Durham County Animal Shelter is an open-admission shelter. That means that they will take in any domesticated animal in Durham County.”
If you are a Durham County resident and can no longer keep your pet, contact Animal Protection Society of Durham by calling (919) 560-0640.
If you think an animal has been abandoned or is being abused contact our communications center at 919-560-0900 and an Animal Services deputy will respond.